Relapsing into alcoholism doesn’t mean that all your hard work towards sobriety has to go down the drain. While you should be highly vigilant about avoiding relapse, don’t despair if it’s already occurred. Understand that negative feelings of guilt and shame are not productive. Instead, turn your attention towards learning from the experience and working towards long term sobriety.
Keep reading to discover all the most crucial facts and statistics about relapses into alcoholism so that you don’t become just another unfortunate statistic.
What to understand about alcoholism:
One of the essential things to understand about alcoholism is that it’s a chronic disease. Think of it as a condition similar to diabetes. There is no final cure for alcoholism, but it is possible to manage it and find peace and stability in the long run. This state is known as recovery and refers to any time when sobriety is consistently maintained.
Sobriety is hard work that requires professional treatment to keep up in most cases. Recovering alcoholics are highly recommended to seek out counselling and support programmes to help them stay sober. However, recovery can be a complex route with many twists and turns, and relapsing can still occur at any time.
What it means to relapse:
Relapsing isn’t always as simple as a one-time mistake of having a drink. It can look like a much longer process of slowly slipping back into a habit of drinking. The potential to relapse is always present, even if you have been sober for many years or are undergoing treatment for addiction.
You may be aware of specific triggers that incline you towards relapse. These can be social, emotional, or environmental cues that elicit cravings for alcohol. They could be objects, people, place, or activities. Anything from your local bar or a friend that you used to imbibe with could stir up desires to drink again, and you should be on guard against any possible triggers.
What the research tells us about relapsing:
Evidence shows that recovering alcoholics undergoing treatment still have high rates of relapsing into alcoholism. It may seem discouraging to find out that less than 20% of those in treatment manage to stay sober for a whole year. But you should keep in mind that the early stages of recovery are always the hardest. As time in recovery lengthens, rates of relapse significantly drop. Of people who have stayed alcohol-free for two years, 60% stay that way.
A wealth of research shows that the longer you stay sober, the less likely you are to relapse. This is supported by a major study surveying 1200 alcoholics over the course of eight years; in this study, only a third of recovering alcoholics who had been sober for less than a year maintained sobriety. But half of all the recovering alcoholics with a year of sobriety under their belts managed to stay sober. And of those who had been sober for five years, the risk of relapsing was at a promisingly low 15%.
What to do to prevent a relapse into alcoholism:
If you suspect that you are relapsing, the most important thing you can do is to seek help. Confide in trusted family or friends to support you and connect you with the help you need. You should also get in touch with a therapist or addiction counsellor who can offer you professional support as you navigate the process of recovery. Together, you can take steps to actively prevent future relapses by identifying your triggers and making plans to avoid them. Recovery after relapsing is always possible.
Serenity Addiction Centre’s provides deeply empathetic care and support for anyone suffering from addiction. Many members of our staff are equipped with both a high standard of professional knowledge about addiction and first-hand experience with addiction. Our work is also informed by a deep understanding of anxiety, depression, self-harm, eating disorders, and other conditions that intersect with addiction. Visit https://www.rehabclinic.org.uk/ to learn more about what we do and how we can help you turn your life around.