How Others Influence Your Alcohol Use

How Others Influence Your Alcohol UseIt can be very difficult, if not impossible, for an alcoholic to comprehend all of the factors that drive his drinking. Alcoholism is a psychological as well as physical disease. It changes the way the brain processes information and responds to stress. Long-term sobriety requires both physical and emotional rehabilitation and much of that will be heavily influenced by others.

Relapse and Recovery are both about Relationships

Many addicts believe that their drinking habits don’t affect others. They also don’t realize how profoundly their drinking is influenced by their friends and family. The truth is that there are many ways in which problem drinking is driven by others, including the following:

  • Exposure to alcohol abuse as a child can have a profound influence on the learned drinking behavior of teens and adults
  • Peer pressure and the need to fit into social groups is a very common cause of substance abuse among teens and adults
  • Stress and anxiety caused by dysfunctional family dynamics can lead to self-medication through drinking
  • The emotional pain caused by the loss of a loved one either through death or a broken relationship can drive people to drink
  • Childhood abandonment, abuse, or neglect can cause people to develop poor coping skills and drinking habits as adults

On the other side of the equation, healthy relationships can have everything to do with a person’s recovery from alcoholism and his continued sobriety. The following is a list of social and relational factors that are critical to lasting recovery:

  • Sober coaches or counselors provide a safe place for addicts to talk about their temptations and offer important “third person” perspective on the behaviors of the recovering addict
  • Social relationships with friends that are sensitive to the needs and struggles of a recovering addict can provide times of fun and connection without encouraging alcohol abuse
  • Accountability to a healthy, sober friend can help a person avoid relapse when he is tempted
  • Resolving or avoiding relational tension with family or romantic interests can help the recovering addict avoid relapse

It often comes down to a simple formula. Recovering addicts who surround themselves with healthy, loving, sensitive people that know them and support their recovery are more likely to stay sober. Recovering addicts who surround themselves with substance-abusing friends and unhealthy family members often relapse.

How Treatment can Improve Your Relationships

In addition to providing medical support and symptom relief during detox, the most successful recovery programs help their clients learn new and effective ways to relate to others. Comprehensive rehab programs focus significant attention on this process by helping their clients in the following ways:

  • Individual, group, and family counseling helps recovering addicts identify problematic relational and communication habits
  • Clients are taught new coping skills for managing stress and avoiding codependent habits
  • 12 step programs are often very helpful for many addicts
  • Spiritual and emotional support is available
  • Clients are prepared for the process of maintaining sobriety through intentional aftercare programs

Many addicts, and those who love them, are so wounded by the effects of the disease they can’t imagine a return to relational health. With the right treatment, however, healing is possible.

24 Hour Alcohol Abuse Helpline

If you’re ready to break free from the grip of alcoholism please call our toll-free helpline today. Our staff members are ready to answer your questions and to connect you with the recovery resources best-suited to meet your unique needs. Call now.