Relapsing into alcoholism may seem to spell disaster, but it doesn’t mean the end of your journey towards sobriety. If you’ve already relapsed, concentrate on moving forwards and frame it as a learning experience. As some experts suggest, relapse can be a powerful part of the recovery process, strengthening your commitment to staying sober for the long term. Respond to it properly, and it can be transformed from a negative into a constructive experience.
Read on to find out more about relapsing into alcoholism and how you can get your recovery back on track.
What is recovery and what is relapsing?
Experts know alcoholism as a chronic disease, similar to conditions like diabetes. This means that alcoholism can never be fully cured, but can only be managed. Recovery from alcoholism refers to any period of time when an alcoholic is currently sober. It takes consistent work and effort to stay in recovery, and the process may not look the same for everyone. It will typically necessitate professional treatment as well as aftercare and supportive programs like 12-step groups to help maintain sobriety. Recovering alcoholics should understand, however, that the process is not always perfect or linear.
A relapse in alcoholism can occur in many different forms. It may mean slipping up and having a drink, or it may be more of a process of gradually returning to former habits of drinking. Relapses are possible at any time, even after many years of sobriety or while in treatment. They are often accompanied by feelings of great shame or guilt, but it’s important to remember that relapsing is not a point of no return. While there is always the potential to relapse, there is also the potential to restart the process of recovery at any given moment.
What are the alcohol relapse rates and statistics?
In general, research shows that people who engage in treatment programs still have high rates of alcohol relapse. Less than 20% of people treated for alcoholism maintain sobriety for an entire year. But don’t be discouraged by this statistic, as the early phase of recovery is the most difficult, and the rates do drop over time. 60% of people who have been sober for two years stay sober, and the success rates get better and better the longer sobriety is sustained.
Essentially, the longer you stay alcohol-free, the more likely you are to have long-term success in your recovery. One wide-scale study of approximately 1200 addicts, conducted over eight years, substantiates this trend with hard evidence. Approximately a third of people who were sober for less than a year stayed sober. But of all the patients who hit a full year of sobriety, under half the tested population relapsed into alcoholism. And when five years of sobriety were reached, the chances of relapsing were as low as 15%.
So while relapse may be an ever-present threat, it becomes ever less likely the longer you stay sober. And even if you do relapse after a long period of sobriety, it isn’t a dead-end and you can always pick up the process of recovery once again. The struggle against alcoholism is highly taxing, and relapsing is not uncommon. The most important thing is to keep moving forwards. Learn from alcohol relapse statistics to further your own recovery. Identify and be on guard against your triggers. Be vigilant in avoiding relapse, but also know that recovery is still possible even after relapsing.
Home Detox provides specialist programs and services to support recovering alcoholics. Our counsellors and advisors are highly knowledgeable about the root causes of addiction and work to eliminate the risk of relapsing. We offer programs for a range of addictions to substances including alcohol, heroin, marijuana, prescription opiates, and more. For more information to empower you on your journey towards recovery from alcoholism, visit http://www.home-detox.co.uk/ or call our free helpline right now on 0333 444 0315.