When alcoholics finally manage to recover, one of two things can happen. They stay abstinent and go on to live successful and healthier lives or they relapse.
According to an eight-year study consisting of 1,200 addicts, the chance of relapsing decreases after being abstinent for more than a year. Less than half of former alcoholics who hit the one-year mark will relapse. At five years, that statistic drops steeply to 15 percent.
Recovering alcoholics will always face triggers that tempt them to fall back into a vicious cycle of alcohol consumption. A trigger is a situation that justifies an individual to return back to their former alcohol-inducing behavior.
Here are four common triggers alcoholics may face during recovery:
1. New, uncertain territory
Once recovered, a former alcoholic will experience new, uncharted territory. They may feel healthier and happier, which is something they'll enjoy, but it can also be scary. After all, they've been used to functioning a certain way for a long time. While this new state of mind is positive, they may not know exactly how to handle it.
It's important for individuals to take the process slowly and continue receiving treatment to help them transition into their new, alcohol-free lifestyle. Unfortunately, because they often struggle to cope with their body and mind's sobering transformation, they relapse.
2. Unable to deal with stressful situations
Prior to recovery, individuals may have dealt with stressful situations by drinking. Now, without an easy way out, they find themselves struggling to handle these moments. While non-alcoholics may be able to easily step back and analyze a problem with poise, recovering alcoholics may find it difficult solve even the simplest issues without getting frustrated or angry — feelings that could potentially lead them back to drinking.
3. Becoming overconfident
Alcoholism is a disease that must be respected as such. Unfortunately, many individuals do not, resulting in relapse. They'll tout how they've finally realized how important sobriety is. They may even indicate how they're stronger than the disease. It's important to show humility during and after recovery.
Recovering alcoholics may find it hard to live a sober life. While they once turned to the bottle to help distract them from social problems, they now have to handle situations on their own. This struggle may become too much for them to handle and they can relapse.
Fairwinds Treatment Center, founded by Dr. M.K. (Khal) El-Yousef, specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of alcoholism, as well as an array of other addictions. For over 25 years we've used a dual diagnosis process to treat visible health issues with a patient, as well as the underlying causes for the disease. In doing so, we can better ensure patients don't relapse during their recovery.