Addiction is a disease, and every victim “treats” it in a different way: with opiates, with cocaine, with alcohol. Each “treatment” ravages victims’ minds and bodies until they are able to get clean and sober through a program like The Right Step’s. However, alcohol addiction does differ from other substances in several key ways, and it’s important to recognize both the similarities and differences. How Alcohol is Different From Other Drugs Many drugs are illegal to use in any situation, and most require at least a doctor’s prescription. Alcohol, by contrast, is a relatively uncontrolled substance: once you reach 21 years of age you can purchase it freely. As such, it’s everywhere, and our culture glorifies and, sometimes, even rewards drinking in certain circumstances, such as parties, clubs, and sporting events. When an addict gets clean off of an illegal substance, it is possible to cut ties entirely with the sources and locations associated with that substance. Because of alcohol’s ubiquity, it’s nearly impossible for a recovering alcohol addict to completely avoid sources: he would have to never eat at another restaurant in his life! It requires incredible coping tools to stay sober, and The Right Step’s program helps establish and reinforce those tools. Additionally, alcohol detoxification (or, more accurately, alcohol withdrawal) is a potentially deadly process that requires medical supervision to be conducted safely. For more information on safe alcohol detox, please read this. How Alcohol is Similar As stated above, addiction is a disease and everyone chooses a different treatment. Alcohol is only one of many possibilities, and it’s especially common due to its general availability. Alcohol abuse and that of other substances can both wreak havoc on the body. Like other drugs, alcohol can inflict damage on the brain, heart, liver, and just about any other major organ. Another significant similarity between alcoholism and other addictions is that they may be identified by some of the same signs as any addiction: distinct changes in behavior, especially if those changes seem to revolve around access to alcohol-friendly situations; a change in friend set; a diminished sense of personal hygiene. It’s vital that friends and family trust their instincts and seek support if they are truly concerned. Remember: Helping someone overcome addiction is a gift of compassion. For more information on admission to The Right Step, please click here.