Alcohol Addiction Counsellor In Leeds
We help people in Leeds with alcohol problems, or alcoholism to stop drinking and start recovery!
Drinking alcohol is engrained into our UK society and culture and it is perceived as being totally acceptable to drink pretty much wherever and whenever we please, but alcohol addiction, or alcoholism, is becoming more and more of a recognised problem.
We drink alcohol after work, with meals, we drink to celebrate or commiserate, at sporting events and social occasions, it's on our T.V's, it's on the high street ..... it's everywhere! Alcohol consumption is around us all the time, and for most people that's fine, there is a choice as to when, where and how much alcohol they consume, but for some of us, it can become more of a problem.
That problem can then, very easily become more of a problem, often over a period of time and often without us realising. When we finally do realise that we should think about some form of action to address the problem, our learned behaviours, psychological defences, belief systems, and central nervous system will be doing their very best to keep us in the cycle of addiction and alcoholism.
Its often something negative that happens in your life that is a direct consequence of your drinking, that will make you realise that you may have a problem and seek help or advice.
Generally, the earlier you can recognise and acknowledge the problem, the better your chances of recovery are, but there are many other factors that come into the equation and these factors need to be taken into account.
I can help you to identify your strengths and the areas in your life that can be focused on to bring about positive change.
From my research and experiences working with a wide range of people with alcohol problems and addictions, I am of the opinion that everybody that has these learned (often coping) behaviours, has an identifiable reason why they have developed in this way, which may or may not be buried deep in the unconscious mind.
For most people, stopping the use of alcohol is just the beginning of a personal and unique self-development stage in their lives and people need the support of family and friends (if you still have any), or professionals to help support them in recovery. Early stages of recovery is the most vital time for this support, but recovery is an ongoing process and the more support you have (along with environmental, social and health factors), the better your chances of recovery.
Withdraw from drinking alcohol safely!
It is important not to stop drinking alcohol suddenly if you are a heavy, habitual or dependent alcohol user and always seek advice before deciding to quit drinking.
When people drink heavily or frequently, bodies (or organs) may become physically dependent on alcohol and may go through symptoms of withdrawal if you were to stop drinking quickly or suddenly. Withdrawal symptoms can range from very mild to severe, and may include:
Stomach problems or diarrhoea
Heart rate or blood pressure elevation
Symptoms from alcohol withdrawal usually start within a few hours after stopping drinking, with a peak after a couple of days and then some improvement after around five days. It should be noted that with some heavy or dependent drinkers, withdrawal from alcohol use can be life-threatening.
If you are a heavy or dependent alcohol drinker, you may need a clinically supervised detox, and this can be done either at home or in a hospital or rehab facility, where medication such as Librium may be prescribed to help to prevent any complications and relieve any symptoms of withdrawal.
Call 111 or go to your local A and E department if you experience any of the withdrawal symptoms below:
confusion or disorientation
extreme restlessness or agitation
seizures or convulsions
Planning tips for craving, thoughts, urges and triggers.
Thoughts or craving for alcohol can be extremely intense, especially within the first six months of stopping drinking. Alcohol counselling, or talking therapy can help prepare you for these challenging “danger” times, helping you develop new coping strategies to deal with difficult situations.
Try to avoid people or places that may trigger any urges for you to drink. This could mean trying to make major lifestyle changes, such as finding new activities or hobbies to do in your spare time.
Emotions will be up and down in the first few weeks and months of stopping drinking and this is to be expected as your brain chemistry starts to normalise and parts of the brain begin to come back online.
Try to Practice saying no to drinking alcohol when you are in social situations. Alcohol is everywhere in Western society so planning ahead for times when you might be offered a drink is an essential part of the recovery process. Plan ahead for how you might respond, with a firm, assertive action.
You may have a drink problem if you...
Are feeling guilt or shame about your drinking.
Are lying to others (and yourself) to hide your drinking habits.
Have friends or family members who are worried about your drinking.
Need to drink in order to relax or feel better.
Are forgetting things that you did while you were drinking (blacking out).
Regularly drinking more than you intended to, or cannot stop once you have started.
Managing alcohol urges and cravings
If you are struggling with alcohol urges or cravings, then try to utilise some of the strategies below:
Talk to someone.... your therapist, a family member, friend, or somebody you feel you can trust.
Try to use distraction techniques until the thought or urge passes with a focus on processing the thoughts. Try to identify what it is that triggered the thoughts and the feelings surrounding them and try to make sense of it all “in the moment” if possible (or later on reflection). Go out for a walk, watch a film, do something different.
Remind yourself of your reasons for not drinking! When craving alcohol, we tend to romanticise and remember the positives of our drinking and quickly forget, or push away thoughts of any negatives, this is due to how our brains are wired.
Try to “play the tape forward” a few hours and remember the horrible feelings and emotions you have experienced in the past when coming off a bender, then try to fast forward yourself with those same feelings connected and "know" that this is where you will end up if you start drinking.
Acceptance of the thoughts or urges, instead of using will power, or trying to fight it is a key technique. This is also known as “urge surfing”. You can imagine cravings as sea waves that rise, crest and break, slowly easing away.
When you process thoughts and ride out cravings or thoughts, without trying to fight or ignore them, you’ll see that they are just thoughts and that they pass away fairly quickly once they have been processed, or made sense of.
Recovery from alcohol misuse can be a difficult process and one that can involve brief setbacks. Just try to remember to not give up if you do lapse or have a blip.
A drinking lapse does not mean that you are a failure or that you’ll never be able to stop drinking. Try to use lapses as opportunities to learn, and tweak your behaviours and responses to situations in the future.
Start Recovery does not advocate labels such as "alcoholic" , or "addict" in any way, and it is our strong belief that such labelling has hugely negative impacts on people needing help to stop drinking alcohol. This forms the foundations of recovery for people at the beginning of their journey with Start Recovery and runs through the veins of the company as part of our ethos.
The depth of material and discussions around alcoholism and alcohol addiction is vast and can be overwhelming when searching online, so I have included some links on this page to sites that I recommend visiting for further information.
If you are worried about your own, or somebody elses drinking, then please use the section on the contact page to get in touch.