While local alcohol rehab centres can work wonders helping addicts move away from alcohol in the first place, long-term recovery and general well-being is a different story entirely. This is where the lifestyle choices, commitments and general attitude of the individual in question come into play – not to mention the help and support provided by friends and family members.
The simple fact of the matter is that there will always be a temptation and moments of weakness in the weeks, months and indeed years that follow successful treatment and rehabilitation. It’s how these moments of weakness are approached and handled that makes all the difference and it’s an area in which loved ones play a pivotally important role. Statistics show that relapse is actually considerably more common than most are aware of, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that it cannot be avoided entirely with the right approach.
It all comes down to proactivity and accepting the fact that you and those around you have perhaps more control over the situation than you realise. So when it comes to helping loved ones avoid relapse after successful treatment, the following tips could certainly make the process easier for all involved:
1 – Find Their Triggers
First of all, every recovering addict across the board will always have certain ‘triggers’ that encourage or prompt them to revert back to their old ways of behaving. In the case of a recovering alcoholic, some of the most common triggers of all include boredom, depression, loneliness, environments in which alcohol is readily available, hanging around with certain people and a wide variety of social situations in general. The simple fact of the matter is that the more a recovering alcoholic is exposed to any given triggers, the more likely they are to relapse. By contrast, if you manage to successfully keep them away from their triggers, you’ll be playing an enormous role contributing to their long-term success.
2 – Remove Temptation
Along the same lines and perhaps one of the most obvious tips of all, the needs of the recovering individual must be held above and beyond those of everyone else, which means biting the bullet and getting rid of all temptation. It is so much easier when there isn’t a single drop of alcohol in the house and considering how important the cause is, it’s not exactly an enormous request to ask of anyone. And of course, it really isn’t advisable to allow yourself to be seen by the individual in question while you are consuming alcohol – it really doesn’t convey the right message at all.
3 – Support Without Controlling
It’s often assumed that one of the best things anyone can do to help a recovering alcoholic is to essentially lock them in a room and take control of their lives, in order to ensure that they are literally unable to relapse. In reality however, this more often than not turns out to be quite simply the worst thing you can do as you are not teaching and encouraging the individual to take care of themselves and their own best interests. Instead, there is every likelihood that they will become increasingly dependent on you in various key areas of your life, meaning that as soon as you begin to withdraw heavy support, the likelihood of them relapsing will increase enormously.
4 – Keep Busy
As already mentioned, boredom tends to be a big trigger when it comes to determining which recovering alcoholics will relapse and which will remain alcohol free. Too much time and too little to do will inevitably lead a recovering alcoholic to consider returning to the bottle, simply to give them something to do. But while boredom will always be one of the most powerful and dangerous triggers of all, it also happens to be perhaps the easiest of all to beat. The reason being that doing anything at all is better than doing nothing, so be sure to play a role in assisting in this particular department.
5 – Expect Slipups
Last but not least, it is of the utmost importance to acknowledge the fact that there is a difference between a slight slip-up and a full-blown relapse. The difference being that while the latter constitutes a return to previous habits, behaviours and lifestyle choices, the former refers to a minor ‘bump’ in the road that can be overcome and can serve as a significant warning sign. The very worst thing you can do at the first sign of the slip-up is to completely and totally go to pieces and treat it as if it is the end of the world. Doing so will only make the individual in question feel as if they have failed, even though they haven’t, which could encourage them to give up entirely.