Alcoholism affects approximately six percent of adults in the U.S. and can turn into a lifelong addiction. The cycle of addiction can develop due to early exposure to alcohol and genetics. Fortunately, many people are able to seek help and take advantage of treatment facilities that are available to start the recovery process. Although many people have success completing inpatient and outpatient treatment programs, there’s always the risk of relapsing.
About 40 to 60% of people relapse in the first month and 85 percent of people relapse in the same year of receiving treatment. It’s also important to understand the number of people who are able to stay sober long-term and fully recover from alcoholism.
People Who Recover From Alcoholism
Studies show that approximately 36% of people suffering from alcoholism recover within the first year. However, 90% of people still relapse within the first year of becoming sober. There are many factors that influence the success of recovery, which includes obtaining support from an addiction specialist, gaining support from family members and friends, and enrolling in a treatment facility program.
This percentage increases the longer people are sober and are able to continue staying clean without relapsing. Those who are able to stay sober for at least five years are typically capable of maintaining their sobriety for the rest of their lives.
How to Reduce the Risk of Relapse
There are many resources and tools to be used to reduce the risk of relapse after becoming sober. One of the most effective ways to avoid returning to alcohol is to understand your triggers in advance. This can be determined by speaking with a professional to discuss what has caused the alcohol abuse to develop. Common triggers include spending time in certain locations, hanging out with the wrong people, and even times of celebration.
Some people may need to avoid certain settings or create boundaries with old friends who suffer from alcoholism. Obtaining support from a sponsor is also necessary to have accountability. If you begin to feel the need to have a drink, it’s important to immediately reach out for help. Give yourself at least 30 minutes to wait to have a drink to try and talk yourself out of the decision. Write down the reasons why you choose to stay sober and what you’ll lose if you relapse.
Taking it one day at a time is also important. Many people are often overwhelmed with the prospect of trying to remain sober forever, but it’s important to only focus on today to ensure you can stay in control of yourself. Attending AA meetings is also necessary to gain long-term support from other individuals who are also recovering from alcoholism. This can allow you to open up in a safe space and work towards each milestone of the recovery process.
What to Do if You Relapse
You may not plan to relapse, but there’s still a chance it can occur if you have a trigger. If you relapse, avoid isolating yourself and immediately reach out to help by contacting a sponsor or a family member. Avoid feeling guilty or being too hard on yourself. Understand the high risk of relapse involved during the recovery process and turn it into a learning lesson. Consider your accomplishments to ensure you understand you’re capable of returning to sobriety and not allowing the relapse to define you.
Consider what led up to your relapse to determine your triggers. You may have been stressed or dealing with a difficult situation. You may have also spent time with the wrong person. Knowing the causes of the relapse can help you to avoid the same mistakes in the future.
Returning to Rehab
After relapsing, it can be difficult to know if returning to rehab is necessary. Talk to a medical professional or specialist to discuss your sobriety and the progress you’ve made to determine if rehab can help you to stay clean long-term. You may need to detox and undergo a physical evaluation before considering entering another treatment program to seek help. In most cases, it means additional support is needed, even if it requires attending AA meetings or scheduling more sessions with a therapist. You can reach out to our team of professionals by calling 833-610-1174.