Preventing Relapse For Alcoholics In Early Recovery Requires Extra Vigilance

If simply making a decision to stop drinking was enough to treat alcoholism, treatment centers and 12 step programs would not exist. By the time a client reaches the point where he or she gets help, the decision about whether to drink has been taken away. The addiction is fully and completely in control.

Getting into treatment helps an alcoholic get sober, but the work of staying that way happens one day at a time. Recovery is not a place that a client ever gets to; rather, it is a state of being. There is no such thing as drinking “in moderation” for a recovering alcoholic, which means that the only acceptable level of alcohol consumption is zero.


Alcohol Treatment Programs Address Triggers

One of the features of Above It All long term treatment for alcoholism is the help and support to deal with triggers that may set off cravings to start drinking. These will be different for everyone, but may include:

  • Television commercials, ads or billboards featuring alcohol
  • Films or television programs depicting alcohol use
  • Being around people who are consuming alcohol
  • Driving or walking by a liquor store or bar
  • Listening to music with lyrics mentioning drinking (country music seems to feature this type of theme more often than other types)
  • Watching or reading news stories discussing health benefits of drinking wine in moderation

Recognizing these triggers and developing strategies to deal with them is part of the treatment program. For a person who is new to sobriety, the triggers can be particularly strong. A person in treatment needs to understand that he or she will experience cravings to pick up a drink and that something as simple as seeing a favorite glass, catching a whiff of alcohol, or thinking about a cold beer on a hot day may be enough to start an episode. Clients will leave the treatment program with a toolbox of strategies that they can use to head off a relapse before it starts.

One of the advantages of staying at an inpatient treatment center is being able to focus on getting well. Rather than immediately returning to “regular” life once the treatment is completed, sober living programs with Above it All give clients a time when they can live in a home-like setting. They can take the time they need to adjust to life in recovery, which is very often essential to them establishing successful long-term sobriety.