person displays alcohol relapse prevention skills

How Do I Prevent Alcohol Relapse?

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Alcohol relapse prevention is possible. Many people have achieved their goal to stop drinking and live a life of recovery from addiction to alcohol. This is proof that it is possible to live a life without consuming alcohol.

Getting the right help and learning proper coping skills can help to ensure that the likelihood of alcohol relapse is lessened. Learning how to fight off cravings and cope with day-to-day stress can help someone fight off the urges to drink.

Alcohol Relapse Statistics

According to the peer-reviewed journal Addiction, those who have received proper care and treatment for alcohol addiction are more likely to achieve long-term remission of addiction than those who have not. Approximately 21% of those who stop drinking will experience a relapse at some point. However, this is not indicative of failure.

Addiction to alcohol is complicated and requires lifelong vigilance and continued support so that long-term remission can be achieved. Alcohol relapse prevention includes long-term support and vigilance to ensure that those who have struggled with alcohol can manage to stay sober long-term.

The statistics on relapse within 3 years are staggering. In the United States, of those who have sought recovery from alcohol addiction, about 9.6% will have had a relapse within the third year of recovery, and approximately 7.1% within their fifth. Why is this? Understanding signs of relapse and tips on alcohol relapse prevention can help ensure that a life of recovery is more attainable.

Alcohol Relapse Signs

The signs of alcohol relapse can be emotional, mental, or physical. It happens in stages. Those who have been in recovery for longer periods of time or who have themselves experienced a relapse can attest to the stages of alcohol relapse. These stages include emotional relapse, mental relapse, and physical relapse. 

Emotional Relapse

At this stage, those who have been seeking recovery from addiction to alcohol generally have no intention of drinking again. However, the emotional signs associated with addiction become prevalent, and some behaviors may come to the forefront. This can include poor self-care, lack of expressing emotions, isolation, lack of 12-step or support group attendance or participation, and focusing on other people’s needs rather than their own. 

Mental Relapse

At this stage of relapse, an individual has begun to think about using alcohol again. They generally are at a crossroads where they are struggling with themselves on whether they are going to pick up a drink or not. It becomes increasingly more difficult to fight the urges to drink or focus on anything other than drinking.

Cravings to use alcohol, idealizing past use of alcohol, and minimizing the consequences of alcohol consumption are all signs of mental relapse.

Physical Relapse

This is the stage at which a person begins to physically start drinking again. They may feel as though they can control their drinking or prevent negative consequences from occurring, however, in time their drinking habits will probably increase and there could be some major consequences that occur.

For those who struggle with alcohol, uncontrollable drinking is inevitable and eventually, the issues surrounding alcohol will resurface. Alcohol relapse prevention is possible, and learning how to fight off the urges can help ensure long-term recovery.

Preventing Alcohol Relapse

Alcohol relapse prevention begins with a relapse prevention plan. During treatment for alcohol addiction, a person will generally set this plan up prior to completion. It can include a plan to continue one on one therapy, attend 12-step or other support groups, and treatment of any co-occurring mental health conditions.

Having the skills, strategies, and resources necessary for life in recovery will ensure that alcohol relapse prevention is attainable and a person can maintain their recovery long after completing a treatment plan.  

How Detox Helps

Detox is a process in which substances are removed from a person’s system. It is an uncomfortable and unpleasant experience, and those who endure it can attest to the fact that professional detox can be much more comfortable and successful than going cold turkey at home.

Proper care as alcohol consumption ends can be a catalyst to living a long-term lifestyle of recovery from alcohol addiction. Those who try to stop drinking on their own often begin drinking again as a means of medicating the symptoms of withdrawal that have become too uncomfortable to bear.

Withdrawal symptoms often include restlessness, nausea, shaking, diarrhea, and vomiting. Detox helps to prevent these symptoms, and makes the process of detox more comfortable.

Healing Helps Prevent Relapse

Addiction to alcohol can be life-altering. It can cause changes in a person and their day-to-day life that can be difficult to rectify. The consequences of addiction to alcohol can be damaging. However, recovery is possible. A life without alcohol can be achieved and life can return to normal.

If you or a loved one are struggling, Ocean Hills can help. We offer comprehensive care to help teach those who need it the skills necessary to help combat addiction to alcohol. Call us today and begin the healing process.

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