Recovering from an illness such as alcoholism can be tough. For those who have relied on this toxic substance for a long time, giving it up completely can be difficult, especially when alcohol plays such a big part of society.
Having abstained from alcohol for a number of years and not experiencing cravings for a long time, you may be forgiven for thinking that you are cured. Some individuals become complacent at this stage and assume they no longer have to work at their sobriety. Some are even of the opinion that they could have an occasional alcoholic drink at a party or other type of social gathering.
Is Controlled Drinking a Possibility?
The reasoning around controlled drinking may sound logical to some, but sadly, controlled drinking rarely works for someone who has had an addiction to alcohol in the past. Just because you have not had a craving for alcohol for a while does not mean you are cured. There is no cure for alcoholism and addiction, and only through maintenance can you keep it at bay.
It is hard for some people to accept that they will never be able to enjoy a glass of wine or a beer with their friends. In truth, though, the best way to keep your life on the right track and to avoid falling back into the downward spiral of addiction is to abstain from alcohol for good.
Denial in Recovery
Denial is a major part of addiction, with many individuals refusing to accept that they have a problem. Nevertheless, denial can often return in recovery, especially when things seem to be going well. Many recovering alcoholics will start to think that maybe they never actually had a problem in the first place.
If recovery is going well, it is not uncommon for recovering alcoholics to start speculating about whether they actually ever did have an addiction. The affected person may begin to think that he/she should test this theory by having one alcoholic drink.
While possibly being able to control their drinking in the beginning, it is very likely that he/she will start to slip back into their old habits before long. This could mean that everything he or she has worked so hard to achieve would all have been for nothing. As difficult as it is to get sober the first time, it is far more difficult to motivate yourself to do it again. Many addicts who have a full blown relapse may never get the opportunity to get their life in order again.
As difficult as this may be to hear, you will need to work on your sobriety for the rest of your life. You must avoid returning to alcohol and assuming that it would be okay to do so. Statistics show that it is very rare for a recovering alcoholic to manage controlled drinking. It is far more likely that he or she will return to their old drinking ways, putting their health and wellbeing at risk once more.
Whether you have been in recovery for one year or twenty years, controlled drinking is unlikely to work. Addiction is an illness for which there is no cure. You must continue to work your programme and be vigilant to the triggers that could signal a return to addictive behaviour.
While cutting back on fellowship meetings is something that a lot of recovering alcoholics do after an extended period in recovery, the most successful recovering addicts never turn their backs on them completely. They know that these meetings can help to remind them of where they were and why they must continue to manage their sobriety for the rest of their lives.