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Is Abstinence Forever Necessary In Recovery From Drug And Alcohol Addiction?

The word “abstinence” can be a terrifying one for many people recovering from drug addiction. Rehab and recovery can be scary words, too. You may wonder: Is abstinence forever necessary in my recovery from drug or alcohol addiction?

Rest assured that rehab, recovery, and abstinence are useful tools to to create your best self and are not scary after all. While completely cutting something out of your life may seem impossible, abstinence is a great way to start living a happy and healthy life.

Abstinence Versus Moderation

If you are attempting to regain your sobriety, you may be approaching that time where you start considering abstinence and moderation. Abstinence is the easiest, safest, and surest way to avoid relapse. Those who have developed an addiction or who have a strong propensity for addiction should stay away from drugs and alcohol altogether.

But what about moderation? Some studies have shown that some individuals may successfully choose to drink in moderation, depending on their circumstances. However, if you have had a history of abuse and addiction, the risk may be too great.

While many people recovering from addiction can moderate their use, there is a risk of relapse, which can seriously set you back on your recovery journey. Moderation can also be confusing: It can be hard to know just how much is too much, especially if you have a history of abuse. Remaining abstinent eliminates both that confusion and the risk of relapse.

A New Spectrum

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders used to think of alcohol abuse as a black-and-white issue: You either abused alcohol or you didn’t. This black-and-white approach was not helpful and today the DSM-5 includes a broader spectrum of abuse, addiction, and dependence.

In the past, it was viewed that only abstinence was the successful path for addiction. However, this idea is changing. Some people abuse alcohol for a short period of their lives. This could be due to poor coping skills or other circumstances. As a person matures and develops better coping mechanisms, their alcohol use alcohol decreases.

However, others realize that they need to stay away from alcohol completely. If you are unsure where on the spectrum you fall, ask your doctor or psychologist for help. However, you must be completely honest with them about your past use of alcohol. Staying abstinent is likely to be the healthiest choice, no matter where on the spectrum you may fall. Be sure to note that the spectrum is only in relation to alcohol use. This does not apply to drug abuse.

What If I Relapse?

After you have completed rehab, you may be worried about relapsing. This feeling is normal, so be sure to stay connected with an support group, like Narcotics Anonymous (NA) or Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Keeping in touch with a counselor, outpatient facility, or support group will help you stay on the track to sobriety and will support your choice to stay abstinent.

If you have relapsed, be sure to notify your doctor, counselor, or support group as soon as you can. Depending upon your circumstances, you may need to attend a different inpatient rehab facility. Perhaps you need more counseling and inpatient care because something has triggered your addiction and you need better coping skills.

Or maybe you need to try a different program. Each situation is unique. This is your journey, and if you relapse, recognize that no one is perfect. Seek professional help so you can get back on the path to sobriety and living a successful life.

Abstinence: A Goal Worthy Of Achieving

Abstinence may feel like too challenging of a goal, but tackling it head on is a major part of rehabilitation. Recovering from addiction needs to be a “full-life” process. Thinking that you will not accomplish something sets you up for a rocky road. If you think you can’t do it, you won’t. Thoughts are a powerful thing!

As Henry Ford once famously said, “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t—you’re right”. These are powerful words. Recovery starts with you thinking that you CAN do it. Abstinence is just another choice that you CAN do.

You CAN choose to be abstinent. Just take one day at a time, and soon, you’ll be on your way to living a happy and successful life drug or alcohol free. Abstinence is a goal worthy of achieving. You can do it if you put your mind to it.

We’re A Call Or A Click Away

If you are struggling with an addiction, reach out to us today at DrugRehab.org.Are you struggling from a drug or alcohol addiction or do you know someone who needs help? We are here for you. We’re just a simple call or click away. Contact us at DrugRehab.org. Start or continue your journey to sobriety right now.