It can be difficult for people who struggle with alcohol abuse to be around people who can stop at one drink. If you’re recovering from alcoholism, the ease at which others moderate their drinking can cause you to question your willpower. The more you expose yourself to these kinds of friends, the more likely you are to think, “Just one drink won’t hurt. If they can do it, so can I.” But is this true? Many of us have been in similar positions or states of mind, but it’s important to remember what you learned in recovery and not to give up. Our Clearbrook rehab shares more about moderation, abstinence from alcohol, and why one drink can hurt.
What Is Alcohol Addiction?
Otherwise referred to as alcoholism or alcohol use disorder, alcohol addiction refers to a severe and chronic pattern of heavy alcohol consumption that leads to significant distress and impairment. It’s characterized by a strong and uncontrollable craving for alcohol, an inability to control drinking, and continued consumption of alcohol despite negative consequences on one’s physical and mental health, relationships, job, and social life.
People with alcoholism often struggle to limit or stop their drinking, which may cause them to prioritize obtaining and consuming alcohol over other important things in their life. These individuals may also experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms whenever they try to cut back on or quit drinking.
Alcoholism is a serious condition that can have several repercussions on an individual’s life. If left untreated, alcohol addiction can lead to serious health problems, including liver disease, cardiovascular problems, and an increased risk of accidents and injuries.
Can an Alcoholic Drink in Moderation?
The theory of moderation, also known as the “moderation model,” is a concept in psychology and behavior that suggests that for some people, moderate or controlled use of a substance or behavior is sustainable. According to this theory, not everyone who engages in substance use or certain behaviors will develop severe addictions or experience negative consequences.
It instead believes that some individuals may be able to maintain balanced and moderate use without experiencing significant harm. This theory also recognizes that many factors can determine how moderate substance use can impact people. These factors may include genetic predisposition, environmental influences, social influences, personality traits, state of mental health, and coping mechanisms.
Even so, this theory doesn’t apply to everyone, which brings us to moderation in alcoholism recovery. For more alcoholics, drinking in moderation isn’t possible. Alcohol can lead to severe physical and psychological dependence, and for individuals who have struggled with uncontrollable drinking in the past, having “just one drink” can be the stepping stone for relapse.
On the other hand, some individuals in recovery from alcohol abuse can have a drink or two without falling back into their old habits. At the end of the day, it depends on the person.
With that said, as an inpatient drug rehab in Pennsylvania with years of experience in treating individuals for drug and alcohol addiction, we discourage moderate substance use in individuals who have struggled with addiction in the past. If this is something you struggle with, the experts at our facility can help you develop useful sobriety skills.
Signs of Relapse To Look Out For
Trying to convince yourself that having one drink is okay could be a sure path to relapse. This is just one of the many warning signs of relapse. Here are a few more ways you can be sure that a relapse is imminent:
You Begin Romanticizing About Using
Sometimes we can sit around and remember the “good old times” when we were using. When you find yourself in this spot, remind yourself of the consequences that occurred after the good times were over.
You Act Selfish, or Moody
This pattern is often referred to as being a “dry drunk,” meaning you begin acting like you are under the influence even though you are sober. Most alcoholics or addicts tend to overreact to the smallest of things. Frustration can be tough to deal with, and they want to have their way.
By learning to overcome the natural tendency to be selfish, you will be on your journey to a happier, sober life. If you begin to revert to these behaviors after you’ve made progress, you need to be careful about relapsing.
You Start Hanging Around Old Friends
This could start as just an excuse to check in on them. Some people even go as far as claiming they want to share recovery with them, but it is often dangerous either way. When you are seeking out old using or drinking buddies, you are walking on shaky ground. You will rarely bring them up, but they will most likely always bring you down.
You Stop Taking Steps to Remain Abstinent
This is one of the most common signs that relapse is coming. Recovering addicts or alcoholics who stop going to their regular meetings or make excuses are walking a thin line.
By attending your regular meetings and having a strong support group, you are preparing yourself for the rough times that could come. It keeps you grounded and reminds you of who you are.
The other possibility is that you may back off on the secondary measures that help to keep you sober. While you continue the meetings, your journaling may start slipping. The things that kept you centered and calm now seem unimportant, or you don’t have time for them.
When you don’t take care of all your health needs – emotional, spiritual, and physical – you are setting yourself up for relapse.
Alcoholics Can Become Defensive
A general characteristic of addicts or alcoholics is defensiveness. It starts by being defensive toward the accusations made about your abuse and quickly flows into all areas of your life. Whenever you get questioned about something, even small things, you have the chance of becoming defensive.
This stems from the feeling that you are being accused. The defensiveness becomes even larger when the thoughts about you are true. When you notice that you are becoming more defensive with those around you, it might be time to take a look at your relapse gauge.
Trouble With Emotions
Being on the path to recovery means that you have begun dealing with your feelings. These emotions need to be dealt with regularly for you to remain sober. Alcoholics or addicts will tend to get stuck on a certain feeling or deny that they are happening at all.
When you avoid talking about how you are feeling, or you act as if there is no feeling to address, you are in danger. This is especially true if you are feeling frustration, stress, or anger. It is very easy for alcoholics to get stuck in that emotion and not know how to get out. By continually practicing recognizing your emotions and working through them, you will be better prepared when you begin to get stuck.
Relapse can easily start with common misconceptions such as, “I can have one drink,” but they are rarely true. By staying close to the 12-step program and your support group, you will have a defense when this thought, and other relapse triggers occur in your life.
Contact Clearbrook Today
With 45 years of experience in treating substance abuse disorders, Clearbrook Treatment Centers can provide you with the necessary tools for lasting sobriety. By incorporating a medically supervised detox process with an abstinence-based model of therapy, you will have the opportunity to recover in an atmosphere that truly cares.