Is complete abstinence from all substances the only way to live life after addiction? Most of those in recovery ask that question at some point in their sobriety journey. It’s difficult for people who’ve become accustomed to using some type of substance every day to think about living the rest of their life without ever having a casual drink.
The goal of treatment is to help those with substance use disorders to stop using substances. They can then focus on staying clean and sober and reentering their everyday life. If you’re worried about the idea of sober living, call Serenity House Detox & Recovery Florida at 866.294.5306 for more information about treatment and recovery from alcohol addiction.
What Does Life After Addiction Mean?
Confusion about the term “addicted” is understandable. We have come to use the word to reference anything a person might get even a little obsessed with, including chocolate, a sports team, shoes, or a television show. However, real addiction is a serious life-threatening disease. In the U.S., experts estimate that 88,000 people die annually from alcohol-related causes. That makes alcohol the third leading preventable cause of death.
The American Society of Addiction Medicine defines addiction as a treatable, chronic medical disease that involves a complex combination of factors, such as:
- Brain circuits,
- Life experiences
The study of and the treatments for addictive behaviors is constantly evolving.
Currently, most experts in addiction medicine believe it is highly unlikely that recovered addicts who have been devoted to sober living or any place around the world could begin using alcohol in a “normal” fashion without triggering a full relapse. Controlled drinking or drug use rarely works for anyone who has struggled with addiction.
If you are in recovery and considering experimenting with casual substance use, ask yourself why you would be willing to take such a significant risk with your health. Consider all the work you put into breaking free of your substance use. If you are sober and struggling with mental or emotional issues, speak to a counselor or healthcare provider for support.
When Is It Appropriate for Recovered Addicts to Have a Drink?
There is no definitive way to predict if someone who has years of sober living behind them can use alcohol again without falling into a relapse. Almost every person in recovery claims to know someone who quit using and later discovered they could drink or use drugs in moderation. However, there’s no actual way to verify this type of anecdote. Is it true? Possibly. Possibly not.
In time, individuals could discover that their diagnosis of addiction was incorrect. Some people abuse or binge on substances in a way that looks very much like addiction but isn’t. Others with co-occurring conditions such as depression or anxiety could successfully address their mental health issues and find they no longer need to self-medicate with substances. Such a discovery could open the door to healthy alcohol use.
It is also possible that a person with only a mild or moderate dependency on alcohol could return to drinking within normal limits after treatment. However, the alcohol relapse rate is high. Unfortunately, by the time a person realizes they cannot handle casual use, it’s too late. The destructive cycle of addiction has already begun.
To further complicate the issue, brain imaging of heavy drinkers shows damage to the parts of the brain that would typically control drinking. It may be physically impossible for some to control their drinking due to this type of brain damage.
Seek Support at Serenity House Detox & Recovery Florida
Are you struggling with the realities of sober living? Are you questioning where you can ever go back to casual use? Call Serenity House Detox & Recovery Florida at 866.294.5306 for resources that can help you cope with the challenges of long-term recovery. Learn more about the joys of life after addiction and receive the support you need to maintain a lifetime of sobriety.