Alcoholism is a serious and often devitalizing disease. Without proper intervention, it could invariably grow worse and affect other members of your family as well. With the right preventive care and treatment approach, you can definitely help your loved one to conquer his or her dependence to alcohol and prevent any relapse in the future. 

What do I have to know about relapse? 

Unfortunately, in the process of recovering from alcohol dependence, there’s also the chance of going into a relapse or resuming the previous behavior after a period of abstinence. More often than not, people undergoing treatment for alcoholism experience relapse 90% of the time.

With any kind of substance dependence, it is inevitable that one’s body may feel withdrawal symptoms once intake is reduced or stopped. This process of relapse not only involves physical symptoms but psychological ones as well that can be detrimental to one’s recovery process and well-being. Although it may be common, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be prevented.

How to successfully prevent a relapse?  

There are many reasons that can trigger relapse but there are also tried and tested ways that can help you be successful in overcoming one. Moreover, unexpected setbacks are frequently part of one’s recovery process and the best way to handle it is to bounce back from it and take concrete action in to proect your sobriety. Some definite ways to handle relapse is through the following:

  • Follow your treatment plan
  • Go back to your alcohol rehab program if necessary
  • Undertake an alcohol detox program as needed
  • Create structure in your life
  • Manage symptoms constructively
  • Set realistic goals that you can abide to
  • Stop dwelling on past hurts and feelings of regret
  • Work your AA program as if your life depends on it because it does

Identifying the causes of relapse

 Some recognizable causes of relapse include elevated stress and acute withdrawal symptoms. When one’s stress is elevated, small things start building up and there’s a chance that the person can feel overwhelmed making them resort to alcohol. On the other hand, acute withdrawal symptoms may pose difficulties in both one’s mental and emotional faculties that can make them prone to stress.  Many people in AA will tell you that their relapse was always preceded by a feeling that they were in control. They stopped going to meetings, calling their sponsor, sponsoring others, praying daily.  This may have happened up to two years before the relapse happened.  Many also share about getting into unsuitable and often toxic relationships.  Alcohol is a cunning foe and will find its way back into your life any way it can.

Uncontrolled urgings and cravings may also play a role in the recurrence of one’s alcohol dependence as this kind of thinking espouses the thought that alcohol is the sole means to feel better. Moreover, unhealthy decisions can wreak havoc in one’s resolve to stay sober thereby experiencing difficulty in managing their emotions and urges.

Are you at risk for relapse? 

If you feel that you’re in danger of relapse, never hesitate to take an alternative action against it. Although relapse is commonly prevalent and inevitable in some cases, it is essentially preventable. Knowing the causes and dangers that can result in a relapse is the first step in preventing yourself from slipping into one. Furthermore, the most important thing when you find yourself in relapse is to recognize it and seek help. Do know that this is one journey you don’t have to face alone.





AmyAugust 27, 2012 at 12:18 pm

Alcoholism is a very serious disease. Someone who suffers from it is not lazy or undisciplined. But at the same time in order to heal from it, the sufferer needs to have the desire to heal and take the appropriate steps towards leading a good life. And at the same time support is absolutely crucial because an alcoholic who wants to get better cannot get better alone. Great educational post.


AmyAugust 27, 2012 at 12:18 pm

I agree with Holly. It is not someone’s fault if he or she has alcoholism but if he or she truly wants to have a shot at having a good and productive life, then treatment is essential and must be followed through properly.


AmyAugust 27, 2012 at 12:18 pm

I have a question I would like to ask. My husband used to drink a lot in the past years, but unfortunately this spring our daughter had a car accident and this was like a wake-up call for him. He was a great support for her, sitting every day in the hospital, not having access to alcohol. At the moment, he’s doing fine, but I’m afraid he might go into a relapse. Do you think it is possible? I’m not sure if the love for his daughter is enough to put and actual end to this disease.


AmyAugust 27, 2012 at 12:18 pm

Depression after alcohol treatment is inevitable. Before the addict is completely able to reach a sober life-style, frequent relapsing is common. All these are the results of neuro-chemical changes.


AmyAugust 27, 2012 at 12:18 pm

Kudos to anyone who is ready to get help in this situation. Make sure there is a lot of support around you as you cannot go through this alone no matter how motivated you are. Relapses do happen especially if something negative happens in your life. Be sure to be surrounded with support.


AmyAugust 27, 2012 at 12:18 pm

I agree! If an alcoholic is ready to get clean and sober, lots of help MUST be available because it is a scary time and a relapse is likely to happen at some point.


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