Alcohol Use During Pregnancy: 5 Steps to Self-Help Recovery
It is impossible to know exactly how much alcohol is safe to have during pregnancy, so it is advised that it is not consumed at all while pregnant. This may be especially difficult for those who are recovering from alcohol addiction. It is suggested for those in recovery to abstain from alcohol even when they are not concerned about becoming pregnant, so it is especially vital for those who are carrying a child to stay away from alcoholic beverages. The risk of relapse is always present and can easily be triggered. Additionally, alcohol consumption during pregnancy has the potential to permanently damage the baby‘s cells, so it is best to avoid it altogether. Below is a list of action steps you can take to aid in your own recovery.
Eliminate All Alcoholic Beverages
Determine if it is possible for you to quit “cold turkey”. Many times, those addicted to alcohol will develop symptoms of withdrawal. However, a positive pregnancy test is reason enough to quit overnight. If you are someone that is dependent on alcohol, you may find that simply being in the presence of it will trigger a desire to drink. Because of this potential trigger, choose to stay away from it altogether. If you are struggling with recovery from alcohol addiction and trying to get pregnant, it may be advised to hold off on getting pregnant until you are able to control your alcohol cravings and manage them successfully. While this may be challenging for some, it is vital to recognize why sobriety in pregnancy is important.
Some people find that they miss the action of drinking alcohol. To help relieve this desire, non-alcoholic wine or beer is readily available. However, if these non-alcoholic options make you want to have a “real” drink, opt for something that tastes less like the real thing. “Virgin” versions of popular frozen drinks still taste great without the alcohol, but beware of replacing alcohol with crazy amounts of added sugar. Try mixing half sparkling mineral water with half fruit juice. The mineral water helps your body stay hydrated, while the many sparkling fruit juice flavors are refreshing and light, allowing for the same bubbly sensation that champagne has. Introducing these alternative drinks into your routine can support the process of medical detox, a process in which toxins are expelled from the body. It is during this process that you have the opportunity to embrace a fresh start.
Find New Ways to Unwind and Relax
If you are accustomed to drinking alcohol in an effort to unwind after a difficult day (and the substitutes just are not helping), find new, healthy ways to relax. You might choose to do light physical activity, like yoga or light stretching, or something more indulgent, like soaking in a long bath with aromatherapy to stimulate the senses. You may find that this is the best time for you to read a book, catch up on a favorite TV show, or even do some light cleaning if that is relaxing to you. Whatever you choose to do, it should distract you from your desire to drink alcohol and shift the focus to more important things, like your health.
Look to Others for Inspiration
And not necessarily friends or family. Many people have been through situations similar to yours and have documented their journey. Their books include not only the struggles but the triumphs of overcoming alcohol addiction and embracing pregnancy. While there are many resources like these and TransitionsRecovery.com available online, find a hard copy of a book that’s inspiring for you. Having a physical book will allow you to immerse yourself in the words of the author, without the distraction of ads that can be found on blog posts and other websites. You might also opt to seek help from an organization like Alcoholics Anonymous, as they have many resources that will help with the transition into sobriety. Being part of a group supports the principle of being accountable for your actions, and it can provide you with a support system to help in the fight against relapsing.
Build Your Support System
Having a network of friends and family ready to support you is one of the most influential components of a successful recovery. This is usually just a handful of people that have been present in your life before and during the addiction. They have seen the sober you and can serve as a reminder of why you are on the path to recovery in the first place. These are the people that are by your side during the good times and the struggles. They will not let you fall back into the bad habit of drinking, especially now that your child is involved. You will need to be able to contact any one of these people in your support system when you are feeling good, bad, or confused because even positive feelings can lead to a relapse.
Recovering from alcohol addiction is a difficult road to travel, and it can be especially challenging during pregnancy. You will need to commit to new, healthy habits to successfully stay on the path to recovery while carrying your child. While medical intervention is not totally necessary in all cases, sometimes a medical detox and the support of a controlled environment that comes along with it is beneficial. Do remember though that not all tips and tricks work for everyone. When you find that something is not helping you succeed in staying sober, move on to another way of doing things, or try a combination of tactics. Never be afraid to ask for help, especially from those who you trust. They want both you and your baby to be happy and healthy.
Author: Sasha Brown
Sasha is a widely experienced content writer with a zeal for living naturally. As a Certified Herbalist and mother of two children, she can offer you simple solutions on how to achieve a healthier lifestyle. She is a founder of www.voxnature.com, and she also writes for howtonight.com magazine.