Five Potential Alcohol Abuse Relapse Triggers

Alcohol addiction is a powerful force. Alcoholism often occurs as a means of escaping stress, pressure or emotional pain. The habit of turning to alcohol to cope with daily life can become deeply ingrained, and, when recovering alcoholics are faced with any of the familiar issues that caused them to drink in the first place, it can be hard to avoid the temptation to fall back into old habits.

Why Do Alcoholics Relapse?

A variety of factors contribute to alcoholism and the proclivity to relapse. Factors that may induce relapse include the following:

  • Genetic predisposition to addiction. Genetics play a significant role in addiction to substances, as people with a family history of addiction are more prone to the disease and are also more likely to relapse.
  • Untreated psychological or emotional issues. People who receive treatment for alcoholism but not for the underlying issues are at risk of relapse when those issues invariably resurface.
  • Situational factors. Falling back into old habits, associating with drinking friends and spending time in drinking environments can tempt a person to relapse.
  • Leaving treatment early. An alcoholic may find it relatively easy not to drink in the secure, supportive and alcohol-free environment of rehab, The alcoholic in the first stage of recovery may think that he or she has been “cured” and doesn’t need to continue treatment, but once back in the “real world” with all of its pressures and opportunities to drink it can be very hard to remain sober.
  • Losing touch with a support network. Recovering alcoholics who have completed treatment may feel that they don’t need to continue with counseling or may simply fall out of the habit of attending counseling or support group meetings. Lack of ongoing support and encouragement from counselors, sponsors and fellow recovering alcoholics can leave a recovering alcoholic vulnerable to relapse.

Preventing or Coping with Relapse

Recovering alcoholics can live a full and rewarding life complete with social interaction, but they must be on guard to avoid the temptation to relapse. Ways to avoid relapse include the following:

  • If you have a genetic history of alcoholism, be extra vigilant against the possibility of relapse
  • Seek treatment for any unresolved psychological or emotional issues such as depression, bipolar disorder, past trauma or stress disorders
  • Complete your full treatment program
  • Take advantage of follow-up counseling and support groups, and stay in touch with sponsors and others who support your recovery
  • Make new friends, and find a social circle that does not involve drinking
  • If you do relapse, get help immediately

Treatment for Alcohol Abuse and Addiction

Problem drinking and alcohol addiction can be treated successfully. Professional treatment for alcoholism offers the best chance for a successful and lasting recovery. Professional counseling is also the most effective means of dealing with relapse and regaining sobriety. If you have relapsed and need counseling, if you are in recovery and would like follow-up counseling to help you maintain sobriety and avoid relapse, if you are and alcoholic in need of treatment or if you simply have questions about alcoholism, treatment or recovery, call our 24 hour toll-free helpline today.