The Dangers of Relapse and How to Avoid it

With the right help and assistance, there isn’t an alcohol problem in the world so advanced that it cannot be successfully addressed and treated by the professionals. According to the experts at, the UK’s expert counselling and rehabilitation infrastructure has never been stronger or more capable. But at the same time, research suggests that relapse rates remain worryingly high.

Why is this? Well, experts tend to agree that in many instances it comes down to those going through recovery programs having unrealistic expectations or expecting an outright cure. The simple fact of the matter being that when it comes to battling and beating any addiction, it can often be something of a lifelong process that involves constant and relentless self-discipline to avoid slipping back into old habits.

Of course, it’s perfectly normal for any recovering alcoholic to have the occasional stumble or slip-up, which doesn’t necessarily constitute the end of the world. Nevertheless, full-blown relapse is the kind of thing that can not only take things back to square one, but potentially make things even more difficult than they were the first time around.

Second Chances

There’s nothing more important when it comes to addiction recovery that the help and support of those around you. Nevertheless, it may prove difficult to convince those closest to you to once again invest their time, effort and trust in your recovery program, if the first attempt proved to be a failure. It might be that they lose faith, or it may simply come down to the fact that they are so crushed and defeated that they cannot go through the same once again.

A Bigger Challenge

Most experts agree that to relapse following or during treatment for alcoholism is to make things exponentially more difficult the next time around. The reason being that each and every time you relapse, you instinctively fall further into the belief that history will continue repeating itself time and time again. You may lose confidence in your ability to quit, you may start to consider yourself something of a lost cause and your motivation for making a recovery could be almost entirely destroyed.

Financial Implications

And then of course there are the financial implications of relapse, as if you are sent back to square one with your treatment program, this once again means somehow coming up with the required cash to fund it. Once again, friends and family willing to help you out the first time around may not be quite as easy to convince the second, third or fourth time around.

Avoiding Relapse

All of which paints a very clear picture with regard to exactly how dangerous relapse is and why it should and must be avoided at all costs. Suffice to say, this can be easier said than done for those going through extremely difficult times, though there are ways and means by which those concerned and their loved ones can be helped.

Here’s a quick look at just a few expert tips and guidelines for minimising the likelihood of relapse:

  1. First of all, it is critically important to identify the unique triggers of the individual in question – i.e. anything and everything that makes it more likely that they will relapse. It could be certain individuals they used to spend time with, certain activities, certain locations or really anything else across the board. Anything that represents a trigger should be kept out of reach at all times.
  2. The same also goes to temptation in general as the easier access to alcohol is, the more likely the individual in question is to succumb to temptation. This often means family and friends making allowances and perhaps even significant lifestyle changes, in order to keep the recovering addict as far from possible from temptation.
  3. One of the most universal and powerful relapse triggers of all is boredom. When a recovering addict of any kind find themselves in a situation where they have nothing to do and are growing weary, they may instinctively relapse simply as a means by which to quell the boredom.
  4. Looking after your health and generally getting in shape can be exceptionally effective in combating the withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting alcohol, while at the same time helping avoid boredom. It can be difficult to find the motivation to get up and active, but the rewards of doing so will always be enormous.
  5. Last but not least, it is important to avoid falling into the assumption that any slight slip-up here and there is the same as full-blown relapse. In reality, any slip-up that is both slight and temporary is something that can be easily walked away from and compensated for. To assume that a small slip-up represents outright disaster is to risk losing motivation and considering your addiction recovery a failure prematurely.


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