Alcohol Relapse: 5 Ways to Avoid the Common Recovery Killer

Easily accessible and acceptable for use in most social situations, alcohol is one of the most common causes of relapse for people in recovery. No other substance is available at most restaurants, offered openly at parties, and shared among clients and bosses over lunch. For that reason, if you are trying to stay sober, your focus during Alcohol Awareness Month is likely on how to manage living independently in recovery without relapsing with a drink.

Here are just a few things you can do to stay sober:

  1. Avoid hanging out in places where drinks are being served. Of course, bars or nightclubs are not a good place for you to be, especially in early recovery, but if you are struggling with staying sober, then it may be a good idea to avoid any venues that serve alcohol and/or trigger cravings. If you cannot avoid these locations entirely, make sure to have a sober friend with you even if it’s to go grocery shopping or walk into the corner store that sells alcohol.
  2. Do not reconnect with old friends who are still drinking. If you went to an inpatient drug rehab program or if you spent a great deal of time in an intensive outpatient program, you may miss your old friends and want to reconnect with them when treatment is over. Unfortunately, your friends who have continued drinking and using while you were getting treatment may expect you to fall in step with them, which can be stressful if not tempting. Additionally, if being around people who are drinking isn’t a trigger, the lack of connection with people you were once close to might be. In general, it’s best to focus on your friendships with people in recovery instead.
  3. Choose to live in a sober home. In order to feel safe and secure in recovery, it is a good idea to not only live in a home that is free from substances but also free from people who regularly drink and get high. If you do not feel you need to live in a sober living home, it is important that your home in recovery is shared with people who are actively living a clean and sober life themselves and in support of you doing the same.
  4. Let people know you are in recovery. Staying sober is just like committing to any goal; when you let your people know you are not drinking anymore, you increase the level of accountability you have and give people the heads up they need to support you rather than inadvertently offer you a drink the next time they see you.
  5. Stay actively involved in your recovery. Continue to see a therapist weekly. Continue to seek treatment for co-occurring mental health disorders. Connect with providers in your community that can offer you the holistic treatments that resonated with you during drug rehab. The more you stay actively engaged with your recovery, the more likely it is that you will be able to stay sober no matter what challenges arise.

How do you avoid alcohol relapse?