life after rehab why just one drink won't workFor many people, the idea of getting together with friends and having a single drink isn’t unreasonable. But for a recovering alcoholic who has just finished rehab, even just one drink is enough to start the cycle of addiction all over again. When you’re trying to maintain your sobriety and rebuild your life, you’ll find much more success with abstinence from alcohol than you will with a “just one drink” approach.

An Alcoholic’s Brain Is Different

Years of alcohol dependence can actually change the physiology of the human brain, and this causes the brain to crave alcohol. So even if you’ve gone through alcohol rehab treatment and are in recovery, your brain still wants a drink, and your health and sobriety depend entirely on your ability to overcome those cravings. Alcohol makes the brain increasingly less capable of producing certain hormones, including ones responsible for feelings of happiness.

But with a single drink, those feelings of euphoria come flooding back and like with any drug, the pull can be impossible to resist once you’ve taken that first sip. However, recognizing this can help you understand your addiction, and may help you realize why it’s so important to avoid alcohol completely.

Moderation May Not Be Possible

While alcohol addiction isn’t completely understood, science does know that some people are more susceptible to addiction than others, meaning some people really can’t have just a single drink. And if you’ve been through rehab to kick an alcohol habit, then there’s a good chance you won’t be able to moderate your drinking.

Alcohol Clouds Your Judgment

Your commitment to having one drink and one drink only may be firm right now, but what happens to that after the first drink? Not only will your brain be telling you to have another, but as soon as your inhibitions start to fade in the haze of the alcohol, so too will your resolve to drink in moderation. You may have good intentions when you take that first sip, but it’s more likely that one drink will lead to two, or three, or more, and suddenly the problem drinking pattern starts all over again.

Avoid Triggers Rather Than Adopting a One-Drink Philosophy

Avoiding alcohol at all times is going to be impossible, as is dodging social situations where alcohol is being consumed. But there are many ways that you can reduce the temptation and mitigate your exposure to triggers in these instances, and this could be the key to maintaining your sobriety. To help stop yourself from having that one first drink, try to:

  • Avoid the people and places you associate with drinking
  • Stay away from friends or family that you know have drinking problems
  • Set a time limit on social engagements where drinking is involved
  • Take a sober friend with you to any event where there will be alcohol
  • Find new friends, activities, and hobbies that don’t involve drinking

Having a single drink may not be the end of the world for most people, but if you’ve struggled with alcoholism and addiction, then your brain isn’t like most people’s. And if you’ve been through a rehab program already, then you’ve already gone through the toughest part of your journey to recovery, and a single drink could derail all your hard work.

So while the desire to have just one drink may seem innocent enough, it’s a very slippery slope that gets even more slippery after a drink, and this is why most recovering alcoholics are better off abstaining from drinking entirely rather than tempting fate with a one-drink policy. Call 866-349-1770 to learn more about our aftercare programs.