When my kids were first sent home from school because of Covid, it was an adventure. We caught up with each other, bonded, went for long walks, and just enjoyed each other. It was like an unexpected vacation away from the grind, and we took full advantage of it. As the days turned to weeks. However, the fun turned to stress. Suddenly I was thrown into a world of math that I hadn’t seen since junior high school, and I was trying to juggle the class schedules of multiple children while still working and trying to keep up with a neverending messy house and bickering kids.
I didn’t go crazy buying out the store, but I stocked up on the basics and tried to ensure that we could last for extended periods away from the rest of the world. Early on in the pandemic, that included boxed wine, and surprisingly, I never did have more than one glass a night. By that, I mean I would tiptoe over to the box and top off my drink before I ever finished it, and voila! Still just that one glass. Imagine my surprise when the box was empty in a record amount of time, and I was foggy on a daily basis. “I’m coping,” I would tell myself. “It’s temporary and nothing to worry about,” I would think. But again, the weeks turned to months, and the initial binge turned into a daily routine. And I wasn’t alone.
A recent study showed that during the pandemic, in the U.S. alone, among 1540 participants, there was a 17% increase in alcohol consumption in 2020 compared to 2019. That includes a 17% increase in consumption among women. More alarmingly, it showed that the number of women who drank in large amounts – four or more drinks in two hours – increased by 41% last year. Why? Our lives were full of stress, from school closures to the loss of loved ones to a simple case of nothing else to do. But school is back in session for most, and social lives are recovering, so it’s time to get back to a healthier outlook on life and reverse the uptick in the number of people coping with life in an unhealthy manner.
How to Cut Back
If and when a person chooses to stop drinking, there are various options for them to pursue to improve their chance of success. They can elect to go it alone, feeling strong in their ability to say no to alcohol when faced with temptation. Some people can make this work. They say they’re done, and that’s it: they’re done. But that‘s not always the case when navigating a problem with alcohol consumption. I’ve tried this method before and have always started out well, but then I’ll have a nice dinner out and enjoy just one glass of wine. Then it’s a day of football and just a few beers. Then it’s back to old habits.
Some people elect to go to an inpatient rehab facility. While this option works well for many people, it can also be cost-prohibitive. Some inpatient rehabs can cost you as low as $6000 for a 30-day stay, but on average, well-known centers can cost up to $20,000 for a 30-day program. People requiring a 60- or 90-day program can face an average total of $12,000 to $60,000 for the total time spent in the rehab facility. If you have insurance, you can get assistance, but you’ll still need to account for deductibles and other out-of-pocket expenses. These numbers aren’t intended to discourage anyone from seeking treatment; they’re simply meant to show the realities of the situation. If this seems like inpatient care would be the option that will bring you the highest chance of success, what truly matters is that you’re doing what’s best for you.
There are also home-based treatment options that allow you to work with online alcohol support groups, receive online alcohol therapy, and even receive medication to stop drinking. This option is changing how people face their alcohol addiction and is increasing the chances of life-changing success for people across the world. It’s the option that I’ve seriously started to consider.
Monument: Changing the way we treat addiction
Monument was co-founded by an ordinary guy. He’s a father, a husband, and someone that realized he needed to stop drinking. He’s not unlike a lot of people around the country right now: he didn’t know if he really had a problem with alcohol, and he didn’t know if he fit the definition of an ‘alcoholic.’ Most importantly, he knew that something needed to change and that he couldn’t do it alone. He ran into the same issue that many people have found when seeking assistance: that most outpatient facilities have a waiting list, so you have to bide your time until you can get any sort of treatment. He started Monument to give people an option to get help without having to wait, and to find support with complete anonymity.
Monument is instrumental in helping people face alcohol addiction. It was founded on the principle that treatment isn’t one-size-fits-all: it needs to be unique for the people it helps. As co-founder Mike Russell puts it, “Monument is an online treatment platform for those looking to change their relationship with alcohol. Designed to support sobriety or moderation, Monument plans are personalized to members’ goals, lifestyles, and preferences.”
What does it offer?
With Monument, people can find the help they need in the comfort of their own homes. It offers therapist-moderated online groups that provide peer support and expert guidance. With that, you also get confidentiality. You can get the help you need without having to disclose your identity or go outside your comfort zone. You can even join without your camera or microphone on and participate via chat or just listen in. For me, that’s going to be key because I’m still trying to figure myself out, and it’s easier for me to do that privately.
You’ll also have access to medication to stop drinking. Health professionals have proven that medication is a powerful tool to achieve sobriety. Medication is optional for any program member, but it gives you the chance to see if it’s the right choice for your treatment journey. A popular medication option works by helping reduce alcohol cravings, so you can focus your energy on behavioral change.
Finally, you’ll get access to online alcohol therapy, which helps you manage your thoughts about alcohol, build healthier habits, and improve your overall mental health. Your therapist will use counseling methods to empower sustainable change, and your sessions are personalized to you and your individual needs.
Treatment Designed For You
Monument cares so much about your ability to find sustainable success that they offer a variety of plans to suit your needs. A free community membership includes access to over 40 therapist-moderated support groups per week and a 24/7 community forum. The Physician Care plan is only $9.99 a month plus an onboarding fee, and it gives you one physician appointment, unlimited access to chat with your physician, and the option to pursue alcohol medication.
If you feel like you’ll need a little more assistance, there are bi-weekly and weekly Total Care packages. These include unlimited online physician appointments, either 2 or 4 therapy appointments a month, and unlimited access to chat with your care team via Monument’s HIPAA-compliant platform. Those packages range from $149-$249 a month, though they are expanding their insurance coverage fast.
If you’ve come to the realization that you need to make a change when it comes to alcohol, you aren’t alone. You’re in the same boat as me and so many others. There are people around the world that are finding the need for a better path – one free of foggy brains and seemingly endless hangovers. Even if you don’t think you’re a hardcore alcoholic (I’m not) but you need a better relationship with your drinking (I definitely do), you’ll find that you’ll assistance can help you find success. As we come to the end of 2021, now is a great time to pursue self-improvement and a better future for yourself and your loved ones.