There is no denying that making the decision to go into treatment for addiction and starting your personal journey of alcohol recovery is never easy.
It doesn’t matter whether you have been in recovery for two months or four years.Unless you live in a society where alcohol is not only difficult and expensive to get hold of -but, on the contrary, positively frowned upon – then the risk of relapse is a very reasonable concern.
A relapse in your alcohol recovery can sometimes be a speed bump – a moment for you to take stock and reflect on what went wrong. The problem is many of the situations that threaten an addict’s recovery are so commonplace that it can be tough to spot the danger before it’s staring you in the face.
In this article you will find 5 typical ways to threaten your alcohol recovery and some simple actions you can take to avoid them happening to you.
1. You become a dry drunk
The day you decide to stop abusing your body with alcohol is both life changing and overwhelming. As you start your journey of alcohol recovery it’s not only your relationship with alcohol that has to change, but also, how you think and speak about alcohol too.
A stumbling block for many people in alcohol treatment or other drug rehabilitation programmes is thinking about their alcohol recovery almost like a “diet” –that is, a temporary change of habits that can be suspended as soon as the first “results” start to show.
If you’re serious about your alcohol recovery, there needs to be not only a level of ever-present honesty about the places your addiction took you to, but a firm resolve that you won’t go back to where you were. Don’t spend time reminiscing about the “good old days”(when you used to have a drink or 10) as it usually only triggers cravings.
2. You hang out with the same old crowd
The latter stages of addiction can be very solitary with people tending to isolate themselves as their drinking spirals out of control. However,for most people, drinking starts out as a very sociable activity and there’s atendency to have stronger bonds with people who drink as heavily as you do.
When you leave your alcohol treatment programme and start managing your alcohol recovery in the outside world, for the most part, this has to go hand-in-hand with changing the crowd you hang out with – especially if they are heavy drinkers.
Whilst it’s near impossible to avoid alcohol in some social settings, you do have the choice about which social settings you put yourself into. Making the decision to rid your life of all destabilising influences is often the hardest, yet most important part of alcohol recovery.
3. “Just this one”
Like with any habit that you have worked incredibly hard to change, the temptation to return to it is often for the simple reason that you like it!
One of the biggest errors in judgement people in alcohol recovery make is thinking that after 18 weeks and three days sober they are strong enough to have “just this one”.
Relapses that threaten to undo all the hard work you have just done often start with this “just this one” decision. If you’ve been to treatment to get support for your alcohol addiction you probably already know that in your case…one is too much and 1000 is never enough.
A good question to ask yourself when faced with this situation is whether one drink is worth undoing the months, possibly years of work you have invested in your alcohol recovery?
The answer to this question is always: no.
4. Non-alcoholic beverages that look, smell and sometimes even taste – alcoholic
It’s unlikely that non- alcoholic beverages masquerading as the real thing were ever really created for non-drinkers. It’s more likely that they were created for people who have already experienced problems with alcohol to have a way of feeling like their drinking- without actually drinking.
Alcohol recovery is not made any easier by pretending to drink when you’re not and ‘fake beer’ is marketed to people who really want to drink, but know they can’t.
Learn to enjoy other types of drinks such as fresh fruit smoothies and soda with fresh lime.
5. Not filling “the gap” where alcohol used to be
Drinking to the point where your life is out of control and you need support to get it back on track rarely happens overnight. It’s usually the result of months or years of bad habits and poor decisions.
Once you have finished treatment and are maintaining your alcohol recovery back at home, you may find there are huge gaps of time in your life which used to be given over to drinking. When you’re in alcohol treatment there is usually a time-table of scheduled activities, meetings, group working and other things that keep you busy from morning till evening. But once at home you may find yourself with a lot of time to spare, and idle time can be dangerous for the newly recovered alcoholic.
Finding positive activities that you enjoy and commit to will strengthen your alcohol recovery in lots of ways. And planning how you will fill that gap after you leave treatment – whilst you´re still in treatment – will leave you prepared to handle those idle moments in a more constructive way.
These 5 points are some of the typical ways people compromise their alcohol recovery despite their good intentions. However, the good news is, with some planning and awareness you can create a plan of action that helps you avoid these relapse triggers and maintain your sobriety in a long-lasting way.