Why is alcohol so hard to stop?

For many people, alcohol addiction seems like being stranded in the middle of the ocean in a tiny rowboat. No matter how hard you row, you always exhaust yourself getting nowhere. With the hope of spotting dry land, you always seem to drift off course. Even with a strong desire to stop drinking, alcoholism is a particularly difficult addiction to overcome. There are many reasons for this, and understanding them is the key to becoming the “captain of your ship.”

Even if your efforts to stop drinking in the past were unsuccessful, you can still learn to control this problem. Unfortunately, it is very rare for an alcoholic to navigate toward sobriety on their own. The power of alcohol addiction affects a person’s entire life. It also negatively impacts their family and friends. Sometimes, the prospect of becoming sober seems like a fantasy. The fact is, achieving sobriety is tough, but it is absolutely possible.

Factors that Make Quitting Alcohol Extremely Difficult

Many people suffering from alcohol addiction can remember when they took their first sip, but they have a hard time filling in life details after that. Once a physical, social, or psychological bond is formed with alcohol, a person changes. It goes beyond exhibiting symptoms of dependence. Alcohol affects people at the cellular and neurological levels.

Physical and Mental Changes

Alcohol is not that much different than other drugs when it comes to changing the body. It is absorbed into the bloodstream, and it creates a temporary euphoric feeling. Unlike illicit drugs, alcohol is processed by major organs much easier. Like other drugs, it can cause permanent physical damage, but it tends to happen over a longer period of time.

The brain is one of the major organs affected by prolonged alcohol consumption. In the same way that muscle responses dull, electrical impulses in the brain can become altered. For this reason, the abuse of alcohol can have a powerful influence on your personality, emotional stability, rationalization skills, and social behaviors.

The human body is extremely adept at changing to meet the demands that are placed upon it. Alcohol creates huge physical and psychological demands that the body learns to cope with. When a person tries to quit drinking, it is not always as simple as making a decision. There are incredible metabolic and behavioral factors to consider.

Availability and Accessibility

There is no argument that alcohol has a strong role in modern society. As soon as a person reaches a legal age, they can purchase and consume alcohol. Illicit drugs are usually procured under secrecy, but alcohol is readily available. Consuming it is even encouraged in situations like,

  • Sporting events
  • Weddings, holidays, and other celebrations
  • Weekend gatherings
  • Movie nights with friends
  • Recreational trips, lunch breaks, and dorm parties

Even certain ceremonies at church can provide an opportunity to drink. Alcohol advertisements and opportunities to drink socially are everywhere. In short, quitting alcohol can be problematic because it is easy to find, buy, transport, and store.

Drinking can Become Routine

Since the human body can adapt easily, tolerance levels for drinking alcohol can fluctuate. Most people start out experiencing harsh reactions when they consume too much alcohol. Over time, the body gets used to the reactions. In turn, euphoric feelings begin to require more and more alcohol volume. This can prompt a person to spend more time drinking, and it becomes part of their daily routine.

In time, getting drunk can seem as natural as brushing teeth, getting dressed, or catching the bus. It takes a long time to form routines, and even longer periods to alter them. Combined with its metabolic and psychological affects, drinking can be a very weighty habit to change.

A False Friend

When a person lives with alcoholism long enough, it begins to feel like an innate part of their being. The thought of the joy of sobriety is often met with feelings of anxiety, fear, and self-hate. Drinking is like having one consistent friend, but that friend abuses you every time you meet. At the same time, losing that false friend would cause an intolerable amount of grief. Grief is akin to loss. When alcohol becomes part of your deeper self, detaching an arm seems more pleasant than going without a drink.

Social Stigma

Though alcohol availability saturates society, and countless people enjoy consuming alcohol, problem drinking is often viewed negatively. For some reason, people find it acceptable to binge drink at a party, but they treat a person with alcohol dependence with disdain. Alcoholism is absolutely destructive, but it should be met with empathy, compassion, and support.

The social stigma that alcohol addiction causes leads some people to never seek treatment. Getting sober often involves an outward admission that a problem exists. This makes it very difficult to commit to a lasting sobriety plan. Also, some people with drinking problems are located far from alcohol treatment facilities and services. This can make it especially difficult to seek help.

There are ways to separate from the typical things that make quitting alcohol difficult. It requires a tough choice, an investment of time, and a reliance on experts who can help. If you are sick of the endless cycle of trying to reach sobriety on your own, we can help. Call our office now at 833-820-2922 to take back your life. Regain the hope that your boat will reach the shore. We can help you navigate the rough waters of sobriety, but you will need to keep rowing!

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