4 Tips to Help a Recovering Alcoholic Avoid Relapse

Two women embracing during a group therapy session.

Alcoholism is one of the leading causes of addiction in the United States. Impacting nearly 15 million people aged 12 and older each year, it can cause major issues in a person’s life at all levels.

From strained relationships with friends and family to serious physical and mental health issues, alcohol takes a toll on every aspect of a person’s life, especially when they become addicted to it.

At Miramar Recovery, our goal is to help you get sober and stay sober for life. If you or a loved one has recently gone through recovery and rehabilitation for alcohol use disorder (AUD), there are various ways to provide healthy support to avoid relapse and reach long-term sobriety goals.

Let’s explore the top four ways to help a recovering alcoholic.

1. Educate yourself on alcohol addiction and recovery.

If your goal is to help a friend or loved one maintain a new, sober way of life, the first step you should take is to educate yourself on how alcohol addiction affects the way a recovering alcoholic feels, thinks and handles aspects like cravings, triggers, psychological changes and the general adjustment to a sober life.

With most things, knowledge is power. The more you know, the more equipped you are to assist them on both good days and bad ones.

It can easily be said that addiction and recovery are complex and include various layers and stages. Recovery is most likely going to be one of the hardest challenges in a person’s life. It is important to understand how to establish healthy boundaries and identify enablement to avoid relapse. Those in recovery will find it easier to trust you with their sobriety journey if you know how to help them through it.

2. Set reasonable expectations.

Expectations are a huge deal in recovery. Because there are so many steps involved in a total recovery process, setting reasonable expectations is key to long-term success. Although, as a loved one, wanting to see instant success is gratifying, it’s not possible for both. Recovering alcoholics will have tough days and setbacks, but they will learn to move forward and progress positively if they have attainable expectations set out for them.

The truth is that attending rehab does not provide an instant “cure” for an addict. You must prepare for relapse and handle it in an empathetic way should it occur. Don’t expect someone to heal overnight; the road to recovery is a long, albeit rewarding one.

3. Remove triggers and stressors.

One of the best things you can do for someone in recovery is reduce stressors and remove triggers.

Talk to your loved one openly about what will trigger them in their recovery journey and do your best to remove that from their life. This may include:

  • Removing all alcohol and addictive substances from your home
  • Avoiding events and gatherings where alcohol will be present
  • Building new friendships with sober-focused friends
  • Creating a new routine
  • Finding new, sober activities to do together

4. Lean into outside support.

If you’re helping a loved one through sobriety, don’t feel that their journey to sober success needs to rest solely on your shoulders. Find support to help you help them. There are numerous resources available to help your loved ones stay sober such as:

  • Sober or recovered friends and family members
  • AA groups
  • Community support groups

Not only will these opportunities provide you with additional resources, but you will also learn a lot to help in the recovery journey, too.

Alcohol addiction is a complex disease to work through. Give your loved ones support and empathy as they travel down their road to recovery. To learn more about helping a recovering alcoholic avoid a relapse, or to seek additional support for alcoholism, contact us today. We are here to help you get sober sooner.


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