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Alcohol Addiction: Surviving a Relapse Following Alcohol Rehab

By: Carol Morriscey

Man drinking a glass of wine, having a relapse following alcohol addiction treatment and a period of sobriety.The Chronic Nature of Addiction and Relapses

Addiction is a chronic disease, and as a result relapse is always a possibility. Despite holistic and successful addiction treatment and even years of sobriety, nothing is guaranteed. Addiction causes long-term functional and structural changes in the brain, resulting in persistent changes in behaviour. Although alcohol rehab gives an individual struggling with alcohol addiction the opportunity to live a life of sobriety, it is not able to immediately reverse the effects of addiction on the brain. Indeed, over time the brain begins to heal itself, but this does not happen instantaneously. Thus, the risk of relapse remains even after successful alcohol addiction treatment.

How to Prevent a Relapse from Leading to Full-Blown Addiction

After all your hard work to achieve sobriety, a relapse can be scary. But it doesn’t need to result in a full-blown return to addiction. As mentioned, due to the chronic nature of addiction, a relapse is not an uncommon happening. Therefore, it is important to be prepared to respond quickly and effectively in order to prevent the re-emergence of addictive behaviours and full-blown alcohol addiction.

The first step in addressing a relapse is acknowledging it, and then forgiving yourself. Denial is dangerous when it comes to alcohol use and relapse, increasing the likelihood of continued drinking. The longer the relapse goes unacknowledged, the greater the risk of full-blown alcohol use and addiction. Therefore, acknowledging the relapse and recognizing it as a small bump, not total derailment from recovery, is crucial. Further, guilt from the relapse is often a trigger for continued use. Thus, understanding that relapse is a symptom of the disease of addiction and not a personal or moral failing is imperative. This will allow you to forgive yourself and move past the lapse, continuing to work toward a life of sobriety.

Man refusing drink of whiskey, not allowing an initial relapse to progress into full-blown addiction after alcohol addiction treatment and a period of sobriety.Another important step to ensuring your relapse doesn’t progress to prolonged alcohol use is changing your perspective, and how you view your relapse. If you view your relapse as a failure, impossible to recover from and the beginning of a return to full-blown alcohol addiction, it will be extremely difficult to recover. Instead, recognize that a relapse is a common symptom of addiction. Then, try to find the positive in the situation. What lessons have you learned from this experience and what triggers can you avoid next time?

Finally, although relapse is a symptom of addiction, it is not always easy to recover from alone. Searidge Foundation Alcohol Rehab is proud to offer refresher weekends to those who need a quick return to the serenity and safety of Searidge. We offer support and treatment during this weekend to help you sustain your sobriety.

Relapse is a symptom of addiction. Therefore, everyone in recovery should be both alert to the possibility, as well as prepared to address the relapse quickly and effectively. A life of sobriety is absolutely achievable with the holistic, evidence-based alcohol addiction treatment offered at Searidge Alcohol Rehab. Continued support, engagement in aftercare programs and the awareness of relapse will empower you to continue your life of sobriety.

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National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers International Security for Traumatic Stress Studies The Canadian Positive Psychology Association The Association for Addiction Professionals
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