Navigating marijuana, opioid, heroin, or meth addiction treatment is a difficult task. Alumni who have adopted the skills, perspective, and strategies necessary to manage a life of sobriety through Hawaii Island Recovery should celebrate their accomplishments as alumni. However, for those overcoming drug use, it is still important to consider their relationship with other addictive substances, particularly alcohol. Managing alcohol use in recovery, even if a person initially pursued professional treatment to overcome the use of drugs, is still an important component of a truly transformed and sober life.
The Connection Between Alcohol and Drug Use
Even those who are committed to a life of abstinence from drugs still must contender the role that alcohol may play in their lives. While some individuals may pursue professional treatment to address their use of drugs and alcohol in tandem, others may need to truly analyze their relationship with alcohol for the first time when they step into treatment.
Those who regularly engage in drug use are more likely to also use alcohol, making addressing them in tandem paramount for a truly transformed recovery and sober mentality. Whether an individual is addressing drug use and alcohol use simultaneously, known as polysubstance use, or is focusing only on overcoming drug use, creating a plan that addresses both in tandem is necessary for genuine and sustainable change.
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Recognizing Replacement Addictions
The most common danger for those overcoming drug use is replacing the use of drugs with the use of alcohol directly, resulting in a “replacement addiction.” Replacement addictions are addictions that manifest at the cessation of another substance but fill the same need or compulsion, still to the detriment of a person’s mental and physical health. Replacing alcohol with cigarettes or even drugs with shopping or gambling, for example, can result in new addictions that need to be addressed. Moreover, replacing drugs with alcohol is a common form of replacement addiction. Replacement addictions compromise other proven coping strategies as new substances or behaviors become the sole coping outlet and bring new self-destructive behaviors.
Alcohol and drug use can be intimately connected, filling similar roles for those with substance use disorder (SUD) and bringing similar dangers. For those overcoming their past use of drugs, managing alcohol is paramount to prevent developing a replacement. Fortunately, there are always strategies that alumni can use for managing alcohol use while maintaining a healthy abstinence from drugs and developing a truly transformed life.
Knowing the Dangers
While an individual may not necessarily have a history of alcohol use, that doesn’t mean that they can’t still prepare strategies to manage its use. Working with professionals at Hawaii Island Recovery can help educate each individual on the risks involved with alcohol use, especially following their time in treatment for drug use. Even if an individual is not committing to the same level of abstinence from alcohol as drug use, having several dedicated strategies, supports, and others available to help navigate the dangers of alcohol following drug treatment is paramount. For many, an equal commitment to avoid alcohol use may be necessary to best focus on the transformative lifestyles, skills, and daily routines instilled in sobriety.
Managing Alcohol to Prevent Relapse
Alcohol may seem like a “better” alternative to illicit drugs for many, given that it is still a legal substance. However, this can be a dangerous mentality for those continuing to manage a drug-free life. Alcohol can still be incredibly devastating, and not only can an individual develop an addiction to alcohol itself if used unregulated or in a similar capacity to drug use, but its use can also reflect on a person’s attitudes towards drugs, increasing the risks of relapse as the lifestyles and perspectives instilled throughout treatment and recovery are compromised.
Avoiding alcohol to continue focusing on the best practices for a drug-free life is paramount, with sober coping strategies being crucial to a life of genuine change and abstinence from addictive substances of all kinds. This can be especially prevalent by looking at a person’s expectations regarding alcohol use. If an individual is turning to alcohol to cope with the stresses of daily life, this relationship can be wholly detrimental to their recovery. Furthermore, professional treatment may be necessary to address these ideas and changing attitudes towards alcohol.
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Setting Boundaries for Managing Alcohol
Those committed to a sober lifestyle must make many changes in daily life as an alumnus. Setting boundaries with peers, family, and friends is necessary. While this means avoiding situations and eliminating drug use from daily life, extending these practices to create social environments that equally avoid alcohol use can be essential to facilitate the development of truly new routines, traditions, and more in sobriety.
For some, avoiding alcohol entirely may be necessary, even in cases where an individual is pursuing sobriety from past drug use. Addiction is a disease that affects a person’s mentality and all aspects of daily life, and the safest method for managing alcohol use is abstinence from the substance. If an individual in recovery from drug use does choose to engage with alcohol, communicating their use, perspectives, and more with personal supports and trained professionals is necessary to continue to manage alcohol use, a person’s expectations, and address problematic relationships with the substance. This will further prevent addiction, replacement addiction, or other dangerous consequences resulting from continued alcohol use.
Knowing how to manage alcohol use, even while in treatment for overcoming opioid, marijuana, heroin, or meth addiction treatment, is crucial for creating a truly changed life. We at Hawaii Island Recovery understand the importance of managing alcohol use and drug use, as well as educating you on how these substances can inform each other and each overall recovery journey. From a robust and proven set of coping strategies to a community of peers, we create not just the opportunity to explore a drug-free life but also introduce you to a truly transformed and sober lifestyle. For more information on how we can help you, call to speak to a caring, trained staff member today at (866) 390-5070.