Have you been sober for a period of time, and are wondering if you can ease back into having a drink on special occasions? Or, perhaps, you believe you may have a drinking problem, but do not want to give up alcohol entirely? We all know drinking to excess is unhealthy, especially for those who have an addictive personality – but is the occasional glass of wine acceptable, if only reserved for rare evenings?
Before considering whether or not it is a safe option for you to drink in moderation, consider the following, and bring your thoughts to the attention of your sponsor if you are currently in recovery.
The Temptation of Moderate Drinking
It is easy to understand where the temptation to partake in a casual drink every now and then comes from. Office parties, dinners out, birthdays – it seems like everywhere we go, alcohol is being consumed in abundance.
However, it is important to remember that the majority of recovering addicts who attempt to socially drink end up relapsing back into their alcoholism. The small percentage of those who successfully move back into social drinking on occasion are normally considered to be “problem drinkers” rather than alcoholics. The three main categories of drinkers include:
Social drinkers – Individuals who drink in low-risk patterns. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, “low-risk drinking for females consists of no more than 7 drinks per week and no more than 3 drinks per sitting. For males, it consists of no more than 14 drinks per week and no more than 4 drinks per day.”
Problem drinkers – This group of individuals drink to the point where it affects certain aspects of their life. For example, a problem drinker may drink too much on occasion and miss class or work. However, they have not yet developed a full-blown dependence to alcohol yet.
Alcoholics – Alcoholics have both a physical and psychological addiction to alcohol and the effects associated with it. Alcoholics are frequently intoxicated, and continue abusing alcohol even after it has caused major problems in their life, such as being fired from a job or losing friendships and other relationships as a result of drinking.
In short, while problem drinkers should strongly consider practicing complete abstinence from alcohol in order to lead the best life they possibly can, alcoholics have the disease of alcoholism and must seek treatment to overcome this.
Can Recovering Alcoholics Ever Drink Again?
It is common to wonder, as a recovering alcoholic, if it is really that harmful to have a drink or two once in a while. After all, you have made it this far and have not slipped back into alcoholism, right?
The issue for recovering alcoholics is that they possess an addictive tendency. And while it may all be well and good to set out for the night telling yourself you will only have one drink, this is never a promise you can make to yourself before drinking. This is because as soon as you have a single drink, the brains chemical messengers inhibit the signals that control our processes, behaviors, and emotions. So, while you may truly believe you can handle one drink, after one drink your brain thinks differently.
While social drinkers, and maybe even problem drinkers, can decide that they do not wish to have a second, third, or fourth drink, an alcoholic will not be able to control this impulse. This is the reason why a slip often turns into a full blown relapse for recovering alcoholics.
You may believe that you are ready to return to social drinking after successfully staying sober for a length of time – but for majority of people who have a problem controlling the amount of alcohol they consume, this is simply not worth the risk. If you are a recovering addict and are having problems with temptation, the counselors at Destination Hope can help. Whether you are seeking professional help for the first time or are looking to get back into an aftercare program to aid in your recovery, we can provide you with quality behavioral health treatment through a variety of innovative approaches.