People go to rehab for many different kinds of substance abuse. Alcohol is one of the most common ones, which is disturbing because it is also one of the only things people go to rehab for that is legal. Unlike other substances, alcohol is widely accepted and even expected in our culture. For this reason, alcohol relapse is exceptionally hard to avoid but it can be done with the right amount of dedication.
Alcohol abuse contributes to an outrageously high number of casualties each year. In the United States alone, each year from 2006-2010, alcohol use contributed to almost 90,000 deaths. That is in just one year! With numbers like that, it is hard to comprehend that alcohol use is literally every place you look. Go out to dinner with your family and you are bound to be surrounded by people who are drinking. Any celebration usually calls for making a toast. Football games, graduations, birthdays, happy hour – people have come up with pretty much every reason to drink.
Many people can handle their drinking, there is no doubt about it. However, there are plenty who cannot. And, because it is readily available, it is easy to give in to the urge to drink, because temptation is always right there.
The Dangers of Alcohol Relapse
Of the thousands of people who drink, many can handle it and never even wake up with a hangover. Others fall into a slippery downward spiral filled with alcohol-related illness, blackouts, accidents, and injuries. It isn’t a pleasant place to be.
When a person drinks excessively, it is easy for others to judge them and not understand why they can’t just take it easy. It isn’t taken as seriously as a heroin addiction or cocaine addiction. So, when a person goes to rehab for alcohol, loved ones and friends may not know how to act around them once they are out. Because of the social acceptance of alcohol, they may not realize how dangerous it could be for that person to have an alcohol relapse.
Once out of rehab, alcohol is one of the most difficult substances to avoid. Unlike street drugs like heroin, alcohol is readily available and even being marketed to people on a daily basis. You can’t go to your local convenience store and find bags of cocaine, but beer and wine – sure!
When a person relapses on alcohol, it brings with it a strong sense of shame and guilt, which can lead to secretive drinking. Because it is so widely available and inexpensive, a person can start drinking excessively and be back where they used to be in no time. Like with any substance, the amount of alcohol it takes to get drunk will have dropped after being in rehab, so the person will have a much higher chance of alcohol poisoning when they binge drink. This has been known to cause sudden death in many people who had no idea they were messing around with something so dangerous.
How to Avoid an Alcohol Relapse
Clearly, avoiding alcohol altogether would be nearly impossible, no matter where you live. However, there are still ways to ensure that you don’t pick up a drink, even when the opportunity presents itself.
Early in sobriety, take care not to go to bars or restaurants that serve alcohol. By avoiding it, you’ll get desensitized, and you can eventually start going back to places when you feel stronger. Get to know yourself sober and have complete confidence in that person. There is no shame in telling someone you don’t want a drink, and they have no business to press on and encourage you to have one even after you say no. If they do so, they probably aren’t a good person to have in your life.
Make sure you have a good support system around you: friends who understand your sobriety, and other people who are in recovery. It is a good idea to have a therapist to speak to and give you clinical advice on how to approach situations as a newly sober individual. And, finally, 12-step meetings can help as a reminder of how far you have come, and the wonderful community of people who usually come together in those meetings. If you need help getting sober or treatment to deal with an alcohol relapse, call Willow Place for Women today at 1-888-651-4212.