Soberlink Blog

Discussing the sober truth of alcohol, recovery, and aftercare monitoring

The Disease of Alcoholism

When an individual receives the initial diagnosis of cancer, they continue seeing their doctor for visits even after treatment has been completed. The chronic disease of alcohol addiction should be treated in a similar fashion. The disease of alcoholism encompasses all the signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse. It also includes a physical dependence on alcohol. Over time the body and the brain adjust to the steady intake of alcohol, so it is not uncommon for those with an addiction to need alcohol to function on a daily basis.

To overcome an addiction, the choice to enter treatment is only the beginning. The real work starts after completing treatment. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, about 90 percent relapse within four years of completing treatment.[1]

The completion of addiction treatment is a major accomplishment. After treatment adjusting back into mainstream society can be difficult. Aftercare is designed to bridge this transition. Typically aftercare programs include meetings, counseling, mentoring and some sort of sobriety testing. Sobriety can be difficult to sustain when old friends, places or situations that can cause stress. Aftercare provides resources to help individuals implement the copping tactics they learned while in treatment.

Adjusting to Life After Rehab

Graduating from a rehab program is an enormous accomplishment for which you should be very proud. Successfully completing a treatment program shows that you are committed to fighting your addiction. It’s important to remember that the work required to live a sober life doesn’t stop when you leave a rehab facility. Now is your chance to apply the things you learned to your day-to-day life.

You have an opportunity to really change your life. Maintaining positive changes from rehab will take proactive effort and reinforcement. To avoid the trappings of your former addictive habits, and bolster your new healthy lifestyle, have the following supports in place:

A Network of Sober People

Sober contacts can be your most valuable tools during recovery and they can also become lifelong friends. You should be able to call these people if you’re struggling with cravings, or if you just need to talk. Staying sober can seem lonely at first but there is a vibrant recovery community at your fingertips. Pick up the phone and call a sober contact. A good place to start such a network, if you haven’t already created one with others in treatment, is to attend peer support meetings like Al-Anon.

You Are Not Alone in Your Addiction

When you hear the word “alcoholic” what do you think of?

Those who have little experience with substance abuse will likely picture a drunk living on the street or passed out in an alleyway. It’s rare that alcoholics fit this stereotype, but those who do tend to be the most public. The stigma that develops from the image of a drunk in an alleyway is detrimental to people in recovery for two reasons.

First, if they don’t fit that stereotype, it is easier for them to deny their own problem.

Second, they can be fearful of the judgment if they admit they are alcoholics and not seek the help they need. Some alcoholics avoid treatment for years because of denial. Acceptance is the only way to get them into treatment: both acceptance of self and acceptance of others.