Can Alcoholics Drink Non-Alcoholic Beer?

Non-alcoholic beer would appear to be the perfect solution for a recovering alcoholic: They can maintain their sobriety while once again partaking in social gatherings, or simply indulge in the signature tangy malt flavor of the most popular beverage in the world. The concept of alcohol-free beer, however, is one of great controversy that has everyone asking: Can alcoholics drink non-alcoholic beer? 

What Is Non-Alcoholic Beer & Is It Real Beer? 

Yes, non-alcoholic beer is “real” beer and not just some mocktail being pushed as an alternative for your usual brewsky. Alcohol content, or lack thereof, has no bearing on beer’s classification. It is defined as any beverage made by brewing a cereal grain such as barley, wheat, or corn. Normally during the brewing process, the sugars in the starches ferment, creating ethanol resulting in beer’s standard 4-5% ABV. Non-alcoholic beer either prevents the fermentation process from happening or removes the ethanol after production.

There are two ways that beer manufacturers make beer without the alcohol content. They either remove the ethanol that’s naturally produced during the fermentation process or stop that process from happening altogether. Most non-alcoholic beer manufacturers opt for the former option, brewing beer as normal and then removing the ethanol that’s produced. The exact method of this extraction can vary. Some boil the ethanol away, while others use a physical filter to separate it. 

What’s In a Name? The Source of Controversy

Whether you’re for or against alcoholics drinking non-alcoholic beer, one thing that we can all agree on is that this product category is pretty misleading. Despite its name, non-alcoholic beer does, in fact, contain trace amounts of alcohol. Legally, as long as it contains less than 0.5% ABV, it can be considered a non-alcoholic beer (which is also sometimes referred to as alcohol-free beer, or de-alcoholized beer). 

Opponents of so-called non-alcoholic beer feel that the presence of alcohol, no matter how tiny, can trigger a relapse. While an alcohol level of less than half a percent may not seem a source of concern, drinking several and in rapid succession could put enough alcohol in the system to make a person feel it. 

The Pros of Non-Alcoholic Beer

Not everyone drinks alcohol to get drunk, and many supporters of alcoholics drinking non-alcoholic beer are if they’re doing so for taste. Drinking is deeply ingrained in our social customs and for many, the allure of beer is the nostalgia it holds. As such, non-alcoholic beer presents a rare opportunity for recovering addicts to indulge and reconnect with the malty beverage that accompanied many a pastime while maintaining their sobriety. 

Sure, there may be tiny traces of alcohol and the name is somewhat of a misnomer. But as long as they drink it without the intention of getting drunk, what’s the harm? It’s similar logic to that of decaffeinated beverages. The label may say that your coffee or tea may say “caffeine-free” and it’s accepted that trace amounts may still exist.

Final Thoughts: Can Alcoholics Drink Non-Alcoholic Beer?

Whether an alcoholic can safely drink a non-alcoholic beer with relapsing is a matter of personal preference. Some recovering addicts are wary of any amount of alcohol, no matter how small, and will even abstain from using wine in their cooking. For others who feel in control of their past addiction, it’s a chance to be reunited with a taste that accompanies their happiest moments. For recovering alcoholics to do this safely, we recommend doing so in the presence of a trusted friend that will step in if consumption gets out of hand. Long-term recovery is about being open and honest, if you are struggling with your addiction and are worried about relapsing, our experienced staff can help talk you through it. 

The Dangers of Fentanyl and Alcohol

What is Fentanyl and How Is It Used?

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid with a dangerous reputation. It can be 100 times stronger than morphine, and 50 times stronger than heroin. This increased potency means a greater likelihood of causing life-threatening opioid side effects or a fatal overdose. These already significant risks are amplified even further when fentanyl and alcohol are combined. Even in small doses, the combination can be quite the lethal duo.

Forms of Fentanyl:

  • Lozenge
  • Pill
  • Patch
  • Injectable solution
  • Powder 
  • Blotter paper 
  • Eye droppers 
  • Nasal sprays 

Fentanyl is classified as a Schedule II substance. This means that it has a high potential for abuse and can result in severe physical or psychological dependence. Other drugs in this classification include cocaine, methamphetamine, and oxycodone. This classification might come as a surprise seeing as how fentanyl is far more powerful than heroin, which is classified as a Schedule I, the highest tier. The reason for this is that fentanyl does have prescribed uses whereas heroin does not and is purely illicit. 

The Dangers of Fentanyl

Synthetic opioids are one of the leading causes of drug overdose deaths in the United States. Fentanyl leads those numbers and in 2017 resulted in nearly 30,000 overdose fatalities. Over half of all opioid-related deaths that year involved fentanyl. 

Unlike with other types of opioid abuse that are driven by misuse of a prescription (typically by a non-prescribed individual), the majority of illicit fentanyl usage is supplied by illegal manufacturing of the substance by clandestine laboratories.  

Although fentanyl operates as your typical opioid would, the higher potency means that the neurological reactions are much stronger, the effects on the body are more drastic, and the likelihood of addiction far greater. As little as a 2-milligram dose can be lethal (picture for scale). Fentanyl comes in a variety of forms and its versatility of consumption is a significant factor in why this dangerous substance is so widespread.

How Fentanyl Affects the Body

Fentanyl is fast-acting and works like your typical opioid. It is a mu-opioid receptor antagonist that controls pain and emotions. Once it has activated receptors, dopamine levels increase which blocks sensations of pain and sometimes results in feelings of euphoria. Fentanyl also acts as a depressant on central nervous system functions which can slow down breathing and digestion. One surprising difference between fentanyl and other opioids is that fentanyl does not seem to have the same cardiovascular effects that most other opioids do. The most common fentanyl side effects include:

  • Confusion
  • Constipation
  • Drowsiness
  • Euphoria
  • Hypoxia
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Nausea/Vomiting
  • Slowed or difficulty breathing
  • Sweating

Fentanyl and Alcohol: Making a Bad Situation Worse

Both fentanyl and alcohol are depressants. They both cause cognitive impairment and disruption to central nervous system functions but do so in different ways. The primary danger of using both substances together is where those side effects overlap: respiratory depression.

On its own, fentanyl can slow breathing to a dangerous rate and initiate a potentially-fatal chain of events. Slowed breathing means less oxygen intake, and this oxygen shortage leads to brain hypoxia which often results in a comatose state. From there, things can quickly get worse. The best-case scenario of the individual waking up from a coma could still result in permanent brain damage from the lack of oxygen. The worst? Death. 

In addition to brain hypoxia, the rise of carbon dioxide levels (caused by the lack of oxygen’s presence) can trigger hyperglycemia. Both of these conditions eventually lead to a change in the brain’s temperature and slow metabolic brain activity

Treating Polydrug Use and Abuse

Using alcohol with any sort of medication is generally a bad idea, and opioids even more so. Polysubstance abuse brings out the worst of each other and can often result in entirely new sets of less than desirable side effects. In circumstances of polysubstance abuse, treatment can be particularly difficult trying to extricate one symptom or trigger from another. Our experienced staff are well-versed in such types of addiction treatment and can help manage unpleasant side effects with our medical detox program. Contact us today to learn more and start your journey to recovery. 

Is Alcohol Withdrawal Headache Normal?

Alcohol withdrawal isn’t pretty; it can trigger a host of unpleasant physical and psychological symptoms that can last a few days or as long as a few weeks.  Some are mild and flu-like, with little cause for concern. Other symptoms can be severe, life-threatening, and require hospitalization. Fortunately, alcohol withdrawal headaches aren’t usually part of the latter category. They are a fairly commonplace symptom and on their own are not a cause for alarm.

Why Does Alcohol Withdrawal Cause Headaches? 

The cause of alcohol withdrawal headaches is the same as withdrawal itself. Alcohol withdrawal happens when the body has developed a physical dependence on the substance. The brain has learned to compensate for the dulling effect of alcohol by constantly releasing extra chemicals in order to keep up functions as normal. This overstimulation becomes the new normal – even when alcohol is no longer present. The discomfort that occurs is the adjustment period of chemical production returning to normal. 

How Long Do Alcohol Withdrawal Headaches Last? 

Alcohol withdrawal is not a clear-cut process. It can vary widely from person to person based on the severity of their drinking habits, and get very messy in the interim before the body re-adjusts to functioning without alcohol. Therefore, alcohol withdrawal-induced headaches can be difficult to predict. The average withdrawal process can take a few days or, in rare cases, over a month to pass. 

Types of Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can occur within hours after your last drink. However, the time distinction is not as important as the severity of the symptoms and does not follow a linear time-based schedule. Minor, moderate, or severe symptoms of withdrawal can occur at the very onset of the withdrawal process. 

 

The first stages of withdrawal begin around the 6-hour mark. Symptoms typically peak around the 48-hour mark and subside in intensity. Persisting symptoms that occur or worsen are usually attributed to delirium tremens, the most severe type of withdrawal. 

Minor Symptoms (Common)

The most common withdrawal symptoms are ones that affect the autonomic nervous system. These are functions that regulate the body’s automatic body functions like breathing, heart rate, digestion, reflexes, sneezing, etc., and typically cease after 48 hours.

 

  • Headache
  • Dilated pupils
  • Higher blood pressure
  • Higher body temperature
  • Nausea/Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia

Moderate Symptoms (Less Common)

Moderate symptoms include psychological side effects. These can begin 12-24 hours after withdrawal begins, and lasts significantly longer, for up to 6 days. 

 

  • Hallucinations (visual, auditory, or touch)
  • Seizures

Severe Symptoms (Uncommon)

  • Hyperthermia
  • Hypertensions
  • Fast breathing
  • Extreme sweating
  • Tremors
  • Delirium tremens

Alcohol & Headaches 

Headaches are one of the first symptoms of alcohol withdrawal to occur. They typically do so within the first 24-hours and can range in intensity from mild to severe (migraine-like). Headaches are often one of the first indicators the withdrawal is occurring. Withdrawal isn’t the only condition associated with headaches after heavy drinking, however. Hangovers are also known to leave heads pounding and bleary after a night of heavy drinking. Sometimes, hangover symptoms can be so severe that it is mistaken for withdrawal. 

 

Despite the similarities, headaches caused by withdrawal are completely different from those that occur as the after-effects of a binge drinking session. Withdrawal headaches are triggered by the absence of alcohol in the system, while hangover headaches are caused by too much alcohol being consumed at once. So while the pain may feel the same, the underlying cause of a withdrawal headache is much more serious.

 

If you have begun to experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms, it is recommended to have medical intervention for the detox process. Contact us today to learn more. 

 

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6761817/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6084325/ 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK441882/ 

 

Oxycodone and Alcohol: A Dangerous Combination

There’s a reason why most medications have a warning label against mixing with alcohol. In this specific instance, the danger of simultaneously using oxycodone and alcohol lies in that they have similar effects on the brain and central nervous system, although they do so in different ways. Both of these substances are depressants capable of causing irreparable harm to internal organs and a permanent imbalance of neurochemical levels. When combined, these two drugs make a deadly pair that amplifies each other’s negative effects and creates an entirely new host of dangers.

How They Work On Their Own

To better understand the risk that combining these drugs can cause, let’s look at how oxycodone and alcohol work independently.

Oxycodone

Oxycodone is a fast-acting opioid and powerful pain reliever. It functions by binding to opioid receptors, slowing down messages to the brain while simultaneously triggering the release of dopamine. This results in pain relief and a feeling of euphoria or relaxation. With neurons no longer firing as normal, this depression of neuron activity causes multiple bodily functions including breathing, heartbeat, metabolism, and digestion to slow. This, in turn, can cause severe respiratory issues, low blood pressure, and constipation. Oxycodone can remain in the system for several days after the last use, making it dangerously easy to cause substance buildup within the body.

Alcohol

Alcohol, another depressant, causes a number of both chemical and physical changes within the body. Similar to oxycodone, alcohol also causes the slowing of neuron activity. Alcohol interrupts dopamine, serotonin, GABA, and glutamate circuits, each of which has some effect on mood, motor skills, cognitive functioning, and impulse control. Long-term alcohol abuse can cause permanent damage to the hippocampus and result in severe memory impairment. Physical long-term side effects include hypertension, cardiac stress, liver disease, digestive problems, and depression.  

Side Effects of Oxycodone and Alcohol Combined

Even the most mundane medications (like an antifungal cream) can have dangerous repercussions when exposed to an opioid. So it goes without saying that adding alcohol to the mix is bad news. 

  • Dangerously slow breathing – The brain can shut down if it doesn’t get enough oxygen, this can lead to a coma or death
  • Low blood pressure and cardiac distress
  • Severely impaired memory or memory loss
  • Drowsiness or unconsciousness
  • Increased likelihood of addiction

Both of these drugs are depressants that have a significant impact on central nervous system functions, combining them can make existing side effects turn deadly. And besides making an already bad situation worse, using oxycodone and alcohol together can cause withdrawal symptoms to be even more severe.

Treating Polysubstance Abuse

Polydrug users, those who abuse or are addicted to multiple drugs, are at much greater risk of experiencing compounded drug side effects. This is often a result of individuals using multiple drugs to “balance” the other out and stabilize drug side effects. This is a dangerous practice that can cause toxic buildup within the body which can unleash an entirely new set of damage to the body.

Polysubstance abuse can be incredibly difficult to treat and the chance of relapse is significantly higher. Medical detox is recommended for circumstances like this, where the effects of having multiple drugs in a system can be severe and require medical intervention. If you or a loved one find yourself addicted to multiple drugs at the same time, consult a Level Up Lake Worth addiction professional today. 

Can Alcohol Cause High Blood Pressure? Hypertension & Alcoholism

It’s common knowledge that heavy drinking can have long-lasting and detrimental effects on your liver, kidneys, and brain. However, many alcoholics fail to realize the detrimental relationship between alcohol and high blood pressure that puts their entire body at risk – not just a few organs. Can alcohol cause high blood pressure? Yes. Although scientists are still exploring the exact cause of the correlation, there is no question that the two are related.

Why High Blood Pressure is Dangerous 

High blood pressure or hypertension, is a health condition where the force against artery walls is higher than the normal – 130/80 mmHg to be precise. The higher your blood pressure levels, the harder your heart has to work to pump blood throughout your body. This leads to an increased risk of cardiovascular issues such as stroke, heart attack, and heart disease – the highest cause of death in the United States. High blood pressure can also be harmful to the arteries themselves, due to the excess force damaging the tissue and causing tiny tears.

High blood pressure kills as many as half a million Americans each year, but that isn’t the scariest part. What makes high blood pressure so dangerous is that it is a silent killer. Until something drastic happens there are rarely any obvious symptoms. Nearly half of the U.S population has high blood pressure and the majority of them don’t have a clue. As can be easily imagined, high blood pressure is particularly dangerous to alcoholics for several reasons.

Why Does Alcohol Increase Blood Pressure?

There are several direct and indirect factors at play in the relationship between alcohol and hypertension. Many of the ways that alcohol affects the body set the stage for high blood pressure to occur – but the trouble doesn’t end there. Several symptoms of alcohol and high blood pressure overlap, exacerbating internal organ damage in the eyes and kidneys and deepening the amount of cardiovascular stress. Binge drinking was shown to have a direct correlation with levels of bad cholesterol (LDL). To put it simply, alcohol causes the arteries to narrow due to the build-up of plaque similar to fatty foods.

Everyone knows that alcohol is pure sugar and carbs, a caloric bomb that can sneakily add on the pounds. Alcohol has another weight-gaining culprit at the cellular level. Excessive alcohol consumption triggers the cells associated with inflammation, which has a strong influence on weight gain, particularly those hard to lose pounds. This is a natural progression into another proponent of developing hypertension, obesity is a well-known aggravator of high blood pressure. When compounded with the plaque-building nature of heavy alcohol consumptions, can wreak havoc on an already overworked cardiovascular system. For this reason, it is impossible to determine a singular reason why alcohol affects blood pressure.  

Alcohol Withdrawal & High Blood Pressure

Because alcohol and high blood pressure are such a dangerous combination, scientists recommend complete alcohol abstinence. Many alcoholics in detox are disappointed to learn that becoming sober doesn’t automatically fix alcohol-related blood pressure problems. In fact, those who quit drinking cold turkey often find that it causes their blood pressure to spike. These effects are temporary, however, so it would be incorrect to say that alcohol withdrawal is a cause of high blood pressure.

What causes high blood pressure during alcohol withdrawal is similar to that which causes withdrawal symptoms in the first place: The heart, brain, and central nervous system have become accustomed to working extra hard to compensate for impaired bodily functions. Suddenly, alcohol is no longer in the system and your heart is still firing on all cylinders.  

Is High Blood Pressure Due to Alcohol Use Reversible?

Alcohol can have many lingering effects on the brain and central nervous system. Fortunately, high blood pressure caused by alcohol is one of the few effects that are almost entirely reversible. In a study that monitored the blood pressure of detoxing alcoholics, 92% of the participants saw their blood pressure decrease by the third day of withdrawal.

How to Manage Your Drinking and Lower Your Blood Pressure

Blood pressure and alcohol consumption can typically be managed by exercising moderation, although this can be much easier said than done. For those with a physical alcohol dependency, cutting down on drinking could trigger a number of other unpleasant side effects. Still, knowing that alcohol causes high blood pressure, and the potential health risks of which, make the short-term discomfort well worth it.

Level Up Lake Worth can not only assist with every stage of alcohol detox, including withdrawal but can provide additional insight into the state of your blood pressure and addressing any potential risks. Contact us today to take a proactive step towards improving your heart health and overall quality of life.

What is Alcohol Withdrawal Fever? Uncommon Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Can drinking alcohol make you hotter? Most people will say that it does – but we don’t mean in the sense of making people seem more attractive. Flushing skin, hot flashes, and increased sweating are common side effects of alcohol consumption (i.e.: alcohol blankets) that pass once alcohol has exited your system. The temperature-raising side effect associated with alcohol withdrawal, however, is not as harmless. Alcohol withdrawal fever is one of the less commonly addressed symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. Knowing what it is could potentially save your life.   

What is Alcohol Withdrawal Fever?

Fever is a relatively common symptom of alcohol withdrawal. In most cases, fevers are low-grade (do not exceed beyond 100 degrees Fahrenheit) and can be attributed to some sort of indirect infection or illness. 

 

Instances where a fever has no determinable cause and persists for an extended period of time can indicate that the alcohol detox process has taken a nasty turn. This symptom is associated with the most severe type of withdrawal commonly known as delirium tremens (DTs).

Is Fever During Alcohol Withdrawal Dangerous? 

Fever can be beneficial to a detoxing alcoholic by indicating a related illness such as a kidney infection caused by dehydration. However, if an alcohol withdrawal-related fever persists for more than 72 hours it is often considered a medical emergency. The danger does not actually lie with the fever itself, which is more of an accessory symptom, but because of the other symptoms that accompany delirium tremens such as:

 

  • Cardiovascular collapse
  • Hallucinations (audial and visual)
  • High blood pressure
  • Extreme confusion and agitation
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Seizure
  • Coma

Treatment for delirium tremens can take close to two weeks of hospitalization. It typically involves IV fluids to prevent dehydration and medication to treat seizures or other DT symptoms.

The Cause of Alcohol Withdrawal Fever

As is the case with most nasty withdrawal effects, they are usually brought on by quitting a substance cold turkey. Withdrawal symptoms only occur when the body has developed physical dependence, however. When this happens, the neurochemistry of the brain has been permanently disrupted due to the brain not having functioned normally for quite some time.

 

It is estimated that about 50% of alcoholics experience withdrawal symptoms when they eventually stop drinking. The effects, albeit unpleasant, are often relatively mild. These symptoms include headache, high blood pressure, or nausea and vomiting. Long-term heavy drinkers, however, have the highest risk of developing delirium tremens, which could land them in the emergency room. The likelihood of this occurring is low, only 5% of alcohol withdrawal ends up being this severe.

 

In the case of alcohol withdrawal fever, it is not serving fever’s usual purpose of heating the body to kill bacteria. Instead, it is a result of a dramatic shift in brain and nervous system activity. Excessive drinking suppresses neurotransmitters and forces them to work in overdrive to continue functioning. When you suddenly cause stop drinking, your neurotransmitters can take a while to catch up, slow down, and return to normal. This in-between period where your body is working extra hard to overcome a substance that isn’t there is what causes withdrawal and, in particularly bad cases, alcohol withdrawal fever.

Fever & Alcohol Withdrawal: What To Do Next

Seek medical help right away if you are undergoing alcohol detox and experience fever for more than 72 hours. High-grade or long-lasting fevers could be alcohol withdrawal fever caused by dangerous delirium tremens. This condition isn’t something you should try to wait out by yourself. Our medical detox treatments can help mitigate the worst of DT symptoms and make your alcohol withdrawal as comfortable as possible. Contact us today to see which of our alcoholic recovery options are best for you. 

Is Alcohol a Stimulant or Depressant?

The effects of alcohol can vary wildly from person to person. Some get energized and rowdy while others become weepy or aggressive. If you’ve ever wondered “Is alcohol a stimulant or a depressant?” the answer is alcohol is a little bit of both. 

The Difference Between Stimulants and Depressants

Whether alcohol is a stimulant or a depressant has nothing to do with how drinking makes you feel. A celebratory drink with friends can put you in high spirits, while a solitudinous sip after bad news can leave you somber and contemplative. It doesn’t matter. A drug’s classification as a stimulant or depressant (yes, alcohol is a drug) is solely determined by how it affects the body. 

What is a Stimulant?

Also referred to as “uppers”, stimulants are a class of drugs that can make users feel energized, alert, or confident. Stimulants affect the central nervous system (CNS) and work by speeding up the messages between the brain and the body. They target specific neurotransmitters and increase the levels sent to the brain. Stimulants are also considered to be a psychoactive drug for this reason. Physiological responses typically include an elevation in heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing.

Even legal stimulants have the ability to be dangerous or addictive. Caffeine, for example, is one of the most commonly used drugs, with 90% of Americans consuming at least one caffeinated drink per day. Widely popular around the world and available in a variety of forms, this legal drug can result in unpleasant withdrawal effects that are both physical and psychological. Side effects of stimulants can include depression, anxiety, insomnia, or restlessness. Heavy or prolonged use can be fatal as a result of heart issues (irregular heartbeat, failure) or seizures.  

What is a Depressant?

A common misconception about depressants or “downers” is that they are related to depression or perhaps cause it. This class of drugs has nothing to do with mood. They are actually named so because they suppress the central nervous system – the complete opposite of stimulants. Depressants slow down the messages sent between the brain and the body. Lowered neurotransmission levels interfere with nerve receptors, thus reducing overall brain activity. 

Depressants primarily affect concentration and coordination. Substances like alcohol or GHB or marijuana will cause slower reaction times and impaired motor functions. Large doses can result in drowsiness, unconsciousness, and vomiting while long-term effects can include permanent cognitive and memory impairment, heart and liver damage, lung infections, and even an increased risk of cancer.     

So Is Alcohol a Stimulant or Depressant?

Alcohol can be tricky to identify since it has characteristics of both stimulants and depressants. Although formally classified as a depressant, the line isn’t black and white. 

The key differences between stimulants and depressants are the specific chemical alterations they make within the brain. Stimulants affect dopamine while depressants affect gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which decreases neuron activity. Since alcohol targets neither of those chemicals, alcohol doesn’t fit neatly into one classification or the other. 

The effects of alcohol on the body change depending on the stage of consumption, which also contributes to the confusion surrounding alcohol’s drug classification. In the initial stage of drinking alcohol, it is found to act as a stimulant, increasing levels of dopamine within the brain. Once the drink fully enters the system, it acts more as a depressant. Studies have associated this change in bodily response to the changes of BAC (blood alcohol content) levels. Rising BAC levels are energizing and cause an increase in neurotransmitter activity while falling BAC levels slow them down.

The Dangerous Potential of Alcohol Abuse

There is still much that scientists and doctors don’t know about alcohol. There have been hundreds of studies on this substance, and even to this day, it is unknown why alcohol affects some differently than others. One thing that is certain, however, is how devastating prolonged alcohol abuse can be on the body. 

Cognitive impairment caused by alcohol is often the direct culprit of otherwise avoidable accidents and mishaps. Internally, the risk of permanent organ damage is high and the long-term consequences can be dire. Just because a drug is legal doesn’t mean that it doesn’t carry risk. An estimated 2.8 million deaths occur worldwide each year. Don’t become a number, if you or a loved one is in need of alcohol detox or treatment for alcoholism, contact Level Up Lake Worth today.

What Are the 12 Steps of AA & What Do They Mean?

Since its creation in 1935, millions of alcohol addicts have joined Alcoholics Anonymous to curb their destructive drinking habit. The 12 Steps of Recovery, often referred to by its short-form ‘12 steps’. It is one of the cornerstones of this community-based organization. Members are encouraged to revisit these steps as often as necessary to ensure their recovery. If you are trying to get sober, learn what are the 12 steps of AA along with what they mean and how to apply them. 

What Are The 12 Steps From?

The steps used in today’s Alcohol Anonymous support groups are the same ones used by the organization’s founders in the 1930s. First outlined in The Big Book this text is still central to AA teachings and is considered one of the most influential books of all time. Designed to guide participants through various stages of self-awareness, the program has been instrumental in helping alcoholics get sober for nearly 100 years.

The 12 Steps of AA Explained

While it’s important to know the AA 12 steps, that’s only half the battle. Understanding the intent and how to apply these guidelines to your own life are a crucial part of getting sober with AA. Incorporating these steps may initially seem challenging to the non-religious member as several of the steps reference the concept of God. This is due to the organization’s Christian roots. Nowadays, many AA groups use secular interpretations of the 12 steps that are easily applicable to agnostic, atheist, and otherwise non-religious AA members. 

Step 1: “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.”

Admitting you have a problem is the first step towards making a recovery. While it might be painful or embarrassing at first, acknowledging alcohol addiction is the most important part of achieving sobriety. 

Step 2: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

Find a source of inspiration and strength beyond yourself. External motivators can help keep long-term goals in perspective during moments of weakness. If you are not religious, this “greater Power” could be a loved one like a spouse or your children, a person you admire such as a celebrity or friend, or even a hobby such as running or playing music.

Step 3: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

Acknowledge and embrace that you cannot control everything. By letting go of this expectation, you alleviate a considerable source of disappointment and frustration, which is likely a strong trigger for the desire to drink in the first place. This can also be interpreted as being open to advice and guidance from others such as therapists or doctors.

Step 4: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

This encourages participants to take mental stock of their character and personality. Using workbooks and lists to physically write down adjectives and other identifiers is recommended. This self-assessment is important in developing honesty with oneself and identifying one’s shortcomings. 

Step 5: Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

Sometimes referred to as “Confession”, this continuation of self-evaluation can be challenging. Admitting wrongs may require owning up to an unpleasant or shameful past; as well as acknowledging the bad things we have thought or done to others and ourselves. This vulnerability is a powerful part of the 12 step process that requires courage and complete honesty. Sharing your darkest moments with another person might seem unthinkable and uncomfortable, However, many participants are surprised at how therapeutic this practice is.

Step 6: Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

Having the right attitude can make or break any substance abuse recovery effort and Step 6 is all about wanting to change. This is about developing the proper mindset rather than an actionable task. Therefore, it can be difficult to feel that this has been accomplished. It is recommended to talk to other people, such as a counselor, therapist, or sponsor who may be able to provide additional perspective.

Step 7: Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

This is about humility and taking action to create change. Whether accomplished through praying to a higher power or simply asking a friend to hold you accountable, this is an actionable step towards shedding your old ways.

Step 8: Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

Acknowledging the selfish, harmful, and potentially hurtful actions of our past can be acutely stressful. This reconciliation is often accompanied by immense feelings of guilt. This step, however, is about taking responsibility and learning to forgive ourselves. Facing the full brunt of the consequences of past behavior is an important reminder that alcoholism doesn’t just negatively affect the drinker.

Step 9: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

It’s one thing to come to terms with an unpleasant past, but to face the actual people we may have wronged is an entirely separate beast. By nature of interacting with anyone other than ourselves, things quickly become unpredictable. This is often a source of stress that can tempt participants back to old habits. If this is the case for you, consider additional alcohol addiction treatment options to prevent backtracking of progress. Remember, this is about taking ownership for past actions, not lip service to alleviate guilt.

Step 10: Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

After achieving considerable personal awareness, your mindset has likely changed quite a bit throughout this process. This step is about constant and real-time reflection of your actions in your day-to-day life, and taking responsibility for them. Find yourself getting road rage in traffic? remind yourself that getting angry won’t make the lights change or the lights move any faster. This is the sort of self-check that step 10 encourages.

Step 11: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

Whether you are religious or not, this step is all about strengthening your mental discipline. Whether through prayer or secular meditation, it’s about checking in with yourself; being gracious and forgiving with yourself for fallbacks, and being grateful for the progress you’ve made.

Step 12: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

The final step of the Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Step program is by no means the end of an alcoholics recovery journey. This involves bringing the mindfulness acquired in each step into the every day. It also means sharing your story to help other alcoholics to introduce them to AA. 

You Finished the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous…Now What? 

Completion of the Alcoholics Anonymous steps won’t miraculously end your desire to drink. In fact, many successful recovered alcoholics still find themselves with cravings even decades later. AA members are encouraged to repeat this process as often as necessary for long-standing recovery.

The urge to drink can still persist even after multiple completions of the 12 steps. In cases like this, it’s highly recommended to seek additional alcohol addiction treatment. Rehab facilities like Level Up Lake Worth offer in-house 12-step group meetings. This makes it easy to get additional treatment in a single location. From individual counseling to alcohol detoxing, our dedicated team will be there every step as you overcome alcoholism. Contact us to learn more about how you can enroll in the Level Up Lake Worth 12 step program today.