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Alcoholism: Long-Term Recovery and Transitioning

Alcoholism is one of the most prevalent forms of addiction. However, recovering from alcoholism can be complicated as a lot of people do not realize the severity of their dependency on alcohol. Alcohol use disorder can have adverse effects on your brain, which may explain how the need for alcohol addiction recovery may be harder for some people to admit to.

When you are able to come to terms with your substance abuse, you may express your desire to seek help — although you should not feel bad if you shift back and forth before committing to the different stages of alcohol recovery.

Despite there being a number of treatment medications and therapy options, the alcoholism recovery timeline looks different for everyone. There is no singular, linear path by which you are expected to follow. 

Alcoholism: Long-Term Recovery and Transitioning

Quick Facts About Alcohol Recovery

Looking at the bigger picture, here are some facts about alcohol recovery to deepen your understanding.  

  • Aftermath of alcohol recovery treatment: Around one-third of individuals who seek treatment for alcohol use disorder do not experience symptoms after a year. In some cases, several others significantly reduce their alcohol intake.
  • Average number of attempts before full recovery: Five attempts before a successful full recovery, with a median number of two.
  • Rehab success rates: Those who finish alcohol and drug detoxification have a combined rehab success rate of 68%.

Souce: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, NCBI

Maintaining Sobriety

Maintaining sobriety may be one of the hardest bridges to cross when seeking treatment for alcohol dependency. The temptation to fall back on old habits by having your mind play games with you may be even more challenging than mere abstinence. Both your body and mind become accustomed to your intake of the substance. 

Detoxing from alcohol can be a big adjustment due to withdrawal symptoms. Moreover, patients have to get used to new routines, people, and habits. All of this can be quite overwhelming to say the least, but maintaining sobriety can be achieved with commitment and a healthy support system.

Tips to Maintain Sobriety During Recovery

Because we understand the hurdles that come when maintaining sobriety as you go through the recovery process, here are some tips:

  • Know what your triggers are: Triggers can look different for everyone, so it’s important that you know what internal and external triggers spur thoughts about substance abuse. Awareness of these triggers can urge you to make an action plan to avoid them. 
  • Change your usual routines: There’s no harm in changing the way you’d usually do things, like avoiding spending time with people who you used to drink with, or your usual routines that facilitated your alcohol dependency. 
  • Be transparent with your support system: Support groups can help you feel like you are less alone in your recovery process. Make sure that you are transparent with all that you feel so they can help you make it through with healthy coping mechanisms.
  • Be aware of your warning signs: Relapses may happen throughout recovery, and you may not always be aware that they are going to happen. Know what your warning signs are so that you can avoid addictive patterns and compulsive behavior.
  • Try new experiences: Don’t be afraid to make new friends who can serve as positive influences, or to pick up a new hobby that you can incorporate into your routine.

Sober Activities to Participate In  

Seeing the light at the end of the tunnel during alcohol recovery may seem impossible, but there are a number of sober activities to participate in to get you by. 

You can consider joining a sports team, channeling your emotions through art, trying out a new exercise regimen, studying something you’ve always been interested in, or participating in volunteer programs or clubs, to name a few. What’s important is that you find something that fills up your time with positive energy.

Attending Events With Alcohol

Although you may have to actively avoid events that serve alcohol to resist temptation, attending these may be inevitable. Here are some tips in case this occurs:

  • Go to the event with a group of friends you feel comfortable and secure with.
  • Opt to hold onto a non-alcoholic beverage throughout the night.
  • Don’t hesitate to leave if you feel uncomfortable — you can plan this in advance so that you are prepared. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the frequently asked questions about alcohol recovery and transitioning:

How long after you stop drinking does your body heal?

It may take around one to two weeks for your body to experience full detox and healing effects from quitting alcohol.

What happens when you stop drinking alcohol for six months?

When you have been sober for 6 months, you will notice your physical and mental health restoring. You may observe that your appearance is improved, but aside from this, your liver will go back to functioning normally. While the initial effects of quitting alcohol may cause depression, after some time, you will see your vision and memory improve.

What is considered long term alcohol use?

For men, long term alcohol use consists of over four drinks a day. For women, it is considered over three drinks a day.

Having a support system throughout your recovery process is key to maintaining your sobriety. Knowing that so many people are on the same boat as you should help you understand that there is no shame in asking for help when you need it. 

For more guidance throughout your recovery from alcoholism, check out some of our articles here at Radical Rehab.

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