7 Alcohol Addiction Recovery Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
Between 40% and 60% of addicts could relapse without a plan after their addiction treatment. Recovery long-term is possible. However, you’ll need to gather the right tools before, during, and after the process to set yourself up for success.
Here are seven alcohol addiction recovery mistakes you should work to avoid as part of your addiction recovery process. Recognizing these mistakes can help you determine the best way to navigate these obstacles.
Maintain your sobriety long-term. Read on to discover the mistakes you’ll need to avoid on your road to recovery.
1. Doing Everything Alone
You don’t have to navigate your addiction recovery process alone. While the road to sobriety isn’t always easy, having a support system can make the process a little less stressful.
If you’re struggling with an addiction to alcohol, consider going to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. You can talk to people who were once in your shoes. Their perspective could help you find new coping mechanisms.
Otherwise, you might want to talk to a counselor or therapist.
Working with others will help you make real, positive changes in your life. You can find guides who can keep you focused on your sobriety. With help, you can avoid the rest of these alcohol addiction recovery mistakes.
Signs of a Potential Relapse
Your friends and family members might recognize the signs you’re close to relapsing before you do. Relapses usually occur in three distinct phases: emotional, mental, and physical relapses. Signs of an emotional relapse can include:
- Poor self-care
- Mood swings
- Not engaging in sober fun
- Not using coping mechanisms
- Unhealthy eating habits
- Poor sleep schedule
- Not going to meetings
- Not participating at meetings
- Holding onto thoughts and feelings
- Avoiding problems
An emotional relapse occurs when you’re not actively thinking about drinking. Rather, certain emotions and behaviors can get worse before leading to a relapse.
If you experience these emotional warning signs, consider journaling. Recognize the behaviors that indicate a problem. Then, you can work with a friend or peer to overcome those obstacles.
The second stage is a mental relapse. You might:
- Experience cravings
- Fantasize about drinking
- Think you can control your drinking
- Plan a physical relapse
- Minimize the consequences of using
- Bargain that sometimes it’s “okay” to drink
If you experience these warning signs, you’re at a higher risk of a physical relapse. Consider talking to a trusted peer. Otherwise, use relaxation techniques to keep yourself from relapsing.
The third stage is a physical relapse; when you actively start drinking again.
Relapsing doesn’t mean you failed. Rather, it means you need to reevaluate your behaviors and coping mechanisms.
2. Ignoring Your Mental Health
About 20% of Americans who have anxiety or a mood disorder (like depression) also have a substance use disorder. In fact, 9.5 million American adults have a dual diagnosis of substance abuse and mental illness. Ignoring a mental health condition could impact your ability to maintain long-term sobriety.
Treating your mental health condition is just as important as treating your addiction to alcohol. Otherwise, one could contribute to the other, eventually leading to a relapse.
Look for alcohol addiction treatment options that treat co-occurring disorders. These treatment centers can help improve your mental and physical health.
3. Expecting Immediate Results
Though everyone wants to see immediate results during the alcohol addiction recovery process, it’s not realistic. As you work to avoid the rest of these mistakes, try to maintain realistic expectations about your progress. Otherwise, you could struggle to remain motivated.
Working through the goal of long-term sobriety is a process. It can take time to fully heal from a substance abuse disorder. You also need time to form new, lasting habits in place of your old ones (like drinking on a daily basis).
If you want to experience real, lasting change, take it one day (and one step) at a time. Be patient with yourself.
4. Not Recognizing Triggers
Recognizing your triggers can help you learn how to navigate them. Otherwise, encountering these triggers while sober could lead to a relapse.
Triggers might include:
- Certain places (haunts where you used to drink)
- Toxic people and relationships
- Seeing a bottle of alcohol
- Watching sporting events
- Anniversaries or important events
- Certain moods or mindsets
You can’t always avoid your triggers, but you can learn how to navigate them.
Develop a plan for responding to your triggers. For example, you might consider attending a meeting or calling a mental health professional. Maybe you can exercise or focus on the consequences of relapsing instead.
Have a plan in place to avoid relapsing.
5. Hanging With the Same People
Remember, certain places and people could trigger a relapse. Try to avoid toxic friendships or old associates you used to drink with. Otherwise, they might enable bad behaviors.
They could trigger you to start drinking again.
Remember, this is a chance to make positive changes in your life. Instead of hanging with past associates, turn to your support system. They can help minimize feelings of loneliness, which can also act as a trigger.
6. Comparing Your Results
Everyone works through the process of recovery at their own pace. Don’t make the mistake of comparing your progress with someone else’s.
Instead, learn from the other people around you. You can learn from their mistakes to the benefit of your own recovery process.
Otherwise, comparing yourself to someone else could cause you to struggle with your own journey.
7. Believing You’re Cured
You’re not cured after alcohol addiction treatment. Remember, recovery is an ongoing process. No one is ever completely cured of addiction.
Rather, addiction is a disease you’ll need to manage for the rest of your life.
Set for Success: Avoid These Alcohol Addiction Recovery Mistakes
As you begin on your road to recovery, work to avoid these alcohol addiction recovery mistakes. Instead, develop a plan to set yourself up for success. Learning how to avoid these issues could help you maintain long-term recovery.
Remember, you’re not alone on this journey. Surround yourself with support.
Contact us today to learn how we can help.