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How to Overcome Temptations to Drink in Alcohol Recovery

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While the detox stage of alcohol recovery may seem like the most difficult of all, it’s the following weeks and months that present the most difficult challenges in recovery. Alcoholism comes with its own mindset and lifestyle, both of which persist well into the recovery process. These aftereffects can make temptations to drink especially difficult to bear.

Though challenging, people in alcohol recovery can maintain abstinence on a day-to-day basis. In effect, overcoming temptations to drink in alcohol recovery entails the use of coping strategies that replace addiction-based choices with the types of behaviors that support a sober lifestyle.

Alcohol Treatment & Recovery

Alcohol treatment programs equip a person with the tools needed to live alcohol-free lifestyles. Choosing to use these tools ultimately determines a person’s success in alcohol recovery.

According to the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, recovery becomes a process of change wherein a person works to maintain abstinence while developing a lifestyle that’s conducive to sober living. After completing alcohol treatment, a person must become accountable for the choices he or she makes from day to day as far as maintaining abstinence is concerned.

In effect, these choices are intertwined with most every major area of a person’s life, including work, family, health and relationships. In essence, temptations to drink in alcohol recovery will surface within most every major area of a person’s daily life.

Tools for Relapse Prevention


Attending AA meetings can help prevent a relapse.

Know the Stages of Relapse

Addiction’s long-term effects on a person’s psychological makeup account for why the risk of relapse remains long into the recovery process. Knowing the stages of relapse can help a person spot oncoming signs of a potential relapse.

In effect, relapse is a process that unfolds well before the actual event occurs. Along the way, stages of relapse start with the emotions, then progresses on into a person’s thinking patterns and eventually starts to disrupt his or her state of physical well-being.

Relapse Prevention Planning

When the temptation to drink crops up, knowing how to handle the situation is half the battle. According to the University of Washington, relapse prevention planning enables a person to be prepared for unexpected triggers that tap into drinking-based urges. The first step requires knowing what types of circumstances pose the greatest challenge to your recovery.

The second step entails listing out countermeasures to take when the urge to drink seems overwhelming. Countermeasures may take the form of:

  • Attending an AA meeting
  • Calling your sponsor
  • Taking up a hobby
  • Exercise
  • Journaling your thoughts and feelings
  • Meditation

Receiving needed behavioral treatment is also a crucial part of the alcohol recovery process. Attending both individual and group therapy sessions on a regular basis provides outlets for discussing the areas and situations that pose the greatest threat to your recovery. The support and guidance offered can make a tremendous difference on your outlook and overall motivation to maintain abstinence.

The Alcohol Recovery Process

Ultimately, alcohol recovery is about creating a lifestyle that supports ongoing sobriety. In effect, alcoholism comes with its own set of behaviors and routines, all of which work to support compulsive drinking behaviors. Likewise, overcoming temptations to drink requires a person to develop the types of behaviors, routines and attitudes that support ongoing success throughout the alcohol recovery process.

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