One common question from someone who’s just started alcohol addiction treatment or one who’s recently completed treatment is ‘Will I ever be able to drink again?’ To some, a causal drink with friends may seem doable, but for most, one small drink can put a recovering addict back on a spiraling path to alcoholism. In short, the answer to that question is no, and here’s why.
According to the National Institute of Health, alcohol and drug addiction is a chronic and relapsing disease that can have prolonged effects on the brain. Alcoholics tend to have an inability to limit their alcohol consumption and may be motivated by the desire to drink. They may continue drinking in spite of growing personal problems, and find they need more and more alcohol to get the same effect they once did.
Over time, alcoholism can cause a number of health problems including:
- High blood pressure
- Weakened immune system
- Memory problems
- Depression and anxiety
- Social problems
Changes During Recovery
During detox and recovery, health problems caused by alcohol abuse can be reduced and even subside. Quitting may lower your blood pressure and your cholesterol and reduce your chances of heart failure. Heavy drinking can take its toll on the liver and can lead to a variety of liver problems. Eliminating alcohol gives the liver a chance to repair and even regenerate itself. Quitting drinking may also boost your mood, help you lose weight and lower your cancer risk.
Abstinence vs. Moderation
It can take several weeks to several months to overcome alcohol addiction. The length of time depends on a number of factors, including how long an individual used and how heavily they drank. Recovery is a long process. Alcohol no longer controls your life. In fact, many people rarely think about drinking anymore, but at some point there may be situations that tempt one to drink, like an after work gathering.
When an alcoholic begins drinking again, all of the progress from rehabilitation is undone and their health will begin to deteriorate, likely faster than before. The cravings can come back, which leads to a downward spiral. While it may be tempting to have one drink, abstinence is typically the best option.
Benefits of Living a Sober Lifestyle
A sober lifestyle offers a wide range of benefits. Not only does it improve your physical health, but it can also help your social and family relationships. Alcohol isn’t needed to feel normal or to have fun. Money can be spent on more important things and you’ll be able to live without the feelings of shame and guilt.
If you or someone you love has been through alcohol detox and started drinking again, it may be time to ask for help. At Baystate Recovery Center, we follow a clinically infused 12-step treatment program that’s offered as a day program, an intensive outpatient program or basic outpatient treatment. For more information on which program might be right for you, contact one of our Baystate Recovery Center representatives today.