Can An Alcoholic Ever Drink Again?

Alcoholism, or alcohol use disorder, can wreak havoc on a person's life. Once an alcoholic becomes sober, it's usually advised by professionals and their loved ones that they never drink again, and often the person recovering does not ever want to drink again.

Sometimes, though, alcoholics wonder if they could drink again, and this idea can come at any point in a person's recovery. It's understandable to wonder this, and having a drink here and there, or even a couple in moderation, may not seem like such a bad idea.

So, is it a bad idea? Can alcoholics drink again and not experience any of the issues that led them to seek addiction treatment in the first place? Let's discuss.

What is Alcoholism?
Alcoholism, in its simplest definition, refers to the disease of alcohol addiction. It has many different names and appears in people's lives differently. People who suffer from alcoholism have an emotional and chemical dependency on alcohol, making it very difficult to become and remain sober.

Alcoholism is treated differently depending on the person's situation, the severity, and how long they've lived with their addiction. Some seek individual therapy, others seek group therapy, some take medication, and others use a combination of treatments to battle their addiction.

What Are Its Effects?
Alcoholism has serious side effects. It seeps into every area of an addict's life, often ruining the person's physical, mental, emotional, and social health.

Physical side effects include:
  • Physical dependence
  • Weakened immune system
  • Damage of the internal organs, particularly the liver
Mental side effects include:
  • Memory loss
  • Changes in behavior
  • Increased risk of dementia
Emotional side effects include:
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Changes in mood
  • Increased risk of suicide
Social side effects include:
  • Changes in relationships
  • Financial issues
  • Problems at work
These are just a glimpse of some of the issues alcoholics experience before seeking treatment.

Reading even a shortlist of symptoms makes it apparent why someone would seek addiction treatment.

It makes anyone who has not suffered from addiction question why anyone would ever consider drinking again.

It's important to remember that alcoholism refers to a dependence on alcohol, and sobriety is not easy for every person to accomplish.

Benefits of Sobriety
Some of the benefits of sobriety include:
  • Improved memory
  • Reparation of damaged internal organs
  • Increased sex drive
  • More stable mood
  • Reparation of damaged relationships
Again, these are just a few ways that people benefit from sobriety. That being said, alcoholism is a disease that is often described as incurable.

However, research proves that alcoholism can be treated. People can overcome it to live a sober lifestyle, but that does not mean they can ever stop thinking about sobriety or that it's easy to quit. Many people must continue treatment their entire life.

Can I Drink in Moderation?

Alcoholics have some sort of dependency on alcohol. It could be a coping mechanism or something they feel they need. They might hate withdrawal, or they like how they feel when they're drunk. Whatever it is, there's some reason why alcoholics drink.

Whatever the reason may be, the person will feel those emotions again when they drink, even after having gone a significant amount of time abstaining. It may seem harmless enough to have a drink or two or have a celebratory drink on rare occasions. However, many alcoholics choose never to drink again because it is not worth the potential undoing of their recovery progress.

How Come Some People Can Drink Again After Quitting?

Some people can drink again after quitting, but it's for a much different reason. It can be very disheartening for an alcoholic to hear about people who were once sober drinking again with no significant issues in their life. That said, it's important to remember that we do not know all the inner workings of everyone’s lived experience. Every person is different, which means every individual journey to recovery will also vary.

Some people choose to become sober of their own volition. They noticed that alcohol was causing issues in their life, but they were not dependent on it. They were misusing alcohol - they were not addicted.

People who misuse alcohol consume it in an unhealthy way, and they may experience issues in their work-life and relationships because of it. People addicted to alcohol lose control of their impulses and consumption and experience withdrawal when they don't have it.

Those who misuse alcohol can often evaluate their relationship with it and find a healthy way to consume it because they are not dependent on it. But when an alcoholic has a true dependency, they may come to learn that it will rear its head when they try to drink again after becoming sober.

Likelihood of a Relapse
Alcoholics can typically never drink again because doing so puts them at risk of relapsing. Even one drink can cause a relapse, and relapses are very dangerous.

Unfortunately, relapse is prevalent among alcoholics. Studies have shown that up to 50% of alcoholics relapse even when seeking treatment. The numbers increase depending on the treatment they're seeking, as well as other factors in their life, like demographics and the severity of their addiction. Alcoholics who do not seek treatment have a higher relapse rate, and up to 80% of them have a short-term relapse.

Relapses are very dangerous and can put addicts at a higher risk of overdose and further dependence. People relapse for various reasons, including thinking that they can drink in moderation and that one drink won't hurt. This thinking can be hazardous, triggering past behaviors and making addiction harder to fight.

Alcoholism is a severe disorder, and to live a healthy lifestyle, alcoholics must take their sobriety seriously. This powerful commitment often means abstaining from alcohol altogether.

Abstaining completely is not an easy path to take, which shows in relapse statistics. However, it is possible, and many alcoholics have proven to themselves and their loved ones that they're able to live an alcohol-free life.

If you or a loved one is struggling, know there is hope. A life without alcohol is still worth living, and there are people and programs available to support your journey to sobriety.

New Dimensions Can Help!

To learn more about treatment options for alcohol abuse and other mental and emotional problems, visit our website at or contact us at 1-800-685-9795.

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