Frequently Asked Questions
Is alcoholism a disease?
Answer: Yes, alcoholism is a disease. The craving that an alcoholic feels for alcohol can be as strong as the need for food or water. An alcoholic will continue to drink despite serious family, health, or legal problems.
Like many other diseases, alcoholism is chronic, meaning that it lasts a person’s lifetime; it usually follows a predictable course; and it has symptoms. The risk for developing alcoholism is influenced both by a person’s genes and by his or her lifestyle.
Question: Can alcoholism be cured?
Answer: No, alcoholism cannot be cured at this time. Even if an alcoholic hasn’t been drinking for a long time, he or she can still suffer a relapse. Not drinking is the safest course for most people with alcoholism.
Can alcoholism be treated?
Answer: Yes, alcoholism can be treated. Alcoholism treatment programs can use both counseling and medications to help a person stop drinking. Treatment has helped many people stop drinking and rebuild their lives.
How do I know if someone is addicted to alcohol or drugs?
Answer: The simple answer…….continued use despite negative consequences. If a person’s use of alcohol or drugs causes problems at work, financial problems, family problems, social problems, relationship problems or physical problems and they continue to use, then he or she probably is addicted. And while a person who becomes addicted may believe they can stop any time they want, most often they cannot stop and stay stopped on their own, and will need professional help—first to determine if they are addicted, and then to obtain treatment. Support from friends and family can be critical in getting people into mutual aid/self help groups and/or treatment.
Since treatment didn’t work the first time, there’s no point in trying again, right?
Answer: For some, long-term recovery from addiction to alcohol or drugs may start after their first mutual aid/self help meeting or with the first time they go to treatment. But, like other chronic illnesses, recovery from addiction requires a lifelong commitment to a program of change. For some, relapse back to active use of alcohol or drugs may play a critical role in their rededication to their recovery. So, relapse can be a signal to get back on track, either by going back to meetings, treatment or adjusting the treatment approach.
I heard that the person has to hit “rock bottom” before you can help them. Is that true?
Answer: Recovery can begin at any point in the addiction process. Like other chronic illnesses, the earlier a person gets help the better. The longer their use of alcohol or drugs continues, the harder it is to treat. You don’t have to wait until they have lost everything to help.
What type of involvement does my family have with my treatment program?
Answer: In our experience, when family members are involved in recovery, patients have better support and the best chance for lasting recovery. That’s why we offer and encourages family counseling. Our supportive staff will work with your family on communication skills, setting limits and improving family relations. The intent of family counseling is to help all members understand the substance abuse issues so that, together, everyone has the tools to support your lasting recovery.
If an alcoholic is unwilling to get help, what can you do about it?
Answer: This can be a challenge. An alcoholic can’t be forced to get help except under certain circumstances, such as a traffic violation or arrest that results in court ordered treatment. But you don’t have to wait for someone to “hit rock bottom” to act. Many alcoholism treatment specialists suggest the following steps to help an alcoholic get treatment:
Stop all “cover ups.” Family members often make excuses to others or try to protect the alcoholic from the results of his or her drinking. It is important to stop covering for the alcoholic so that he or she experiences the full consequences of drinking.
Are you licensed or certified?
Answer: Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor by the California Certification Board of Alcohol and Drug Counselors (CCBADC) and Registered Addiction Specialist by Breining Institute. In addition, I have a Masters Degree with Distinction in Marriage and Family Therapy from Mercy college.
How long will therapy take?
Answer: The duration of drug rehab and alcoholism treatment is dependent on the extent of a person’s substance abuse problem and dedication to recovery.
Recovery tends to be viewed, especially by those who believe in the 12-Step principles, as an ongoing process. Putting down the drink or the drug is the first step in the recovery process. Once that occurs, recovery is about learning to live an honest, responsible, accountable life that is drug- and alcohol free. Mind-altering substances and mind-altering activities such as internet abuse, sex addictions and gambling can bring a person to a bottom. Learning to manage life in a balanced, emotionally sober manner is a lifelong process. Self-growth is ongoing and never-ending.