Is Successful Drinking After Sobriety Possible?

To the newly sober, one of the most common questions that pops up is: will I ever be able to drink normally? You may believe that one day in the future you will be able to sit at a bar and have one or two drinks, then go home without any fuss. Or perhaps sit and home and drink with a friend.

In short, the question that you may be asking yourself is: is successful drinking after sobriety possible? This blog explores this question and more.

If you would like support to quit drinking, or to strengthen your sobriety, contact Sobriety and Wellbeing on 0800 002 5397.

Can I Drink After Sobriety?

After you have had an alcohol problem, it is very unlikely that you will be able to drink again. Here are some of the reasons for this.

Loss of Control

One of the defining characteristics of alcoholism is the inability to control one’s drinking once it begins. For an alcoholic, the first sip can quickly escalate into a relentless pursuit of intoxication. Despite earnest intentions to moderate consumption, the insidious nature of alcohol makes it nearly impossible for people with alcohol use disorder to maintain control over their drinking.

Tolerance and Escalation

Over time, the body builds tolerance to alcohol, necessitating increased amounts to achieve the desired effect. What might have been a “normal” amount of alcohol for someone without alcoholism can quickly transform into a dangerous level for someone with this disorder. This escalation contributes to a vicious cycle, making successful, controlled drinking impossible.

Cravings and Compulsion

Alcoholism is not solely a physical dependence; it also involves psychological components. The relentless cravings and compulsions that drive an alcoholic to seek alcohol make it not possible to drink in a normal way.

Negative Consequences

The repercussions of alcohol abuse are profound and far-reaching. From damaged relationships to compromised health, an alcoholic’s life is marred by negative consequences. Attempts at successful drinking tend to result in disaster.

Denial and Rationalization

Alcoholics are adept at employing denial and rationalization to convince themselves that they can regain control over their drinking. They may convince themselves that they can have just one drink or that they deserve a reward, only to find themselves stuck in alcohol addiction again.

Why do People in Sobriety Want to Drink?

Now we’ve looked at whether successful drinking after sobriety is possible, let’s examine the reasons why those who are sober want to drink again.

Nostalgia and Habit

For people accustomed to the routine of drinking, the absence of familiar rituals can trigger a sense of nostalgia and a longing for the comfort of old habits, leading to a want or urge to drink.

Social Pressures

Social environments heavily centered around alcohol can create immense pressure for people in early recovery. The fear of missing out or the desire to fit in with peers who continue to drink may intensify the temptation to join in.

Coping Mechanism

Alcohol frequently serves as a coping mechanism for individuals dealing with stress, anxiety, or emotional pain. In the early stages of sobriety, when these challenges may be at their peak, the temptation to return to a familiar source of relief can be overwhelming.

Denial and Rationalization

Denial and rationalization are powerful defense mechanisms. People in early recovery may convince themselves that they can now drink in moderation or that a single drink won’t lead to a relapse. This form of self-deception can pave the way for succumbing to the desire to continue drinking.

Fear of Change

Sobriety represents a significant life change, and with change often comes fear. The uncertainty of navigating life without the crutch of alcohol can make some people yearn for the apparent simplicity of alcohol.

Unrealistic Expectations

Unrealistic expectations about the ease of the recovery process can set the stage for disappointment. Some people may believe that achieving sobriety means stopping desire to drink, only to find themselves grappling with unexpected cravings.

How can I Stop the Desire to Drink?

If you are new to sobriety and you still feel the urge to drink, you are not alone. Almost everyone who stops drinking after having an alcohol problem wants to drink sometimes.

Reducing your desire to drink alcohol in early sobriety is a gradual process that involves a combination of different processes. Here are some practical steps someone new to sobriety can take to minimize the urge to drink:

Seek Professional Help

Get the support of healthcare professionals, therapists, or counselors who specialize in addiction. They can provide guidance, personalized strategies, and a structured approach to recovery.

Join a Support Group

Try participating in support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or SMART Recovery. Connecting with others who share similar experiences can offer understanding, encouragement, and valuable insights into overcoming your desire to drink.

Educate Yourself

Learn about the physical and psychological aspects of addiction. Understanding the impact of alcohol on the body and mind can empower you to make informed decisions and resist the allure of drinking.

Develop Coping Mechanisms

Identify healthy coping mechanisms to deal with stress, anxiety, and emotions. Engage in activities that bring joy and relaxation, such as exercise, mindfulness, meditation, or hobbies, to replace the role that alcohol once played in your life.

Establish a Routine

Create a structured daily routine. Predictability can reduce feelings of uncertainty and anxiety, making it easier to resist the temptation to drink. Include activities that contribute to physical and mental well-being.

Avoid Triggers

Identify and avoid situations, places, or people that trigger the desire to drink. This may involve making changes to social circles, finding alternative routes to avoid familiar bars, or stopping activities associated with drinking.

Build a Support Network

Surround yourself with supportive friends and family who understand the importance of your sobriety. Open communication and having a reliable support network can make a significant difference in overcoming cravings.

Therapy and Counseling

Consider individual therapy to address underlying issues contributing to the desire to drink. Therapists can help individuals explore emotional triggers and develop healthier ways of managing them.

Sobriety and Wellbeing Can Support Your Sobriety

The continual urge to drink can be distressing for anyone new to sobriety. Worse, giving in to this urge can be destructive to all areas of your life. At Sobriety and Wellbeing, we know the battle faced by people early to recovery. And we are here to help.

Our team of therapists can give you the professional guidance and support you need to stay sober and thrive in early recovery. For more information on how we do this, call us today on 0800 002 5397.