Life long recovery is possible.
What is Alcoholics Anonymous?

What is Alcoholics Anonymous?

Alcoholic Use Disorder

Alcohol Use Disorder is a chronic brain disorder that can be characterized by excessive alcohol use, lack of control over drinking habits and a negative emotional state while drinking alcohol. When a drinking problem occurs that affects someone’s life and overall functionality, they may be suffering from alcohol use disorder.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, “An estimated 15 million people in the United States have AUD.  Approximately 5.8 percent or 14.4 million adults in the United States ages 18 and older had AUD in 2018. This includes 9.2 million men and 5.3 million women. Adolescents can be diagnosed with AUD as well, and in 2018, an estimated 401,000 adolescents ages 12–17 had AUD.”

Symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder

You may have alcohol use disorder if you exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Tried to cut back on your drinking habit but can’t
  • Spend a lot of time drinking, being hungover or sick
  • Drinking more or for longer periods of time than intended
  • Constantly thinking about alcohol and wanting to drink
  • Continue to drink despite the negative consequences associated with it
  • Having trouble with school, work or relationships
  • Having to drink more and more to get the same effects
  • Withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, restlessness, sweating, shakiness, trouble sleeping or seizures

If you’ve answered yes to two or three of the listed items above you may have mild alcohol use disorder, three to four would be moderate and six or more would indicate a severe problem.

Health Consequences of Alcohol Use Disorder

People who drink excessively or binge drink can suffer long term health effects such as:

  • High blood pressure, stroke, liver disease, heart disease or digestive problems
  • Memory or learning problems, including dementia or poor academic performance
  • Cancer of the breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, liver and colon
  • Alcoholism or alcohol dependence
  • Mental health problems such as depression or anxiety
  • Social problems including unemployment, lost productivity or family problems

What is Alcoholics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous or known as “AA” is a community of men and women who have a drinking problem and has been around for over 80 years to act as a support system. The group is non-political, multiracial, self-supporting, non-professional and is available almost anywhere. It is open to anyone who would like to work on recovering from their drinking problem.

What does AA do?

  • Participants in AA share their story and personal experience and help support others with their drinking problem
  • Helps a person learn how to live a happy life without alcohol
  • They give person-to-person “sponsorship” to the alcoholic coming to AA
  • Offers open discussion meetings, open speaker meetings, closed discussion groups and/or step meetings

What does AA NOT do?

  • Solicit members
  • Follow up with members to see how they’re doing
  • Engage in education about alcohol
  • Provide detox or other medical services
  • Engage in sponsor research
  • Force someone to stop drinking
  • Offer religious services
  • Provide letters of reference
  • Provide housing, food, clothing, jobs or any other welfare services

History of AA

In 1935 a meeting was held between a New York stockbroker named Bill W. and an Akron surgeon named Dr. Bob S. who were both alcoholics. They had been involved in a non-alcoholic fellowship group that focused on spiritual values which helped Bill achieve sobriety. He maintained his sobriety by working with other alcoholics to help them get sober. Bill began to work with Dr. Bob to help him become sober too. He described alcoholism as a disease and emphasized the mental health, emotions, and malady behind it.

While working together, an idea struck to create Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Immediately, both of them started to work with alcoholics at Akron’s City Hospital where a patient successfully achieved sobriety. The three men together decided to start AA although, the name came later. In 1939 the basic book, Alcoholics Anonymous was published by the Fellowship. This book was published as a resource for people in sobriety to go to for wisdom, ideas and support. Bill W. wrote the text and content for the book which explained the AA’s methods and philosophies which began the Twelve- Step of Recovery.

Alcohol Dependence

When people participate in risky behavior or binge drinking episodes they may suffer from alcohol use disorder. AUD is a chronic disease that effects the brain and around 16 million people in the United States have it.

Continued alcohol use can eventually lead to dependence. AUD can manifest with both physical and psychological symptoms. A studied showed “Withdrawal and relapse have been studied in both humans and animal models of alcoholism. Clinical studies demonstrated that alcohol-dependent people are more sensitive to relapse-provoking cues and stimuli than nondependent people, and similar observations have been made in animal models of alcohol dependence, withdrawal, and relapse.”

Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder

Located in Southern California, Experience Recovery is dedicated to the treatment of addiction. We are a privately held company with a staff of over 150 years of combined experience. Our continuum of care begins with an assessment for the level of care a potential client needs. Experience Recovery offers medically-assisted detoxification, residential, day treatment, intensive outpatient, outpatient, aftercare, transitional living, family programming and alumni. Experience Recovery is proud to be a trauma informed treatment facility with the designation from Seeking Safety. In addition, our outcomes are real, and used in our clinical decision making for each client. We are FIT outcome trained and are also a FIT outcomes training facility. Plainly, this means that we incorporate the feedback of each client into their episode of treatment. This allows us to monitor and predict if our clients our trending towards a positive or negative outcome. We incorporate the use of Feedback Informed Treatment at all levels of care.

When choosing a treatment center, we hope you choose us and recognize that the experience at Experience Recovery is one like no other. Under the direction of our Medical Director, Dr. Mario San Bartolome and our Clinical Director, Michael Mazzarino our program is scientifically based, medically driven, and therapeutically sound.

History of 62

History of Rule 62

Alcoholics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous or better known as “AA” is a group of men and women that come together to work through their drinking problem. It has been around for over 80 years and is open to anyone who would like to get sober. It is a multiracial, non-political, self-supporting, non-professional group and is available almost anywhere.

Qualities of AA

  • People who participate in AA meetings will share their experiences and their story to help support others going through the same thing
  • Helps a person learn that it’s possible to live a happy life without using alcohol
  • They offer a “sponsorship” program for a person coming to AA
  • Offers open discussion meetings, open speaker meetings, closed discussion groups and/or step meetings

Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered from Alcoholism, more well known as The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous was created to help people recover from alcohol use disorder. It was written by Bill W. who was one of the original creators of AA.

The Big Book is one of the best-selling books of all time, selling a total of 30 million copies. In 2011 Time Magazine rated the book in the top 100 books of all time. It was published in 1939 from the AA founders, Bill W. and Dr. Bob. There have been many additions and it has been translated into multiple different languages and is used widely across the world.

Rule 62

In The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymousthere are many steps involved in recovery discussed to help a person move through the process. Rule 62 in recovery refers to the rule of “don’t take yourself too damn seriously.” Someone in recovery doesn’t always comprehend that there is a better life for them without alcohol. They may look around and see others who are sober, enjoying life, and happy and it occurs to them that they can feel the same way.

The takeaway that you can get from Rule 62 to is to enjoy life, be lighthearted and remember the little things. It can be difficult to understand at first, but people eventually get there.

History of Rule 62

When AA was started a group of Hinderlands worked together to try and convince people in the local town that they lived in to fund a program for recovery/treatment/AA. The idea behind it all was to have a safe space where people could come to recovery from their alcohol problem, receive medical help and attend AA support group meetings.

Due to the nature of the group and the recovery process, the group decided there needed to be rules and guidelines that should be followed for those who attended AA. They wanted input from everyone but, naturally not everyone could agree on everything. Because of this, they were forced to send their 61 rules to the NY offices of AA in hopes of resolving the disagreements. The people who volunteered at NY didn’t have any idea how to run a facility like this or what to say about the rules that they had come up with. While discussing this, the last rule of “don’t take your life too damn seriously” arose which was because they felt that there was no reason to have ego-driven opinions that may break the group apart.

Alcohol Dependence

Many people use alcohol as a way of winding down or releasing the stress of the day with a beer or glass of wine. It’s important to understand how much is too much. Drinking in moderation is classified as having more than one drink a day as a woman and not drinking more than two drinks a day as a man. One drink equals:

  • 5 oz of wine
  • 1.5 oz of liquor (whisky, tequila or rum)
  • 12 oz of beer

When looking at your drinking habits it’s important to look at how much you drink over an average week rather than in one day or one situation. Risky drinking could be a sign of alcohol use disorder.

Symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder

Some symptoms or warning signs associated with alcohol use disorder include:

  • Unable to cut back on your drinking habits
  • A lot of time is spent drinking, being sick or hungover
  • Constantly thinking about alcohol to the point it effects your life
  • Drinking more or for longer periods of time than intended
  • Continuous drinking despite the negative consequences
  • Needing to drink more and more to achieve the same effects
  • Stopping other activities that were important to you in order to drink
  • Withdrawal symptoms such as seizures, sweating, nausea, racing heart, restlessness, shakiness, trouble sleeping, or seeing, hearing or feelings that aren’t there
  • Having problems with school, work, friends or family

It’s important to get help as soon as possible if you have any of the symptoms listed above. There is help at Experience Recovery.

Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder

Located in Southern California, Experience Recovery is dedicated to the treatment of addiction. We are a privately held company with a staff of over 150 years of combined experience. Our continuum of care begins with an assessment for the level of care a potential client needs. Experience Recovery offers medically-assisted detoxification, residential, day treatment, intensive outpatient, outpatient, aftercare, transitional living, family programming and alumni. Experience Recovery is proud to be a trauma informed treatment facility with the designation from Seeking Safety. In addition, our outcomes are real, and used in our clinical decision making for each client. We are FIT outcome trained and are also a FIT outcomes training facility. Plainly, this means that we incorporate the feedback of each client into their episode of treatment. This allows us to monitor and predict if our clients our trending towards a positive or negative outcome. We incorporate the use of Feedback Informed Treatment at all levels of care.

Experience Recovery provides a full spectrum of care to those who struggle with addiction. Our approach is backed by science, informed by proven data, and personalized to meet the needs of each client. All treatments are administered by multi-disciplined professionals with compassion and experience.

Who Created Rule 62?

Who Created Rule 62?

Rule 62

The Big Book of Alcoholics

The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous was created to help people recover from alcohol addiction. The book includes many life experiences as well as the series of 12-step solutions for recovery. Some of the sections will target a specific audience and many of the sections focus on a higher power. There is also a section that discusses being agnostic and how-to recovery with this belief. Rule 62 comes from the rules and regulations that were determined when the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous was created to try and inspire the people in recovery to have a common values, beliefs and lifestyles that they were working towards. The main takeaway from Rule 62 is “don’t take life too seriously.”

The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous discusses many steps that are involved in the recovery process. Rule 62 in recovery refers to the rule of “don’t take yourself too damn seriously.” Someone in recovery doesn’t always realize that they can relish their life again without the use of alcohol. When they discover that they can see what life can be like without alcohol, they begin to understand that they still can live a happy, comfortable life. When they look around, they see other people enjoying themselves without drugs or alcohol, but they still can’t quite wrap their head around the idea that they can appreciate it too.

The main take away from Rule 62 to is to see your life as lighthearted, fun and enjoyable. It’s important to be able to laugh at yourself and to not take for granted the little things. It can be difficult to understand at first, but people eventually get there.

What is AA?

Alcoholics Anonymous or known as “AA” is an international group of men and women who suffer from a drinking problem. It is very well known and has been around since 1935 by Bill W. and Dr. Bob in Akron, Ohio. The group of individuals is non-political, nonprofessional, self-supporting, multiracial and is available almost anywhere as a support system to help people get through the recovery process.

What does AA do?

  • Participants in AA share their story and personal experience and help support others with their drinking problem
  • Helps a person learn how to live a happy life without alcohol
  • They give person-to-person “sponsorship” to the alcoholic coming to AA
  • Offers open discussion meetings, open speaker meetings, closed discussion groups and/or step meetings

What does AA NOT do?

  • Solicit members
  • Follow up with members to see how they’re doing
  • Engage in education about alcohol
  • Provide detox or other medical services
  • Engage in sponsor research
  • Force someone to stop drinking
  • Offer religious services
  • Provide letters of reference
  • Provide housing, food, clothing, jobs or any other welfare services

Who Created Rule 62?

A group of people called the Hinderlands tried to convince a town of local people to fund a program that would help those in treatment/recovery/AA. The goal was to have a specific space where people could go to get the medical care, residential recovery and AA support group meetings during the recovery process.

When the group got together, they decided that there needed to be rules and regulations to go along with their AA recovery process, and they were looking for feedback from others to determine the best ideas. During this process they had to send all their 61 rules to the NY office of AA because naturally, not everyone could agree on everything. The people who volunteered at NY didn’t have any idea how to run a facility like this or what to say about the rules that they had come up with. While discussing this, the last rule of “don’t take your life too damn seriously” arose which was because they felt that there was no reason to have ego-driven opinions that may break the group apart.

Alcohol Dependence

Symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder

The warning signs and symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder will vary from person to person. You may have alcohol use disorder if you experience these symptoms:

  • Trying to cut back on your drinking habits but are unable to
  • Spend a lot of time drinking, being sick or hungover
  • Thinking about alcohol constantly that it effects your daily life
  • Drinking more or for longer periods of time than intended
  • Continuous drinking despite the negative consequences associated with it
  • Needing to drink more and more to achieve the same effects
  • Quitting other activities that were important to you in order to drink
  • Withdrawal symptoms such as seizures, sweating, nausea, racing heart, restlessness, shakiness, trouble sleeping, or seeing, hearing or feelings that aren’t there
  • Having problems with school, work, friends or family

It’s important to get help as soon as possible if you have any of the symptoms listed above. There is help at Experience Recovery.

Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment

Located in Southern California, Experience Recovery is dedicated to the treatment of addiction. We are a privately held company with a staff of over 150 years of combined experience. Our continuum of care begins with an assessment for the level of care a potential client needs. Experience Recovery offers medically-assisted detoxification, residential, day treatment, intensive outpatient, outpatient, aftercare, transitional living, family programming and alumni. Experience Recovery is proud to be a trauma informed treatment facility with the designation from Seeking Safety. In addition, our outcomes are real, and used in our clinical decision making for each client. We are FIT outcome trained and are also a FIT outcomes training facility. Plainly, this means that we incorporate the feedback of each client into their episode of treatment. This allows us to monitor and predict if our clients our trending towards a positive or negative outcome. We incorporate the use of Feedback Informed Treatment at all levels of care.

Experience Recovery provides a full spectrum of care to those who struggle with addiction. Our approach is backed by science, informed by proven data, and personalized to meet the needs of each client. All treatments are administered by multi-disciplined professionals with compassion and experience.

What is Rule 62?

What is Rule 62?

What is AA?

Alcoholics Anonymous or “AA” has been around for over 80 years and is a community of men and women who join to work through their drinking problems. It is a support group that is non-political, multiracial, self-supporting, non-professional and is available almost anywhere. It is open to anyone who would like to work on recovering from their drinking problem.

What does AA do?

  • Participants in AA share their story and personal experience and help support others with their drinking problem
  • Helps a person learn how to live a happy life without alcohol
  • They give person-to-person “sponsorship” to the alcoholic coming to AA
  • Offers open discussion meetings, open speaker meetings, closed discussion groups and/or step meetings

What does AA NOT do?

  • Solicit members
  • Follow up with members to see how they’re doing
  • Engage in education about alcohol
  • Provide detox or other medical services
  • Engage in sponsor research
  • Force someone to stop drinking
  • Offer religious services
  • Provide letters of reference
  • Provide housing, food, clothing, jobs or any other welfare services

The Book of 12 Steps

In order to successfully achieve and remain sobriety, a person must complete the process of the Book of 12 Steps. Many of the steps refer to God or a higher power, but they do not refer to one specific faith or religion. Although, they go in a sequence they are intended to be used ongoing during a person’s life in recovery. Ideally, these steps are taken with the help of your sponsor (someone who has gone thorough AA) who supports you during your recovery journey.

Rule 62

There are many rules and stories that are described in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous that discuss the different steps involved in recovery. Rule 62 in recovery refers to the rule of “don’t take yourself too damn seriously.” It doesn’t always occur to someone in recovery that they are able to enjoy life again or be happy without drinking alcohol. When they look around, they see other people enjoying themselves without drugs or alcohol, but they still can’t quite wrap their head around the idea that they can enjoy it too.

The main take away from Rule 62 to is to see your life as lighthearted, fun and enjoyable. It’s important to be able to laugh at yourself and enjoy the little things. It can be difficult to understand at first, but people eventually get there.

History of Rule 62

The history of AA reveals that a group of Hinderlands convinced people in the local town to fund a program for recovery/AA/treatment. The intention was to have an elaborate space where people in AA could receive medical help, residential recovery and AA support group meetings.

The group who started it all decided that there needed to be rules and regulations involved in the AA recovery process, and they wanted input from everyone involved. Naturally, not everyone agreed on everything, which in turn caused them to send their 61 rules to the NY offices of AA. The people who volunteered at NY didn’t have any idea how to run a facility like this or what to say about the rules that they had come up with. While discussing this, the last rule of “don’t take your life too damn seriously” arose which was due to the fact that they felt that there was no reason to have ego-driven opinions that may break the group apart.

Alcohol Use Disorder

Addition to alcohol can be described as the misuse of alcohol, tobacco or other drugs that cause short-term or long-term health consequences. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, “The misuse and abuse of alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs, and prescription medications affect the health and well-being of millions of Americans. SAMHSA’s 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (PDF | 1.6 MB) reports that approximately 20.3 million people aged 12 or older had a substance use disorder in the past year.”

Excessive alcohol use can cause risky or dangerous behavior from the person such as driving under the influence. The Center for Disease Control reported that approximately 29 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that have an alcohol impaired driver daily.

Symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder

There are some symptoms or warning signs associated with alcohol use disorder. You may have alcohol use disorder if you experience these symptoms:

  • Trying to cut back on your drinking habits but are unable to
  • Spend a lot of time drinking, being sick or hungover
  • Thinking about alcohol constantly that it effects your daily life
  • Drinking more or for longer periods of time than intended
  • Continuous drinking despite the negative consequences associated with it
  • Needing to drink more and more to achieve the same effects
  • Quitting other activities that were important to you in order to drink
  • Withdrawal symptoms such as seizures, sweating, nausea, racing heart, restlessness, shakiness, trouble sleeping, or seeing, hearing or feelings that aren’t there
  • Having problems with school, work, friends or family

It’s important to get help as soon as possible if you have any of the symptoms listed above. There is help at Experience Recovery.

Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment

Located in Southern California, Experience Recovery is dedicated to the treatment of addiction. We are a privately held company with a staff of over 150 years of combined experience. Our continuum of care begins with an assessment for the level of care a potential client needs. Experience Recovery offers medically-assisted detoxification, residential, day treatment, intensive outpatient, outpatient, aftercare, transitional living, family programming and alumni. Experience Recovery is proud to be a trauma informed treatment facility with the designation from Seeking Safety. In addition, our outcomes are real, and used in our clinical decision making for each client. We are FIT outcome trained and are also a FIT outcomes training facility. Plainly, this means that we incorporate the feedback of each client into their episode of treatment. This allows us to monitor and predict if our clients our trending towards a positive or negative outcome. We incorporate the use of Feedback Informed Treatment at all levels of care.

Experience Recovery provides a full spectrum of care to those who struggle with addiction. Our approach is backed by science, informed by proven data, and personalized to meet the needs of each client. All treatments are administered by multi-disciplined professionals with compassion and experience.

Can AA Help Those Addicted to Alcohol?

Can AA Help Those Addicted to Alcohol?

Addiction is such a devastating disease because it disguises itself as a cure. Alcohol can numb the pain, hide anxieties and depression, and fast-forward the most traumatic parts of life. Many people don’t see a way out of addiction because they don’t fully understand how and why they became addicted in the first place. A prevailing theory is that drugs and alcohol are just such powerful chemicals that one taste will hijack our minds and bodies forever but this doesn’t address a lot of the obvious discrepancies. For example, why did we try drugs and alcohol in the first place? Or why can we relapse after we purge ourselves through detox? The truth is, alcoholism is brought on by a series of fractures in our mind, body, and social life. Healing any part of ourselves can increase our resilience to drugs and alcohol, but healing all these aspects is the most direct and effective way to find true sobriety. Pairing Alcoholics Anonymous with traditional detox and rehab is a powerful way to make sure you’re receiving all the help you need to maintain a drug-free lifestyle.

Combining AA and Rehab & Detox

Our Drug and Alcohol rehab counselors in Orange County hear this question all the time, “is AA worth it if I’m already in detox?” Detox and rehabilitation is the fast, safe, and effective route to get back on your feet and feel in control of your life again. What AA offers is the long-term support to your recovery that can hold you accountable for your success, the social support you need in dark and desperate times, and the progressive goal-setting you need to continue to lead your recovery journey. Being surrounded by likeminded people going through the same struggles is the most powerful way to discredit all the stigma, fears, guilt, and shame that are so frequently attached to addiction. What better way to envision your recovery than to meet people who’ve experienced similar life hardships and blossomed into a stronger, more enduring and endearing person?

Alcoholics Anonymous also has an amazing support network at AA.org with centers, meetings, and individuals throughout the globe. Even if you end up moving across the state or out of the country, you can always find the support and encouragement to thrive anywhere in the world. Their 12-step system and accountability not only provides you clear markers to track your progress but also gives you the motivation and inspiration to endure the toughest parts of recovery.

Does AA Work?

Studies show that people who do commit to AA have a higher rate of sobriety long-term, and more likely to complete detox and therapy. Beating addiction is never an instantaneous or perfect process. Our individual addictions are reflections of the hardships in our lives and the tools we’ve learned to endure and overcome those hardships. Not everyone sticks to rehab, detox, or AA as long or as perfectly as recommended. We can all have off-days and sudden hardships that throw us off-track, which is why it’s important to have a roadmap and rulebook when we start our journey to sobriety.

How Do I Get Started with AA?

If you’re ready to start your recovery journey, or if you’re looking to learn more about the process and where to begin, we always encourage you to speak to one of our drug addiction specialists to put together the perfect plan for your recovery.

Staying Sober in Alcoholics Anonymous

Staying Sober in Alcoholics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous has been a fundamental partner to our Orange County rehab and detox. While our detox specialists can provide therapy, guidance, and a safe recovery environment for patients, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is the perfect place to help you stay sober after recovery. When combined with rehab and detox, AA is a critical part of the recovery journey and has helped countless people.

Sobriety and Chemical Hooks

Despite the prevailing beliefs in society, addiction is only partly based on the “chemical hooks” of addictive substances. While drugs and alcohol do create a euphoric “high” in the short term, anyone using for a long period of time knows that the drugs are just as addictive years after you stop feeling the original “highs” that made it exciting or relaxing or fun. In fact, an investigation by Johann Hari in his book, Chasing the Scream, found that in certain cases, the chemical hook theory didn’t make sense at all. In certain parts of the US, street drugs were so scarce that most of the samples confiscated were 100% filler, with no trace elements of the supposed illicit substance. Despite this, and despite users noticing the weakness of the drugs… drug trafficking continued, users kept using, and addictions persisted.

Certain chemicals in drugs do lend themselves to being more addictive and dangerous. In fact, with alcohol and opiates, the withdrawal symptoms from detox can be extremely painful and even dangerous if unsupervised. There is clearly a chemical element to addiction, and it requires careful medical intervention to overcome. But the very fact that chemical hooks aren’t the sole and universal reason in addiction means we have to understand how social and psychological elements can influence the disease, and what programs and treatments can be effective at targeting those issues.

The Effectiveness of Alcoholic’s Anonymous

Studies pretty consistently find that Alcoholics Anonymous is a critical aspect of long-term recovery. One study found that 28% of clinical outcomes were contributed to the number of AA meetings patients attended, the largest variable in the study. In comparison, stable jobs, marriage, and adjustment only accounted for 7% of recovery, which hints that AA could provide a form of social intervention or therapy not accessible to most people living an otherwise healthy and productive life.

The Controversy of Alcoholics Anonymous

While individual studies have found mixed results of AA effectiveness, meta-studies have found that, overall, AA supports a number of critical health outcomes in sobriety. Most importantly, the number of meetings attended had a clear link with overall abstinence, among varying sample groups and at varying lengths of follow-up. While AA may not be effective in 100% of cases, individual patient’s commitment to the AA 12-step process and attendance at meetings has a clear and significant impact on overall sobriety success.

How Does Alcoholics Anonymous Help?

While detox can purge your body of the “chemical hooks” in addiction, and therapy can help mitigate the negative feelings and emotions that can lead to or perpetuate addiction, there is still a critical social element to recovery. We all become addicted because of something fundamental missing from our lives. Whether it’s unresolved trauma, social isolation, boredom, or feelings of inadequacy or unfulfilling careers, there’s always something deep and troubling that keeps us reliant on fast and potent fixes to our emotions. AA offers us a chance to connect with others, and to express ourselves and our feelings in a way that might not be possible with close friends or family. Hearing others go through similar struggles also helps us connect with their story and gives us a roadmap to success in our own lives.

Functional Alcoholic

Functional Alcoholic

For many, addiction falls into the background of the day-to-day. Anyone who stopped drinking coffee can tell you about the headaches and sluggishness of withdrawal. While we associate alcoholism with blacking out at parties and drunk-driving, many people are addicted to alcohol without it ever truly “coming to light” in such catastrophes. Just like caffeine, your dependence on alcohol might be most visible in its absence. If you don’t “feel yourself” without a drink, if you prioritize drinking over other responsibilities of your life, or if you use alcohol as a medicine, then you might be a functioning alcoholic and a good rehab program could be life-changing.

Alcoholism as a Sense of Self

We’ve all seen novelty mugs, shirts, and stickers around a culture of drinking: “Mommy needs her wine” or “Call me Old-Fashioned,” beneath a half-filled glass. While many people can enjoy an occasional drink, others might not feel complete without one. The self-deprecating humor we see in drinking puns, jokes, and products is a way many of us downplay or make light of just how much of our sense of self revolves around drinking. While it may seem harmless, it should at least raise the question on just how important alcohol is for us to function in our daily life. A clear symptom of alcohol addiction is when cravings for alcohol become an impediment on your day to day. If you’ve ever questioned whether or not you could get away with a quick drink on your lunch break, or if you can handle one more shot before you drive home, it’s a sign of your brain’s dependence on alcohol.

Functioning Alcoholism

Alcoholics aren’t all blackout drinkers, reckless partyers, or even unhappy in their lives. Many people hold fulfilling jobs and have loving and supportive families while still relying on alcohol to cope with the stress and emotions of life. Think of when you’ve had to go without a drink for extended periods of time. Have you been moody halfway through a workday because happy hour is so far away? Have you been frustrated at a “dry” wedding or birthday party? Have you gifted someone a bottle of fine wine and been aching inside, waiting for them to pop it open and share it with the group? Alcohol addiction can make you take silly risks, introduce unnecessary stress in your life, and make you more self-centered as you spend more time and energy thinking about your cravings than being present in the moment. While you might still be living a high quality of life and see no immediate problems with your relationship with alcohol, it could be having subtle effects on your career, your social life, or the way you’re perceived by others.

Alcohol as Medicine

The old adage says “vodka is cheaper than therapy.” It’s not always a deep, traumatic wound or mental scar we’re trying to suppress with drinking. Sometimes it’s just that we’re reminded of an ex, or we see a coworker be promoted above us, or we just can’t unwind after an argument with our spouse. Burying these stressors, insecurities, and negative emotions rather than letting our bodies process them is how they become splinters in our gut. We’ll have to pluck at them sooner or later, but for now, we just drown them. This numbing “self-medicating” is how we learn to drink not for fun or pleasure, but to manage our human emotions—a dangerous precursor to addiction.

If you see these behaviors in yourself or someone you know, it would be worth your while to talk to one of our Orange County detox and rehab specialists. A full rehab program might be excessive, but therapy, part-time treatment, or even Alcoholics Anonymous might be a great place to explore just how alcohol affects you and your life, and we can help you find the right option for your lifestyle.

Quiz: Are You Abusing Alcohol?

Quiz: Are You Abusing Alcohol?Drinking is an activity that’s so ingrained in our culture that it’s hard to imagine a society without the presence of alcohol. In recent years, craft breweries and specialized cocktail bars and liqueurs have escalated alcohol from the realm of a simple pastime to a passionate hobby for millions. While it’s common for people to enjoy a drink or a happy hour special at the end of the week, it’s important to be aware of how alcohol addiction can slowly form. It’s easy to slip from being a casual drinker to someone who is regularly abusing alcohol. At our detox in Orange County, we’ve seen a number of patients who have felt large chunks of their life slip away from them because of alcohol, and we’ve compiled a number of “warning signs” that alcohol addiction is forming. Take our quiz and see if any of these warning signs apply to you.

1) After drinking alcohol, do you have lapses in judgment or memory?

Blacking out is the obvious worst case scenario, but smaller lapses are still important warning signs. You don’t have to physically pass out to be in danger; often times someone suffering from alcohol poisoning will be confused, amnesiac, or unresponsive.

Think back on your worst or most excessive drinking experiences. Are there moments you can’t recall? Is there a gap in your memory between when you started drinking and when you arrived home? Have you ever “hooked up” with a stranger or engaged in any kind of activities you wouldn’t have done while sober?

2) Do you wake up with new injuries after drinking alcohol?

Have you ever gone home with cuts, bruises, scrapes, or other markings that suggest you were walking disoriented, clumsily, or otherwise stumbling about? While drunk, even commonplace travel, like walking down stairs, navigating a room, or walking the streets, can be a source of injury. If you’re waking up with physical signs of these injuries, you might be drinking excessively.

3) Do you feel incomplete without drinking alcohol?

Anyone addicted to caffeine knows the feeling of needing a cup. Coffee mugs and t-shirts are branded with the joke “I’m not me until I’ve had my coffee.” Alcohol addiction starts in very much the same way. It goes from wanting a drink at a party or social gathering, to feeling like your night isn’t complete until you’ve had your drink. If you find yourself stopping by a liquor store every time your fridge or cabinet doesn’t have a beer, wine, or liquor, you might have developed a dependence on alcohol.

If you often feel stressed, exhausted, depressed, or otherwise unhappy and lean towards alcohol as the cure for those negative emotions, you are facing alcohol addiction as an escape from other problems. In these cases, therapy is often recommended to not only curb the alcoholism but to address the underlying causes that are fueling it.

4) Have you drunk or craved alcohol at inappropriate times?

While anyone could want a refreshing beverage on a hot summer’s day or a $10 cocktail at a bar or theme park, there are times and places where we can be tempted despite our better judgment. If you’ve ever drunk at work, on the clock, before you knew you had to drive, or at other sensitive gatherings, you might be addicted to alcohol.

If any of these symptoms sound familiar, you should be aware that you could have an addiction to alcohol, and it could have deeper underlying causes. Professional help is here for you if you need it, or if you simply want to learn more about alcoholism and how it can be detected. Give us a call directly at (714) 782-3973.

Binge Drinking in the US

Binge-Drinking – The Quickest Path to Alcohol Poisoning

Binge Drinking in the US

Binge Drinking in the US

Unfortunately, for many people suffering with alcoholism, there is no middle-ground between a single drink and a night of binge-drinking. Because of alcoholism, even a quiet night out can quickly lead to excessive binge drinking, and eventually overdose. The Center for Disease Control defines binge drinking as 4 or more drinks for a woman, 5 for a man, enough to exceed the legal blood alcohol level for most people. Typically, binge drinkers will drink 8 or more drinks in single session, far exceeding recommended guidelines.

Alcohol Poisoning

In the US alone, there are approximately 88,000 alcohol-related deaths a year and alcohol poisoning alone kills about 6 people a day, mostly men. As much as 30% of these deaths were related to alcoholism. Alcohol poisoning can be distinguished by a variety of physical signs, such as unconsciousness, vomiting, slow or irregular breathing, seizures, and hypothermia (which can result in bluish skin).

What to do if Experiencing Alcohol Poisoning

The most important step to avoiding alcohol poisoning is simply avoiding an alcohol overdose. If you or your friends are out drinking, always have a responsible, sober party who can not only track your drinking and look out for excessive intoxication, but who understands the signs of alcohol poisoning. Immediately call 911 and get medical help for anyone experiencing slow breathing, unconsciousness, vomiting or blue skin. Avoid binge drinking, and have a clear understanding of your physical limits.

Treating Alcoholism

Excessive drinking is just one sign of alcoholism. If you are finding it difficult to get through the day without a drink, not being able to avoid binge drinking on a night out, or if you’re finding yourself accommodating your drinking above other goals and responsibilities, it is worth your time and health to speak with a specialist. At Experience Recovery, we have use modern, clinically proven techniques to help you define your own road to recovery. Whether you’d prefer an intensive, in-house experience designed to immediately quit drugs or alcohol, or if you’re looking for something that caters more closely to a busy schedule, we have options that work around your own track to success.

In many cases, a structured, residential treatment program can provide the safety and accessibility needed to break years’ worth of alcoholism and dependency. This option is critical for those in serious constraints, such as patients facing financial crisis, health issues, or frequent blackouts for binge drinking. But it’s also great for any level of dependency, because through residential treatment we are not only able to treat the disease directly, but also work on essential skills for maintaining positive energy and sustained sobriety. Residential treatment is the most effective and comprehensive option, which is why we highly recommend it.

Other Alcohol Abuse Treatment Options

Our Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP) are great supplements to in-house residential care. Through PHP, we are able to offer part-time services to those in need who no longer need 24-hour care. While every patient has individual needs, this treatment option typically revolves around 6-hour treatment sessions, 5 times a week with education, group therapy, and individual one-on-one sessions.

Likewise, our Intensive Outpatient treatments can provide data-driven, evidence-based support to otherwise busy individuals who can’t afford the time for a full in-house recovery program.

If you’re curious about the options available to you, or if you know someone who may benefit from our services, please give us a call at (800) 970-3973.

Genetics and Alcoholism

Alcoholism and the Genetic Link

Alcoholism is Not A Moral Failing – It is a Brain Disease

Genetics and AlcoholismMany people who have been afflicted with the disease of alcoholism (now commonly referred to as an “Alcohol Use Disorder”) struggle tremendously with accepting they have an illness. In fact, most problems drinkers will try (and fail) for years to control their drinking before they finally reach out for help. This is largely because they have a misperception about the causes of alcoholism.

Although we have come a long way in terms of the social stigma that surrounds alcohol addiction, we still have a long way to go. Many people mistakenly believe they have a problem with alcohol because they are weak, morally corrupt, or lacking in character. This is simply not true.

Alcohol addiction results from a disease process in the brain. As explained by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), an alcohol use disorder “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.” Like other illnesses, genetics play a role.

Overcoming Stigma as a Pathway to Recovery

One of the most effective ways to treat an alcoholic’s condition is to offer education about their illness. In fact, many people who attend alcohol addiction treatment are quite relieved to learn that there is a scientific explanation for their behavior.

Quite often, once an alcoholic commits to addiction treatment, they want answers that explain why they have suffered so profoundly because of their drinking. A common question is, “Do genetics cause alcoholism?” To answer the question in a word: yes. There is definitely a genetic link that contributes to alcoholism.

Understanding that genetics contribute to an AUD can greatly help an individual in their recovery by relieving shame and guilt. There is no shame in having an AUD just like there is no shame in having diabetes. It is a sickness of the body largely caused by genetic factors. As is the case with diabetes, applying a clinical approach to treatment is necessary. If left untreated, the disease is chronic, progressive, and fatal.

What Do We Know About Genetics and Alcoholism?

Multiple research studies have shown there is a genetic link associated with alcoholism. In fact, current scientific data suggests that genes represent at least half of the risk associated with developing an AUD. The other half is centered on environmental factors as well as how genes interact with one another.

It is no secret that alcoholism tends to run in families. If someone has a parent or grandparent who is or was a problem drinker, they are much more likely to develop an alcohol addiction than someone who has no family history of the illness. Although environment factors definitely contribute to this phenomenon, there is no doubt that genetics play a part.

There is still a lot to learn about the role of genetics and alcohol abuse. However; studies have shown that the expression of certain genetic markers greatly influence how a person’s brain and physical body will respond to alcohol.

For example, genetics determine how a person will metabolize (or process) alcohol. Some research suggests that people who are genetically predisposed to alcohol addiction experience a greater increase of the brain’s feel-good chemicals during alcohol consumption than “normal” drinkers. This causes the brain to react with powerful cravings that drive someone to continue to drink alcohol even when it is destroying their life. We also know that alcoholism affects men and women

The Bottom Line About Genetics and Alcohol Addiction

To be clear, no specific “alcoholism gene” has been identified yet – although scientists around the world are working hard to find it. Also, there is currently no genetic test available to determine if someone is vulnerable to becoming addicted to alcohol. Furthermore, there is no medical test that will reveal whether or not someone is an alcoholic.

There may be a lot we don’t know, but we do know quite a bit about the science behind alcoholism. The fact is that alcoholics simply cannot drink the way non-alcoholics can. To put it simply, their brain is wired differently.

The alcoholic brain responds to alcohol with an obsessive and compulsive cycle that continues even as the drinker experiences complete devastation as a result of their alcohol use. In the face of alcohol-related health complications, legal problems, family difficulties, and problems at work, an alcoholic will continue to drink.

In our estimation, it really doesn’t matter what causes alcohol addiction. At Experience Recovery, we focus on helping people find freedom from the addictive cycle.

Not sure if you are an alcoholic? Take this self-assessment quiz.

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