Start of A Drinking Relapse

Many alcoholics relapse as part of the recovery process. What causes relapse among alcoholics?

Relapse is a progressive process of becoming so dysfunctional in recovery that self-medication with alcohol or drugs seems like a reasonable choice.

Many people who relapse say that when they took the first drinks/drugs, it seemed that they were on automatic pilot, as though they were in a film and couldn't even seem to watch themselves disinterestedly from outside as they walked in the bar, opened the bottle or reached for the joint/needle.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, it only takes one or two drinks or drugs to inevitably lead back to massive drinking within a short period.

Relapse is an ever-present threat and part of the general recovery process for the majority of alcohol addicts. Many alcoholics, 80-90 percent, experience one or more relapses before achieving lasting sobriety. A minority manage to have none at all.

In order for an individual to prevent a drinking relapse, they must make a decision to comply with the alcoholism treatment regimen. "Research shows us that lack of treatment for alcoholism or alcoholism rehab compliance is the main cause for relapse among alcoholics," says Jonathan Huttner, of Lakeview Health Systems, an addiction treatment, alcohol and drug rehab center. Few recovering addicts or alcoholics fully realize just how diligent they have to become in following addiction treatment or rehab suggestions in order to maintain long term recovery from alcoholism.


  • National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

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APA Reference
Tracy, N. (2021, December 15). Start of A Drinking Relapse, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 20 from

Last Updated: December 29, 2021

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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