Drinking alcohol is a common activity in American culture. It is often associated with having a good time, enjoying a relaxing weekend and celebrating the successes in life. However, addiction to alcohol is a serious issue that demands serious attention. In 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported over 15,000 alcoholic liver disease deaths and over 25,000 alcohol-related deaths, including accidents and homicides.
Alcohol addiction recovery is a lifelong journey, and relapse is possible for anyone. There are many dangerous consequences associated with alcohol relapse because of the body’s lower tolerance level after rehab and treatment. In addition, a person may become addicted to a different drug or become addicted to another drug in addition to alcohol. The dangers involved in relapse underscore the importance of guarding against relapse.
Preventing Alcohol Relapse
While a person can move forward beyond relapse, preventing relapse in the first place is the best strategy to ensure continued sobriety. Ways to prevent relapse include the following:
- Don’t hang around friends who use alcohol or places that promote alcohol use.
- Continue to attend meetings and ask for help.
- Don’t keep alcohol around the house for any reason.
- Continue to follow a treatment plan, including therapy, meetings and doctor’s appointments.
- Pay attention to warning signs and triggers.
- Deal with personal issues and other problems of daily living instead of ignoring them.
- Continue to take medications as prescribed by doctors.
- Recognize stressful situations that may cause temptation to use alcohol again.
Even when trying to prevent relapse, not everyone is successful in remaining sober. Relapse is possible. When relapse occurs, it is important to take steps to get back on the path to sobriety.
When Alcohol Relapse Occurs
When an addict relapses into alcohol use again, he or she has the choice to learn from the relapse or allow the mistake to completely derail recovery. The following actions should be taken after relapse occurs:
- Act immediately. Get into a sober, safe environment.
- Get back into aftercare with renewed commitment. Go to meetings, attend a support group and meet with a therapist.
- Rewrite your relapse prevention plan. Evaluate why you slipped and use that information to strengthen your new prevention plan.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself and don’t give up on your recovery journey. Statistics from the National Institute of Drug Abuse indicate that between 40 to 60 percent of recovering addicts relapse at some point.
Relapse does not have to determine future sobriety. You can learn from your mistakes and act differently in the future.
How Can I Get Help for Alcohol Dependence or Relapse?
If you or someone you love shows signs of alcohol dependence, seek professional help immediately. We are here to help 24 hours a day. You can call our toll-free number, and our counselors will listen to your story, answer your questions and get you started on the road to recovery. You do not have to remain addicted to alcohol, so call us today.