content top

Why Can’t I Have Just One Drink?

Why Can’t I Have Just One Drink?

One drink may be all it takes to trigger overwhelming cravings to abuse alcohol again

You’ve already been through the most difficult and painful aspect of the recovery process, which included the withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, shakiness, and even possible severe complications such as seizures and rapid heartbeat. After this stage is done, why would you want to risk the possibility of going through it again? [1]

While in recovery, especially early into recovery, many recovering addicts think they are in control of their addiction and effectively face and resist temptation. For some this may be the case; however, others may experience such intense cravings that they relapse days or even weeks after completing treatment.  Maybe this time you can control how much you drink, but chances are if you continue to play Russian Roulette with your sobriety, you will find yourself relapsed, possibly struggling worse than before.

Why Just One Drink Can Lead to Relapse

Although a positive mindset is important to have while in recovery, being realistic is also essential.  You might think that at any particular time you can limit your intake of alcohol and not be tempted to use.  The first time this might be true but the longer you continue to do this, the more familiar your actions become.  Soon one drink becomes two and continues to spiral out of control. Included in the following are some strategies you can use to avoid taking a sip, even if you think you are in control:

  • Store goals, strategies, and reasons for sobriety in an easy to reach location
  • Set calendar or alarm reminders at times you typically go out
  • Create self-motivating passwords to access phone, emails, or other devices
  • Have a strong support system

Early in recovery, it is easier to remember the reason you first chose sobriety, which could have been for your own personal mental and physical health, for your children and significant other, or just to have control back. While your recovery progresses, you may forget some of these reasons or how important these reasons were to you at one point in time. Keeping notes or reminders about goals and specific strategies to help you avoid taking that one drink can make the difference between sobriety and relapse.  These could be stored in a text message, come in the form of pictures, a song, or even a video of your loved ones, all of which could be the reminder needed to avoid thinking that one drink wouldn’t hurt.

If you typically go out at a specific time or have plans to go out, set calendar events or even an alarm sometime during the evening to remind yourself to avoid temptation. Although environments and places where temptation is known to be should be avoided if at all possible, having a backup reminder is always important. If your friends and loved ones fully support your recovery efforts, they should understand how important it is to help you stay on course and how one invite to an event where alcohol would be used could jeopardize everything you’ve worked so hard to accomplish.

Set a password on your phone that helps motivate you in numerous ways. This could be anything from a loved one’s birthday, the first day of your sobriety, or even a date you have a vacation planned.  To some, they may just be numbers but to you, putting those numbers in may help you realize just how important your choices are and how they influence other events in your life!

Having a support system, whether composed of loved ones, co-workers, friends, or others in a self-help group, is vital to your recovery. It may seem like you’re on a good path and solid with your recovery and that may be the case, but every once in a while there will be bumps or hurdles that test your recovery.  During these times, having that support system can help keep you motivated to overcome these hurdles rather than getting set back by them. Some may need additional support and seek outpatient treatment during intense moments while others may rely solely on the company of their loved ones to help the moment pass.

Alcohol Addiction Treatment

If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction to alcohol or drugs like opium, please call our toll-free helpline today. Our highly trained and professional counselors are available 24 hours a day to answer your addiction questions and help you find the best treatment available. It’s never too late to get additional support and help, so call us today!

[1] [1], Alcohol Withdrawal, Jennifer Robinson, MD, 12/25/15, 2/16/15.