More than 90 percent of people attempting to stay sober relapse at least once and 72 percent of those relapse multiple times. However, a relapse doesn't start with the first sip; it begins with the decision to take the first sip. There were warning signs that alcohol relapse prevention awareness could help in avoiding a relapse.
The first sip that leads to an alcohol relapse is linked to emotions, thoughts and behaviors. The best alcohol relapse prevention is to find a way to avoid, or to learn to deal with the things that lead to a decision to drink.
Stress is part of life and it always will be. Learning to handle it head on, without alcohol is the end goal. Mood swings, over reacting to stressful circumstances, and experiencing overwhelming emotions are all signs that your stress may be encouraging you to choose to drink. Denying the stress and pretending that you can handle it without appropriately dealing with it is also a sign that you need to address before it's too late.
Withdrawal symptoms from previous alcohol use can present themselves long after you stop drinking. Insomnia, depression, anxiety, and other emotions can elevate stress levels. Having a plan on how to deal with them before they reappear is good alcohol relapse prevention and could make the difference between a relapse and continued success in sobriety.
Engaging in reckless and impulsive behavior, changing your daily routine, avoiding social gatherings, and becoming unnecessarily defensive are all changes in behaviors that could promote a choice to drink. Learning to recognize and address the problem could prevent the relapse.
It's essential to understand that a sip of alcohol doesn't lead to a mysterious and uncontrollable loss of control. In fact, research has shown that the stronger peoples' belief in loss of control, the more likely they are to relapse. In other words, belief in loss of control can become a self-fulfilling prophesy.
It's hard to stop after one sip of alcohol, just as it's hard to stop after one potato chip or one delicious cookie. But eating the first chip or cookie doesn't inevitably lead to eating the next and the next after that. Although difficult, the decision either to stop or to continue enjoying the chips or cookies is always ours. The same is true of deciding either to stop or to continue drinking.