Reversing the damage done by alcohol
When you stop drinking, you have probably done a lot of damage to yourself and the people around you. Is reversing the damage done by alcohol possible? Let’s start with the physical damage caused by your alcoholism. For example, you may have harmed your liver, pancreas, brain, digestion system and even increased your risk of cancer.
Reversing the physical damage
Even if you have done harm to your organs, the best chance of reversing the damage to them – or at least stopping there being further damage and stabilising them – is to stop drinking. The liver has remarkable powers of recovery. And even if it is fatty or scarred, it is possible to continue to live a normal and reasonably healthy life. So long as you stop drinking. Damage to the pancreas can normally be controlled through medication. The digestion system may make a complete recovery (eg if you have acid reflux). Or it may be that long term medication will be required if you now have a chronic condition. And the only way to minimise the risk of cancer is to stop drinking.
Mental harm caused by alcohol
Onto the mental harm you may have caused yourself – you have almost certainly destroyed many brain cells by your heavy drinking. However, you do have some spare and it may well be possible to make a full recovery in terms of your memory and sharpness of thinking. If you have caused long term harm such as developed Korsakov’s or so-called wet brain, (you are unlikely to be reading this if that is the case) then that level of brain damage is irreversible.
After stopping drinking you may still be left with depression and anxiety. which may be part why you drank so much in the first place, but which will also have been exacerbated by your alcoholism. The best way to deal with this is to get alcohol addiction treatment. To obtain the therapy you need to deal with your feelings of hopelessness. And to change your way of thinking such that you can live a happy and fulfilled life. You can also get a detox at an alcohol rehab clinic and be given the tools to keep you clean and sober. Even when you face difficult times in your life in the future.
Reversing the damage done to people
What about reversing the damage done to other people? You may have said unpleasant things to the people you care about. They may not trust you and it may well take a long time to earn this trust back. You may have lost your job. You may have got a criminal record or have an upcoming court case. All these ‘damages’ need to be addressed but they can be made good. You can make amends to the people you care about by saying sorry. They may be unwilling to listen having heard it many times before, of course.
The way to show you really are sorry is to change how you behave. And what you say to them in the future – keeping sober will be an integral part of this. You can get another job – which might ultimately turn out to be a better one. You need to face your court case and any punishment. And you can and will do this better as a sober person.
There may be some damages that cannot be reversed. Both in terms of physical health and in harms done to the people you love. It may well be that you have lost a relationship, for example. Whatever the case, the only way to minimise damage going forward, and to have the prospect of a happy and fulfilled life, is to stop drinking.
Read more on alcohol addiction treatment.