Dealing with alcoholism and substance abuse part 1- individuals

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Before we go any further I strongly recommend that if you have a problem with drugs or alcohol you should go straight to your doctor for medical advice and assistance.
Now you may not believe you have a problem. Most people in the situation don’t, but consider these things. Is your drug or alcohol intake affecting your relationships, work, bank balance, daily life, health? Has it altered your personality? Feel angry, depressed, low self esteem, lethargic? If the answer is yes to any of those questions, you have a problem.
So besides seeking professional help what else can you do?
The first thing would be to take your friends and family in to your confidence and ask them to help and support you whilst you stop. It’s always easier to stick to your goals if you have someone to talk to when you’re struggling.
Do some soul searching and try to list any and all contributing factors as to why you drink or take drugs. If you can identify the causes you can start to find solutions. For some people it may be serious reasons that they feel they need to hide from, for others it could be as simple as habit, low self esteem, poor friend choices.
Give yourself time. You’re not going to be cured over night, but do stick to your aims.
Cut the bad influences out of your life and change your living patterns. For example if you always have a glass of wine after dinner, that leads to a bottle or two. Take a walk, join a night course, find a hobby. Doesn’t really matter what takes your interest as long as you break the habit of sitting down with that first drink.
Face up to the mistakes you’ve made and start to make immense where possible to the people you’ve hurt.
If you have too much time on your hands, volunteer at a local charity or animal shelter. Doing things for others will build up your self esteem and helping others tends to put your own problems in to perspective.
Most importantly never give up. You owe it to your self to have a happy and productive life and no one can achieve that but you.

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