Keeping Your Alcohol Recovery on Track
The number of people who suffer from an alcohol disorder at some point in their lives may be as high as 30% according to the National Institutes of Health. An epidemic of alcoholism may be sweeping the country, but if you are one of the lucky few who have recognized your alcohol dependency and received alcohol treatment for it, then you are on the road to owning your life again.
The path to sobriety will probably be a difficult one, marked by daily challenges and possible relapses. There are a number of ways to improve your chances of remaining sober. Some of these safeguards can be implemented on your own, while others will require some coordination with trusted sponsors and support partners.
Avoiding Stressful Situations
One of the classic triggers of relapses is stress. A particularly bad day at work or with your life partner may bring up feelings of hopelessness, anxiety or distress. If handled positively, these emotions can actually improve your chances of remaining sober. When you feel down or anxious, calling a support partner to help you get through the situation may help you to develop a sustainable coping mechanism.
On the other hand, the most effective way to deal with the temptation of alcohol after a bout with stress is to avoid known situations that cause it. If your professional career steers you towards these situations, you may wish to discuss possible reassignment with your boss, or even a change of careers. The same thing applies to personal relationships; if your partner inspires troubling feelings, you may need to develop strategies to head off those types of conflicts.
Negativity is an unsustainable approach to sobriety, so be sure to integrate a positive reward system into your recovery. If you reach milestones like a week or month without a relapse, then treat yourself to something special that will reinforce your behavior. A special dinner with friends or family may be good option, or you can buy that item you have desired. This positive reinforcement breaks up that continuous mantra of “Don’t drink” which is necessary but can be burdensome.
Remain Dedicated to Your Recovery System
You are not always going to want to go to your AA meeting, see your therapist, or have that lunch with your sponsor, but making a firm commitment to those support systems is a critical part of the recovery process. Prioritizing these alcohol treatment therapies in spite of your schedule or emotional condition will add structure to your life that can help keep your commitment to sobriety strong.
Learn the Stories of Other Alcoholics
The rate of relapse among alcoholics can be high, so there are plenty of cautionary tales of alcoholics who failed to manage their addictions. You may also wish to learn about the lives of successfully recovered alcoholics so that you can incorporate their strategies into your recovery. Many recovering alcoholics like to work with or get to know newcomers who are only beginning their road to sobriety. This helps show you how far you have come and provides a stark contrast to your present condition.
Don’t Give Up if You Have a Drink
One drink may not be the death knell of your recovery. Having a single drink may be only a minor hiccup, if you can avoid making it a habit again. Be honest with yourself and your support partners, admit your mistake and continue your recovery program.
Life Can Be Great Again
Alcohol dependency is not the end of your life. With a firm commitment to sobriety, the love and support of caring friends, and effective alcohol treatment strategies, you can put your alcoholism in the rearview mirror. The road to sobriety is not easy, but the rewards are so great that, even after only a few short months, you will be amazed at how great life has become again.