Alcohol addiction is often seen as a problem that plagues young and middle-aged people. However, people at retirement age are not immune to problems with alcohol. If you've been struggling with alcohol addiction and are an older adult yourself, then you might be wondering how to go about recovery. Here are some tips that can help.
1. Look for treatment programs targeted to your age demographic.
While some addiction treatment protocols work at all ages, there are some aspects of recovery that are different when you're retired. You may not have the goal of going back to work or being there for a child like a younger addicted person would. As such, you might feel a little out of touch and out of place at a typical rehab center where most of the patients are younger than you. Look instead for a program that caters to older adults. You'll feel more camaraderie with others in the program, and the counselors will be able to tailor the goals of the program to your needs.
2. Address underlying mental health problems.
One reason why alcoholism tends to appear in older adults is due to underlying mental health struggles. The changes that occur around this age — such as leaving a job behind and having your kids move out — can understandably lead to feelings of depression and loneliness. These feelings can, in turn, contribute to your alcohol addiction. If you do not work to address these underlying mental health issues, you'll have a harder time recovering. Work with a counselor who is willing to focus on these issues as you work towards recovery.
3. Be honest with your family.
You're likely used to being seen as the matriarch or patriarch of your family. They may see you as this infallible rock; you may feel like you can't admit to them that you are struggling. However, you'll have an easier time recovering, in the long run, if you are honest with your family. Lean on them during this time; you'll likely be surprised how willing they are to support you. It's still possible for you to be their rock, and also to be a fallible human. Seeing that you, too, have struggles in life can actually help them connect with you even more closely.
Recovering from addiction as an older adult is hard — as it is at any age! However, if you keep your goals in mind and follow the tips above, you can absolutely do it.
For more information about alcohol addiction recovery, contact a center like Beecon Recovery.