In battling drug and alcohol addiction, getting help over the phone is an often-overlooked resource. The National Rehab Hotline at 866-210-1303 is a free hotline to answer your questions about alcohol addiction or help you find a local alcoholics anonymous group. The calls are answered by a behavioral health specialist who is knowledgeable about alcoholism, mental health, and the recovery process.
Alcohol use in the United States is common and widespread. The consumption of alcohol has become part of a wide variety of American traditions, from weddings to Super Bowl parties. A 2019 survey by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health showed that 85.6% of American adults had consumed alcohol in their lifetimes, and 54.9% had consumed alcohol in the previous month. While these numbers were for adults aged 18 years or older, many teenagers also drink alcohol.
Alcoholism often starts out small and becomes a problem over time. Most people who drink alcohol do it only occasionally or socially. They may even become drunk once in a while, but they would not be characterized as having an alcohol use disorder. Here, we’ll outline how to know when that line has been crossed and what you can do about it. Let’s talk about how to determine whether the amount of alcohol you are using is excessive and if you may be suffering from an alcohol use disorder.
How Can You Tell If Drinking Has Become Excessive?
Since drinking is an integral part of many cultural traditions, it can be difficult to determine whether your drinking level is normal or excessive. Signs to look out for include:
• Experiencing intense cravings for alcohol
• Drinking more than intended or for a longer time than intended
• Spending a lot of time drinking
• Taking a long time to recover from the after-effects of drinking
• Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not drinking
• Needing to increase the amount of alcohol to have the same effects
• Having problems with work, school, or other responsibilities caused by drinking habits
• Being put into dangerous situations, such as drinking and driving or having unprotected sex after drinking
• Giving up previously enjoyed activities in order to drink more
• Continuing to drink even though you have suffered health or psychological problems due to the drinking
If several of these characteristics fit your situation, you may be suffering from alcohol use disorder. Calling The National Rehab Hotline can help you get your questions answered and can help you determine whether you need more assistance overcoming alcohol dependency. It can be difficult for a person to recognize the extent of his or her drinking. Our alcohol hotline operators can help you determine if your drinking has become excessive.
What Is Alcohol Use Disorder?
Drinking alcohol is not generally seen as a societal problem until the drinking becomes excessive. By definition, alcohol use disorder is a pattern of alcohol use that creates problems in your life. Common signs and symptoms of alcoholism are:
• Being unable to control your drinking
• Being preoccupied with drinking
• Using alcohol even when it’s causing problems in your life
• Increasing the amount of alcohol needed to create the desired effect
• Having withdrawal symptoms when you decrease or stop drinking alcohol
The NSDUH found that 14.1 million Americans meet the characteristics of having an alcohol use disorder. Of those affected, 5.2 million are women, and 8.9 million are men. Although millions of Americans suffer from alcohol use disorder every year, only between 7 and 8% receive treatment.
The National Rehab Hotline can be the first step in treatment. When you call the hotline, empathetic and knowledgeable operators will point you toward local resources to help you fight an alcohol use disorder.
Signs of a Loved One’s Addiction
Hotlines are also utilized by the family and friends of an individual with a possible addiction. Anyone can call the National Rehab Hotline, at any time, so a concerned family member may call to ask questions. The hotline operator can also share resources with a concerned family member. Signs that a loved one may be drinking excessively include:
• Their thoughts are always around alcohol.
• They don’t seem to care about the consequences of their drinking.
• They are spending money they don’t have on alcohol or are asking people around them for money.
• They don’t seem to realize when they have been drinking too much.
• They frequently drink too much in social settings.
• You suspect or know that they are drinking heavily in private.
• They have withdrawal symptoms when they aren’t drinking.
Admitting that there is a problem is truly the first step in battling addiction. It can be difficult if you suspect that a loved one is drinking excessively but they seem unwilling to get help. Calling our hotline can help you get answers to your questions about the amount your loved one drinks and whether or not it’s a problem. A trained hotline operator can also provide some tips about what you can do to help your loved one.
Please remember that a hotline is not a substitute for medical care. If you or your loved one has overdosed on alcohol and needs immediate medical help, you should always call 911. The assistance of a hotline is also not a substitute for regular medical care under the watchfulness of a licensed physician. Operators are not trained to diagnose you or to prescribe any medications.
How Alcoholics Anonymous Can Help
Many people only relate AA to what they have seen on television or online. The impression given from media platforms is not accurate in most cases. Often, what is portrayed is people sitting in uncomfortable chairs in a circle talking about their problems. It is no wonder some people are reluctant to begin recovery and AA meetings.
Alcoholics Anonymous, in its simplest form, is a group of people staying sober and trying to help others achieve sobriety. Meetings are held at a variety of times day and night across the world. AA online meetings are held on a variety of platforms for video chat, and there are meetings in person. It will be easy for you to find the fellowship that you crave.
Two distinctly different meeting formats exist in AA: closed and open. Closed meetings are only for people who have a problem with alcohol. Open meetings are available to anyone interested in AA. With that said, it is also important to know the difference between an AA group and an AA meeting.
An AA group stands ready to provide what is called “12-step work” at all hours outside of the meeting time. The AA group also has elected members who hold a variety of service positions. An AA meeting is best described as a collection of people who meet at a specific time and place to run a support group. For a more detailed description of the nuances between the group and meeting, see the AA Group Pamphlet.
It is customary in AA for the new person to get what is called a sponsor. The responsibility of a sponsor is to guide the individual through what it is like to be an active member of Alcoholics Anonymous, primarily taking them through the 12 steps. The 12 steps are the program of recovery found in AA. These steps are flexible and always inclusive.
Members of this fellowship are also fortunate to have countless opportunities to gather with other members for fun. Conventions both online and in person, road trips, sports leagues and other recreational groups exist for members of AA intent on enjoying life in recovery.
One of the more popular alternatives to AA is SMART Recovery. Here, the individual will find a science-based recovery program open to all people with an addiction issue. At a SMART Recovery meeting, you could be joined by a problem drinker, drug user, gambler, person with an eating disorder or an individual who has trouble with spending money. The principles of recovery are applied to all kinds of addictions, and members give each other support and encouragement.
The Importance of Seeking Help
Although we’ll offer helpful resources when you call The National Rehab Hotline, it’s up to you to take the next step. Each individual is responsible for their own diagnosis and recovery as it pertains to alcohol use disorder. If you are a loved one or close friend of a problem drinker, help is available for you as well. It can be challenging to know what to do and what to avoid with a problem drinker, especially in your home. Al-Anon Family Groups are here to help. This fellowship is filled with people who have experience in dealing with a loved one facing an addiction. When you call 866-210-1303, we can offer other resources as well for families and friends.
Going at any life difficulty alone is challenging. It causes undue stress and often more problems, which pile onto the already existing ones and create more stress. How does a problem drinker deal with stress? More drinking. This is why it’s important to get help.
Time is of the essence when dealing with alcohol use disorder. Alcoholism is progressive and often fatal for those who cannot stay sober. The only thing holding you back from a lifetime of freedom is asking for and accepting help. Imagine a life where you are no longer bound by having to take a drink to relieve stress. Your relationships will take on new meaning, and you can receive treatment for both your physical and mental health.
The staff at The National Rehab Hotline stands ready to receive your call. You are free to accept or deny the help offered. That call could be the first step you will look back on years down the road and feel gratitude for beginning your recovery journey. We are here to help in any way we can. Will you let us? Call 866-210-1303 today to learn about your options.