Can an Alcoholic Ever Drink Again?

Can an Alcoholic Ever Drink Again?

People in recovery often wonder at some point in their journey—can I ever drink again, or do I have to stay sober forever?

While some people may be able to drink in moderation again, some won’t, and that’s okay. The decision to drink or stay sober will depend on your history with alcohol, your progress in treatment, your mental health, and your long-term goals.

Keep reading to learn more about drinking after sobriety and how it may affect your future goals. Afterward, reach out to your doctor or a trusted sober companion before making a final decision.

Can Alcoholics Drink Again Safely?

Some people who’ve experienced problems with alcohol may be able to drink again, but most will not. This is because alcohol abuse alters your brain chemistry, making it difficult to control your drinking once you start.

Can Alcoholics Have One Drink?

For most people with a history of alcohol abuse, one drink is not advisable. While it may be easy to tell yourself you’ll just have one drink, even a small amount of alcohol can lead you back into the cycle of addiction.

If you’d truly like to incorporate alcohol into your life again, talk to a licensed clinician about it. Individuals who are healthy and stable in their goals and relationships may be able to slowly reintroduce alcohol back into their lives. However, drinking again should never be done on a whim. Always talk to a professional about your plans before you begin to drink.

Can Alcoholics Drink in Moderation?

While most treatment programs recommend complete abstinence (no alcohol whatsoever), harm reduction can be beneficial to some individuals, especially those who don’t have an alcohol addiction or alcohol use disorder (AUD).

Harm reduction recognizes that for some, it is either not necessary or not possible to quit drinking entirely. In place of quitting alcohol, harm reduction works to help people be more mindful about their drinking habits.

Typically, individuals will start by joining a Moderation Management (MM) program. This program requires at least 30 days of complete sobriety while individuals learn how to identify triggers, change drinking patterns, and create healthy behaviors to replace drinking.

How Long Should I Stay Sober?

Many people in recovery wonder how long it’s necessary to stay sober. Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to that question. How long you abstain from alcohol will depend on your history with alcohol as well as the intensity of your addiction. It will also depend on your mental state, your circumstances, and the recommendations of your doctor or therapist.

For example, individuals with a healthy relationship with alcohol may choose to go sober for just a week or a month.

People who drink heavily or who drink alone may choose to stop drinking for several months, a year, or longer, depending on their needs.

People who have a history of addiction and alcohol abuse will need to stay sober and not return to drinking at any point. This is because AUD affects the brain, making it nearly impossible to drink normally again.

Do I Have to Stay Sober Forever?

You don’t have to stay sober forever, but you should make decisions that are beneficial to your health and safety. If you know that your drinking has previously hurt your health, career, or relationships, it’s best to continue to stay sober.

While the task of staying sober forever may seem daunting, remember that you only have to take it one day at a time. Over time, and with professional help, you’ll adjust to this new lifestyle and come to enjoy all the benefits that sobriety provides.

Should I Start Drinking Again?

If you choose to start drinking again, you should have a plan in place for when and where drinking is acceptable, how much drinking is acceptable, and what you’ll do if you find yourself falling into unhealthy habits. This plan should be discussed with a certified clinician who has experience with alcohol abuse.

Most importantly, reintroducing alcohol into your life should not be taken lightly. If you find yourself craving alcohol, never allow yourself to decide in the moment.

Instead, wait until you can talk with someone about your feelings and create a plan for moving forward. In many cases, alcohol cravings or stress can tempt you into drinking again, even when staying sober is the better option.

The Consequences of Drinking Again After Sobriety

Drinking after achieving sobriety can have some serious consequences, and it’s essential to be aware of them. First of all, it can lead to a relapse, where you find yourself trapped in the same cycle of addiction you worked so hard to break.

This not only affects your physical health but also your mental and emotional well-being. Plus, the guilt and shame that often accompany a relapse can be overwhelming and make it even more challenging to get back on track.

Drinking again after sobriety can also strain your relationships with friends and family. Loved ones who’ve supported you through your journey to recovery may feel hurt, betrayed, or worried about your well-being. Remember that you’re not alone in this, and seeking help from a support network or therapist can make a world of difference.

Ultimately, the consequences of drinking after achieving sobriety can be far-reaching, impacting not only your life but your loved ones as well. It’s a reminder of the importance of staying committed to your recovery journey.

A Sober Companion Can Help You Keep Your Goals

If you’re looking for support for long-term recovery and maintaining sobriety, reach out to the compassionate team at Drew Horowitz & Associates.

We provide a variety of sober companion services and treatment referrals to help keep you on track. Call (800) 731-0854 for 24/7 support.

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