Psychological Self-Help

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Situation-evaluation, seeing effects of drinking on the environment,
work, or relationships, etc. (4) Committing to making a change,
"I've got to quit," "That is the last time I get drunk," deciding to tough
it out, etc. (5) Replacing drinking with another activity, drinking
soft drinks, playing sports instead of stopping at the bar, becoming a
good student, etc. (6) Changing the environment, getting beer out
of the house, refusing invitations to "go out," avoiding drinking friends,
etc. (7) Rewarding quitting, taking pride in accomplishments,
accepting praise from others, using saved money and time in
enjoyable ways, etc. (8) Getting support from others, building
contacts with spouse and children, getting appreciation from co-
workers, etc. 
All of these self-help procedures are described in this book, mostly
in this chapter or chapter 11. Note: self-treatment doesn't have to be
complex. For instance, Linda Sobell and her colleagues at Nova
Southeastern University (June, 2002) studied the effects of
bibliotherapy, much like the information given here, on drinking
behavior. These researchers merely sent (a) written material about the
effects of alcohol, (b) suggestions concerning self-monitoring, (c) ideas
about lowering the risks of drinking and (d) motivational material to
people who answered an ad saying "I want to do something on my
own about a drinking problem." Following up one year later, they
found these subjects were consuming 20% fewer drinks, binging 33%
less often, and having 58% fewer negative consequences from
drinking. By the way, some of these subjects, who had never sought
treatment before, did after trying to change themselves. The
implications are that a public health/psychosocial educational approach
could economically help many problem drinkers who wouldn't seek the
usual "clinical" approach, namely, waiting in denial until you
deteriorate to the point of needing expensive residential treatment for
alcoholism followed by a life-time of AA groups. (Note: this study did
not measure how much self-change would have occurred if no
information at all had been sent these subjects.) 
If you are very addicted, however, you may need to go to detox,
then get into a residential treatment program, followed up by
individual talking therapy and also an AA, Rational Recovery, or other
support group listed below. You would be wise, even though some stop
drinking on their own, to be in both therapy and a group because you
may need the group to stop or curtail your drinking and you may need
the therapy to learn new constructive behaviors, attitudes, emotions,
relationships, and self-concepts. Keep your motivation high (Methods
#5 and #14 in chapter 11; Method #14 in chapter 14). Constantly
remind yourself of your reasons for drinking less--health, money,
greater effectiveness, better relationships, etc. Keep a record of your
behavior (Methods #8 & #9 in chapter 11). Specifically use role
playing to rehearse how to handle invitations to "have a beer" or
"come party with us" (Method #2 in chapter 11; Method #1 in chapter
13). Practice handling tempting situations, e.g. when someone you are
with orders a drink. Practice repeatedly exposing yourself to a favorite
drink for 30 minutes without drinking any of it, learning you can
control this habit, and then throw it away (Sitharthan, Sitharthan,
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