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In 1939, High Watch Farm in Kent, Connecticut was founded by Bill Wilson and Marty Mann. Sister Francis who owned the farm tried to gift the spiritual retreat for alcoholics to Alcoholics Anonymous, however citing the sixth tradition Bill W. turned down the gift but agreed to have a separate non-profit board run the facility composed of AA members. Bill Wilson and Marty Mann served on the High Watch board of directors for many years. High Watch was the first and therefore the oldest 12 step based treatment center in the world still operating today.
Young adult subtype: These individuals account for, per the study, about 32 percent of people struggling with AUD. This group generally begins to experience compulsive behaviors around alcohol associated with addiction when they are around 20 years old. While they have fewer occasions during an average week in which they drink, they tend to binge drink on those occasions.
Programs like AA and other 12-Step groups provide a healthy community of support and solidarity filled with individuals who are all seeking to remain sober on a long-term basis. Individuals who regularly attend AA meetings are about twice as likely to remain abstinent over those who don’t, per the Journal of Addictive Disorders. The 12 Steps can go a long way in providing individuals in recovery with the support they need.
Withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to life threatening. Mild withdrawal symptoms include nausea, achiness, diarrhea, difficulty sleeping, sweatiness, anxiety, and trembling. This phase usually lasts no more than three to five days. More severe effects of withdrawal can include hallucinations in which a patient sees, hears, or feels something that is not actually present, seizures, an unbearable craving for more alcohol, confusion, fever, fast heart rate (tachycardia), high blood pressure (hypertension), and delirium (a fluctuating level of consciousness). Patients at highest risk for the most severe symptoms of withdrawal are those with other medical problems, including malnutrition, liver disease, or Wernicke's syndrome. Severe withdrawal symptoms usually begin about three days after the individual's last drink, and may last a variable number of days.
Other options include inpatient and outpatient rehab centers, which offer professional addiction treatment and medical care. These programs can also offer a medically supervised detox, which is important in the early stages of alcohol withdrawal. People who have been drinking heavily for long periods of time and stop are at risk of symptoms such as insomnia, nausea, vomiting, tremors, fever, seizures, hallucinations, and severe confusion. Some of these symptoms can be dangerous or even fatal. A medical detox can reduce these symptoms and prevent complications.7
Alcohol Use Disorder is a pattern of disordered drinking that can involve interference in daily tasks, withdrawal symptoms, discord in relationships, and risky decisions that place oneself or others in harm's way. More than 15 million American adults struggle with this condition, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Like all addictions, alcohol use disorder is inextricably linked to a complex matrix of biological, social, and psychological factors. Research highlights a genetic component to the disease, as about half of one's predisposition to alcoholism can be attributed to his or her genetic makeup. As a psychological malady, people may turn to alcohol to cope with trauma or other co-occurring mental disorders. Socially, alcoholism may be tied to familial dysfunction or a culture embedded with binge drinking. The brain's reward pathways also play an essential role: Alcohol consumption is associated with increased dopamine activity, which corresponds with pleasure, craving, and habit formation.
A complex mixture of genetic and environmental factors influences the risk of the development of alcoholism.[69] Genes that influence the metabolism of alcohol also influence the risk of alcoholism, and may be indicated by a family history of alcoholism.[70] One paper has found that alcohol use at an early age may influence the expression of genes which increase the risk of alcohol dependence.[71] Individuals who have a genetic disposition to alcoholism are also more likely to begin drinking at an earlier age than average.[72] Also, a younger age of onset of drinking is associated with an increased risk of the development of alcoholism,[72] and about 40 percent of alcoholics will drink excessively by their late adolescence. It is not entirely clear whether this association is causal, and some researchers have been known to disagree with this view.[73]
Alcoholics Anonymous is based on the 12 Steps, devised by its co-founder, Bill W., and based on the Christian beliefs he adopted as part of his sobriety. The 12 Steps are presented as a set of principles to guide former alcoholics on how to tackle the problems caused by their addiction, how to make amends, and how to continue in their new lives as recovering drinkers. The 12 Steps have proven iconic enough to be adapted by other self-help and addiction recovery groups, such as Gamblers Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous, with the precise terms adapted to represent the focus of the particular group. Additionally, many groups have changed the explicitly Christian overtones of the original 12 Steps to reflect secular or agnostic philosophies.
“Most of us have been unwilling to admit we were real alcoholics. No person likes to think he is bodily and mentally different from his fellows. Therefore, it is not surprising that our drinking careers have been characterized by countless vain attempts to prove we could drink like other people. The idea that somehow, someday he will control and enjoy his drinking is the great obsession of every abnormal drinker. The persistence of this illusion is astonishing. Many pursue it into the gates of insanity or death.
There are numerous individual psychotherapeutic treatments for alcohol addiction. Relapse prevention uses methods for recognizing and amending problem behaviors. Individualized drug counseling specifically emphasizes short-term behavioral goals in an attempt to help the individual reduce or stop the use of alcohol altogether. Cognitive-behavioral therapy techniques, like helping the individual with alcohol use disorder recognize what tends to precede and follow their episodes of alcohol use, are often used to address alcohol abuse. Some treatment programs include drug testing. Twelve-step recovery programs like Alcoholics Anonymous are individualized drug-counseling methods. Motivational enhancement therapy encourages the person suffering from alcohol use disorder to increase their desire to participate in therapy. Stimulus control refers to an intervention that teaches the alcohol-use disordered person to stay away from situations that are associated with alcohol use and to replace those situations with activities that are alcohol-free and otherwise contrary to using alcohol. Urge control is an approach to changing patterns that lead to drug or alcohol use.
If someone you love has a drinking problem, you may be struggling with a number of painful emotions, including shame, fear, anger, and self-blame. The problem may be so overwhelming that it seems easier to ignore it and pretend that nothing is wrong. But in the long run denying it will be more damaging to you, other family members, and the person with the drinking problem.
Warning signs of alcoholism include the consumption of increasing amounts of alcohol and frequent intoxication, preoccupation with drinking to the exclusion of other activities, promises to quit drinking and failure to keep those promises, the inability to remember what was said or done while drinking (colloquially known as "blackouts"), personality changes associated with drinking, denial or the making of excuses for drinking, the refusal to admit excessive drinking, dysfunction or other problems at work or school, the loss of interest in personal appearance or hygiene, marital and economic problems, and the complaint of poor health, with loss of appetite, respiratory infections, or increased anxiety.[28]

At the end of an intervention, the stage is set for entry into addiction treatment programs. There are many different options out there. Some facilities, for example, offer inpatient treatment for addiction. These programs allow people to step away from their day-to-day concerns and tackle an addiction around the clock, every single day. For some people, that tight focus is an ideal setup for healing. But outpatient centers can be ideal for those who want to stay at home, surrounded by family, while they work on addictions to alcohol. It’s a personal decision that families can make in consultation with the person who needs help.

To share their method, Wilson and other members wrote the initially-titled book, Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How More Than One Hundred Men Have Recovered from Alcoholism,[21] from which AA drew its name. Informally known as "The Big Book" (with its first 164 pages virtually unchanged since the 1939 edition), it suggests a twelve-step program in which members admit that they are powerless over alcohol and need help from a "higher power". They seek guidance and strength through prayer and meditation from God or a Higher Power of their own understanding; take a moral inventory with care to include resentments; list and become ready to remove character defects; list and make amends to those harmed; continue to take a moral inventory, pray, meditate, and try to help other alcoholics recover. The second half of the book, "Personal Stories" (subject to additions, removal and retitling in subsequent editions), is made of AA members' redemptive autobiographical sketches. [22]

One review warned of detrimental iatrogenic effects of twelve-step philosophy and labeled the organizations as cults,[41] while another review asserts that these programs bore little semblance to religious cults and that the techniques used appeared beneficial to some.[42] Another study found that a twelve-step program's focus on self-admission of having a problem increases deviant stigma and strips members of their previous cultural identity, replacing it with the deviant identity.[43] Another study asserts that the prior cultural identity may not be replaced entirely, but rather members found adapted a bicultural identity.[44]


Up to 30% of children are offered drugs before graduating high school, and for alcohol, it’s three out of every four kids who are offered. Peer pressure is a beast. Fitting-in is extremely important in high school, and unfortunately drinking alcohol is a common marker of ‘being cool.’ Peer pressure does not end after 12th grade, though. Oftentimes adults are pressured into drinking at social events when they don’t want to. Over time, this can be habit-forming.

As with similar substances with a sedative-hypnotic mechanism, such as barbiturates and benzodiazepines, withdrawal from alcohol dependence can be fatal if it is not properly managed.[55][61] Alcohol's primary effect is the increase in stimulation of the GABAA receptor, promoting central nervous system depression. With repeated heavy consumption of alcohol, these receptors are desensitized and reduced in number, resulting in tolerance and physical dependence. When alcohol consumption is stopped too abruptly, the person's nervous system suffers from uncontrolled synapse firing. This can result in symptoms that include anxiety, life-threatening seizures, delirium tremens, hallucinations, shakes and possible heart failure.[62][63] Other neurotransmitter systems are also involved, especially dopamine, NMDA and glutamate.[25][64]
The program is available for patients who are otherwise healthy; specifically, specifically, those who do not have acute or significant heart disease, insulin dependent diabetes that is well controlled with an A1C at or above 7, sleep apnea not controlled or a Body Mass Index (BMI) over 42, as individuals with these conditions are best suited recovering in a hospital setting.
Alcoholism is a disease that can affect both children and adults, but it doesn’t affect everyone the same way. For some people, just one drink can result in intoxication, while for others, many more drinks are necessary to create the same effect. A “drink” is classified as 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). In terms of the effects on the body and brain, excessive alcohol consumption can increase the risk for various health issues for any user. The big question is: Are the effects of alcoholism reversible?
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is an international mutual aid fellowship[1] whose stated purpose is to enable its members to "stay sober and help other alcoholics achieve sobriety."[1][2][3] It was founded in 1935 by Bill Wilson and Bob Smith in Akron, Ohio. With other early members, Bill Wilson and Bob Smith developed AA's Twelve Step program of spiritual and character development. AA's initial Twelve Traditions were introduced in 1946 to help the fellowship be stable and unified while disengaged from "outside issues" and influences.
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If someone in your family is living with an active alcohol use disorder, you and your family are not alone. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) found that more than 15 million Americans over the age of 18 were living with an alcohol use disorder and about 623,000 young people between the ages of 12 and 18 were struggling as well.

Because of the growing population of older Americans, the number of heavy drinkers will increase from 1 million currently to 2 million by 2060. [20] The 2012—2013 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions III (NESARC III) found that 55.2% of adults age 65 and over drink alcohol. Most of them don’t have a drinking problem, but some of them drink above the recommended daily limits. [21]
In the United States and Canada, AA meetings are held in hundreds of correctional facilities. The AA General Service Office has published a workbook with detailed recommendations for methods of approaching correctional-facility officials with the intent of developing an in-prison AA program.[79] In addition, AA publishes a variety of pamphlets specifically for the incarcerated alcoholic.[80] Additionally, the AA General Service Office provides a pamphlet with guidelines for members working with incarcerated alcoholics.[81]
In collaboration with University of Texas Southwestern (UTSW) psychiatrists, we provide truly integrated care for mental and behavioral health and substance abuse issues. Our expert team is led by Dr. David Atkinson, a full-time psychiatrist who is dually board certified in child adolescent psychiatry and addiction psychiatry. His addiction fellowship training at Mayo Clinic helped him understand the addiction treatment process and its connection to many teens’ mental health issues.
Around a third of individuals with alcohol dependence resolve their alcohol consumption problems without professional intervention. Others need the support of a health professional who can recommend a range of treatments. While there are many effective treatments, people who overcome alcohol dependence often relapse (i.e. develop alcohol dependency once again).
Teenagers who consume alcohol excessively have been found to be at risk for abnormal organ development as the possible result of the hormonal abnormalities caused by alcohol. This is particularly a risk to their developing reproductive system. Just a few of the other many dangerous effects of alcohol abuse and alcoholism in teenagers include the following:
observations The most frequent medical consequences of alcoholism are central nervous system depression and cirrhosis. The severity of each may be greater in the absence of food intake. Alcoholic patients also may suffer from alcoholic gastritis, peripheral neuropathies, auditory hallucinations, and cardiac problems. Abrupt withdrawal of alcohol in addiction causes weakness, sweating, and hyperreflexia. The severe form of alcohol withdrawal is delirium tremens.
Alcohol use disorder is a potentially fatal disease, characterized by cravings, tolerance (needing more), physical dependence, and loss of control over consuming alcohol.  Alcohol intoxication may or may not be obvious to observers. Even in highly functional alcoholics, chronic alcoholism can lead to physical problems. Most common is damage to your liver, which over time can lead to cirrhosis (scarred liver). Other risks include depression, stomach bleeds, pancreatitis, high blood pressure, heart failure, numbness and tingling in your feet and changes in your brain. Alcoholism can also increase your risk for infections including pneumonia, tuberculosis, and chronic gastritis.

Alcohol intoxication results as the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream increases. The higher the blood alcohol concentration is, the more impaired you become. Alcohol intoxication causes behavior problems and mental changes. These may include inappropriate behavior, unstable moods, impaired judgment, slurred speech, impaired attention or memory, and poor coordination. You can also have periods called "blackouts," where you don't remember events. Very high blood alcohol levels can lead to coma or even death.
Prioritizing coping over healing. While AA obviously wants its members to avoid relapse and maintain sobriety, the means of doing so is heavily focused on using skills to cope with addictive behaviors rather than addressing the underlying issues that are causing them. Because of this, many people find the 12-Step program might help them stay sober, but leave them still struggling with the problems that led to becoming alcoholics in the first place.
This inventory of self is meant to be comprehensive, searching, and fearless. This does not mean that it is without fear, but that individuals are encouraged to push past their fears and be honest with listing their shortcomings. Writing lists is often an important part of Step 4 as individuals are called to cite incidents, thoughts, feelings, and past experiences that may be difficult to think about.
While some people with alcohol use disorder can cut back or stop drinking without help, most are only able to do so temporarily unless they get treatment. Individuals who consume alcohol in lower amounts and tend to cope with problems more directly are more likely to be successful in their efforts to cut back or stop drinking without the benefit of treatment.
People who struggle with AUD may begin drinking because of social situations or anxiety about being around people; however, signs of a potential AUD include changes in friend groups, especially geared toward friends who drink versus those who don’t, and avoiding social situations to drink instead. Those who have a family member who struggles with AUD are more likely to suffer from high stress, emotional and physical abuse, and mental health or substance abuse problems later in life.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
Benzodiazepines, while useful in the management of acute alcohol withdrawal, if used long-term can cause a worse outcome in alcoholism. Alcoholics on chronic benzodiazepines have a lower rate of achieving abstinence from alcohol than those not taking benzodiazepines. This class of drugs is commonly prescribed to alcoholics for insomnia or anxiety management.[139] Initiating prescriptions of benzodiazepines or sedative-hypnotics in individuals in recovery has a high rate of relapse with one author reporting more than a quarter of people relapsed after being prescribed sedative-hypnotics. Those who are long-term users of benzodiazepines should not be withdrawn rapidly, as severe anxiety and panic may develop, which are known risk factors for relapse into alcohol abuse. Taper regimes of 6–12 months have been found to be the most successful, with reduced intensity of withdrawal.[140][141]

Alcoholism is appropriately considered a disease rather than a weakness of character or chosen pattern of bad behavior. It is the third most common mental illness, affecting more than 14 million people in the United States. Other facts and statistics about alcohol dependence include its pattern of afflicting about 4% of women and 10% of men. It costs more than $200 billion per year in lower productivity, early death, and costs for treatment. Worldwide, alcohol is thought to contribute to more than 200 illnesses and injuries, like liver disease, heart disease, and neurological problems. Alcohol-related deaths number more than 3 million per year, nearly 6% of all deaths worldwide. For adults between 20-40 years of age, that percentage rises to about 25% of deaths due to alcohol.
Attitudes and social stereotypes can create barriers to the detection and treatment of alcohol abuse. This is more of a barrier for women than men. Fear of stigmatization may lead women to deny that they are suffering from a medical condition, to hide their drinking, and to drink alone. This pattern, in turn, leads family, physicians, and others to be less likely to suspect that a woman they know is an alcoholic.[35] In contrast, reduced fear of stigma may lead men to admit that they are suffering from a medical condition, to display their drinking publicly, and to drink in groups. This pattern, in turn, leads family, physicians, and others to be more likely to suspect that a man they know is an alcoholic.[54]
More than 7 percent of all American adults have an alcohol use disorder. These adults drink too much, too often, and in ways that harm their health, their happiness, and their relationships. An intervention, in which the family outlines alcohol’s consequences, can push these people to enter treatment programs. Once there, counseling sessions, relapse prevention coaching, and support group work can help to support recovery. Relapse rates for alcohol fall within the 40-60 percent range, so people often need to stick with aftercare for the rest of life.

A. I,m going to tell you a story: I was born in Newark,New Jersey in 1956,my sister was born 1953.Me an my sister were both born with asthma.my mother liked to party alot with her friends,an my father drank at work sometimes an when he got home,every day at 5pm.One day when i was 6yrs old,my sister got sick(asthma attack). I remember my grand mother trying to get my mother to take my sister to the hospital,to call my father,finally when my sister almost stopped breath she was taken to the hospital-it was to late.If my parents had of been sober my sister would be here to day,This was my first exsperiance with ALCOHOL---growing up was not easy when i was young i used to go hide when my father came home(IT WAS VERY BAD) my father used to come home from work,get drunk an start to holla at my mother if denner was not the way he liked--he would holla,yell for no reason most of the time(THIS MAN WAS EVIL)--in those days people did not care about addiction like now-he is dead thank god?
LifeRing Secular Recovery: For people who would prefer a recovery program without the spiritual aspects of the AA and the 12-Step program, LifeRing is not based on any ideas of a higher power. Instead, they focus on the belief that each person has the power within them to control their alcoholism, having its member visualize themselves as two people: the Addict Self and the Sober Self, and work on weakening the former and strengthening the latter. LifeRing does this by connected Sober Selves through in-person and online group meetings to create a strong network of support without any kind of structured stages, steps, or sponsors. Instead, they emphasize that the best person to design an effective sobriety program is you since you will know what does and doesn’t work for you personally.
Women develop long-term complications of alcohol dependence more rapidly than do men. Additionally, women have a higher mortality rate from alcoholism than men.[35] Examples of long-term complications include brain, heart, and liver damage[36] and an increased risk of breast cancer. Additionally, heavy drinking over time has been found to have a negative effect on reproductive functioning in women. This results in reproductive dysfunction such as anovulation, decreased ovarian mass, problems or irregularity of the menstrual cycle, and early menopause.[35] Alcoholic ketoacidosis can occur in individuals who chronically abuse alcohol and have a recent history of binge drinking.[37][38] The amount of alcohol that can be biologically processed and its effects differ between sexes. Equal dosages of alcohol consumed by men and women generally result in women having higher blood alcohol concentrations (BACs), since women generally have a higher percentage of body fat and therefore a lower volume of distribution for alcohol than men, and because the stomachs of men tend to metabolize alcohol more quickly.[39]

Twelve-step programs approach alcoholism and drug addiction as diseases that can only be managed by surrendering one’s will to a higher power. In spite of their reliance on the disease model of addiction, 12-step groups offer rewarding experiences that reinforce healthy, sober behaviors. In this sense, the 12 steps reflect the principles of positive psychology, notes the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment. Positive psychology is based on the belief that gratifying experiences will encourage the individual to repeat a healthy behavior, such as attending meetings or reading AA literature, rather than reverting to a self-destructive behavior, such as drinking or using drugs.
As AA chapters were increasing in number during the 1930s and 1940s, the guiding principles were gradually defined as the Twelve Traditions. A singleness of purpose emerged as Tradition Five: "Each group has but one primary purpose—to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers".[8] Consequently, drug addicts who do not suffer from the specifics of alcoholism involved in AA hoping for recovery technically are not welcome in "closed" meetings unless they have a desire to stop drinking alcohol.[9]
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