Maintaining sobriety at a residential treatment facility is vastly different than staying sober at home. At treatment, there is no access to addictive substances, the patient receives regular counseling, and the stresses and triggers of family and work are removed. This allows the person struggling with alcoholism time to focus on physical and mental health issues and to prepare to return back home to a new normal of sober living.
Deciding to be accountable to a sobriety program is a lifelong commitment for people with Alcohol Use Disorder. While it’s easy to recognize the importance of accountability, maintaining it as a life-decision over time is much more difficult. Key findings from the 2017 “Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health” note that people experience different risks depending on age, socioeconomic resources and access to support. While recognizing that there are many paths to wellness, new technology tools have shown “promising scientific evidence” to help people maintain sobriety, including the use of telehealth, digital monitoring and electronic support communities, the report adds.
Sobriety can be a difficult thing to manage for people with a diagnosable alcohol use disorder. It is like having to re-learn how to live from basic self-care to holding down a job and being a member of a family. It gets even more complicated when the cravings and relapse triggers begin to hit.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), “problem drinking that becomes severe is given the medical diagnosis of ‘alcohol use disorder’ or AUD. AUD is a chronic relapsing brain disease characterized by compulsive alcohol use, loss of control over alcohol intake, and a negative emotional state when not using.” The NIAAA reports that approximately 16 million American adults have Alcohol Use Disorder.
We are in the midst of Mental Health Awareness Month, a month dedicated to promoting education, understanding, and compassion for the many ways mental illness affects us, our loved ones, and our communities. One goal of this month is to help people understand that they don’t have to suffer silently or suffer consequences in their lives due to their symptoms, and that there are multiple ways to receive help.