“A recovering alcoholic still craves a drink...”
is of course, the test of how well rehabilitation can prevent someone from crossing the line back to alcoholic dependency.
It’s all very well getting to understand why a need to drink may have burrowed it’s way deep down into your psyche in the first place but the problem is - the chemistry of your brain has changed! You may have been able to finally cast the deadweight ballast of addiction overboard but you’re now locked into playing mental battleships with those impulses lying just beneath the surface. Avoiding your local battleship cruiser – as cockney rhyming slang would have it – is just the start of holding back a trigger finger just itching to prise the saloon bar door open ...the fridge door ...the bottle secretly stashed... It all depends if you’re tooled up...
The tools of ‘mindfulness’ - the ones given to you at rehab to help you retrain the brain so it gets the message – you’re in charge once again! Yep – that feeling of wanting a drink actually becomes ’normalised’ – as a current term of expression would have it - and your greatest fear can finally be tested. The relapse!
There is no lack of evidence to show that relapse into alcoholic dependency does all too often happen. That doesn’t mean rehab hasn’t worked for many who have successfully learned how to deploy those handy tools of engagement when cravings start to gnaw and niggle and scratch ... A recent Public Health England report reveals that 58 per cent of those who had successfully completed their treatment in rehab were “no longer dependent on alcohol” - Statistics for Alcohol Treatment Activity in England 2012-13. Lost their way once more...
It’s looking further down the road that the victims of relapse start to appear, having lost their way once more at their personal crossroads. In a previous survey, which followed nearly 95 per cent of 1,162 reformed alcoholics over eight years, it was found:
- Less than one year later – two thirds had relapsed.
- More than one year later- less than half had relapsed.
- After 5 years - less than 15 per cent had relapsed
The study suggests that the longer a reformed alcoholic can continue to successfully refrain from drinking by using the tools of alcohol rehab the more likely it is that relapse can be prevented
. What about those, say, 10, 20 or even 40 years or more down the line? Relapse can still happen – one ‘normal’ drink can suddenly let slip the crazed hounds from addiction hell... Deep down, every reformed ‘drinker’ knows they’re just one swift half away from a lost weekend. That’s why the tools of rehab are not just for a Christmas drink, they’re for life...