Alcohol Relapse and When Helping the Alcoholic Becomes Hurtful

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It is worthy of note to bring up something that family members who have been adversely affected by the alcoholism of another family member apparently do not understand. It appears that by shielding the alcoholic with falsehoods and dishonesty to those outside the family, these well-intentioned family members have actually created a circumstance that makes it easier for the alcohol addicted person to persevere and go forward with his or her negative, devastating way of living.

Clearly, rather than helping the alcohol dependent person and themselves, these family members have basically become enablers who have mistakenly helped worsen the drinking problems of the problem drinker even further.

The Probability of a Relapse is Real

Another key alcohol dependency issue concerns alcohol relapses. Relapses take place when an alcohol dependent person has fruitfully undergone alcohol addiction treatment and then resorts to drinking a number of weeks or months later. At first thought, this circumstance flies in the face of commonsensical thinking and looks so implausible that it forces a person to question why anyone who has experienced the horrors of alcoholism can return to drinking a short while after successful alcohol treatment and in turn after attaining recovery. There are, of course, many feasible reasons for this.

It should be noted, on the other hand that alcohol dependency research that has centered on the long standing consequences of alcoholism has revealed that long after the alcohol dependent person has stopped his or her drinking, critical changes in the way in which the alcohol addicted individual’s brain works are still present. As a consequence, all a recovering alcohol addicted person has to do to involve himself or herself in actions that correspond with the alterations that have come about in the brain is to begin drinking again.

The Need for An Important Lifestyle Change

There are even more reasons why more than a few recovering alcohol addicted persons return to drinking a few weeks or a few months after attaining sobriety. According to the alcohol addiction research literature, to make a successful recovery, the alcohol addicted person needs new ways of acting and thinking in order to deal more competently with tough alcohol-related circumstances that will take place.

Circumstances such as returning to the same alcohol addictive environment or to the same geographic location; interacting once again with friends from the time when the alcohol addicted person was drinking abusively; or familiar songs, smells, or activities—all of these circumstances can elicit memories that can prompt psychological tension or push hot buttons that influence the recovering alcoholic to engage in abusive drinking once again. Unfortunately, all of these situations may not only negate ongoing sobriety for the alcoholic but they can also result in relapse and therefore work against one’s alcohol recovery.

Summary

In an attempt to “protect” the family alcohol addicted individual, family members can actually cause unintentional harm by enabling the harmful drinking behavior of the alcohol addicted person.

The alcohol abuse research literature validates the fact that most individuals who effectively complete alcohol counseling experience at least one relapse. Alcohol dependent persons and their family members need to know this so that they do not get dejected or overwhelmed when a relapse happens.

Fortunately, involvement in support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and follow-up rehab and education have resulted in more successful, ongoing alcohol abuse and alcoholism therapeutic results, have helped reduce alcohol relapses, and have helped recovering alcohol addicted persons attain lasting sobriety.

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