Alcoholism is a problem that doesn’t show itself right away. Drinking is considered a social activity in many cultures, thus exposing countless individuals with addictive personalities to a habit that can lead to illness, family crises, illicit behaviour, and potentially a painful and tragic death. In fact, according to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse, alcohol-related deaths are the third largest preventable cause of death. Facilities that specialise in rehabilitation and alcohol addiction are a popular way to treat individuals with alcoholism and their families. Unfortunately, because alcohol is legal and seems to be an ever-present element of social life, alcoholic relapse rates are as high as the relapse rates for addicts of the most powerful opiates.
Although it may seem hopeless, there are ways for a person to lower their odds of relapse. To get the most out of alcohol rehab, try focusing on these three tips for before, during, and after going into the program so that relapse can be easily avoided.
- Be Realistic about Your Goals.
You have entered rehab! Now what? It may be easy to claim that you never want to have a drink again, but the fact is that this will not always be the case. There will be moments, days, even weeks when all you will ever want is that drink. It is easy to feel overwhelmed by focusing on total sobriety as a goal. Combat these negative feelings by focusing on the small goals and triumphs instead. Make the bed. Finish reading the paper. Go for a walk. Focus on any small triumph that will help keep the mind on the positive and not allow it to dwell on the desire for alcohol. The human brain is hardwired to respond to positive reinforcement. By accomplishing several small goals in a day, patients are more likely to seek healthy coping mechanisms to deal with alcohol cravings.
- Fix the Cause, Not Just the Symptoms.
If any of the hundreds of country songs are right, people don’t drink because they are happy. Drowning sorrow with alcohol is a common problem. Inebriation can mask feelings of depression and anxiety, which explains its appeal to many. All too often, however, a patient will enter rehab to treat their alcoholism, become sober, and then almost immediately begin drinking again once the stresses of life return to them in the real world. Rehab clinics focus not only on the physical symptoms of addiction but also on the pain and anxiety that lead people to addiction in the first place. It is extremely important that while in recovery, addicts take advantage of behavioural health programs. Examining lifelong problems and unresolved feelings can be incredibly painful, but sobriety is much easier to maintain with the coping skills that therapy can provide. Many addicts often don’t realise that they are not truly alone, and group therapy can be the best way for addicts to find a support system of peers that can be worth keeping once out of rehab.
- Avoid Binge Drinkers.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but this is a hard rule for many to follow. Some alcoholics come from alcoholic families or have groups of friends they did hard drinking with before rehab. If they are not supportive of sobriety, life around them might be difficult for a recovering alcoholic. Cutting ties with binge drinkers may be the best way to stay sober, but before long a sober individual can feel isolated in the real world. Steer clear of heavy drinkers, but don’t become isolated. Many friends and loved ones will support your sobriety and refuse alcohol at social gatherings. There is also an ever-growing community of sober individuals to socialise with. Being supported is one of the largest elements of sobriety.