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Understanding Why You Relapse and Return To Drinking Alcohol

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Recently, you decided to take charge of your life and come to grips with the fact that you have an alcohol addiction. You reached out to professionals for treatment, detoxing, and learning how to properly manage your symptoms healthily. That said, you may occasionally find yourself slipping back into old habits and drinking again. Why does this happen?

First Things First 

One of the first things to learn is the road to recovery can become plagued with stumbles, missteps, and unintended detours. You are not the first person to relapse, and you most certainly won't be the last. People who don't struggle with alcohol dependence don't always understand the level of dedication, determination, and commitment necessary to keep from relapsing and move forward on the road of recovery and healthy living. With that in mind, hopefully, you'll be kinder to yourself when it comes to understanding why relapse happens. Now, let's dive into some of the possible reasons behind your relapse.   

Inadequate Support 

Proper support is a must when it comes to defeating alcohol addiction. Without it, you can find yourself free-falling, unable to find balance and solid ground. Even if your friends are there for you, they could still be ill-equipped to help you sustain your alcohol withdrawal coping methods. That's why you may want to use sober companions and an outpatient support group as your main sources of support. 

Day-to-Day Stress 


Just as you may have drunk in excess in response to stress, the same may apply now that you're trying to overcome your addiction. Stress can trigger a hard-wired responsive habit of drinking, and that habit can be hard to shake. It's best to identify your stress triggers and figure out what you can do to respond to them in a way that's healthy and productive and does not involve alcohol. 

Underlying Mental Health Issues 

Besides stress, you may also have undiagnosed mental health conditions that also led to your alcohol addiction. Rather than drinking in response to stress, you may have drunk in response to anxiety or depression. Now that you've taken the first steps to recovery, your undiagnosed clinical depression or anxiety could be causing your relapse. Sit down with a therapist to determine if you have any contributing mental health conditions making it difficult for you to keep up with your recovery. 

The Wrong Support Group or Program 

Not all support groups and programs are created equal. Rather than sticking to the first program or group you find, do some soul-searching. Does the group or program truly make you feel comfortable or supported? Does it check all the boxes you feel are necessary for you to make a complete recovery and stay sober? Does anything at all feel off or unsettling about the people in the group or program or people leading the program or group? There's nothing wrong with seeking out another support group or program. At the end of the day, you've got to do what's best for you. 

How Do You Know If You're in Danger of Relapsing?

Now that you have a better idea of why people often relapse, it's a good time to touch on some of the warning signs associated with relapsing. Knowing the signs helps get ahead of a relapse before it actually happens. Oddly, growing a bit too confident in your ability to remain sober can pave the way to a relapse, as can making poor decisions in your day-to-day life. Be careful of the changes you make regarding the people you spend time with, as they can dictate your chances of relapsing. 

Hopefully, you have a better understanding of relapsing and what you can do to get ahead of it. Be sure to keep these insights in mind on your recovery journey.