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Working with others and staying connected in recovery is critical. This is one of the cornerstones of one of the most successful alcohol recovery programs of all time: 12-Step recovery. The first-ever 12-Step program was founded on two principles. The first principle is that an individual must give themselves over to something greater than themselves (often referred to as a “Higher Power of one’s understanding”). The second principle is that an individual must also work with others in active addiction or recovery. Staying connected is one of the best things to help prevent alcohol relapse, withdrawal, and another round of treatment.

What Exactly Is Alcohol Withdrawal?

Alcohol withdrawal (or alcohol withdrawal syndrome) is relatively straightforward. It refers to the symptoms that one who has a heavy dependence on alcohol experiences when they stop consuming alcohol. 

As stated in Acta Neurologica Scandinavica, “An estimated 76.3 million people worldwide have alcohol use disorders (AUDs), and these account for 1.8 million deaths each year. It is estimated that up to 42% of patients admitted to general hospitals and one‐third of patients admitted to hospital intensive care units (ICU) have AUD. Alcohol withdrawal syndrome (AWS) is a well‐known condition occurring after intentional or unintentional abrupt cessation of heavy/constant drinking, and it occurs in about 8% of hospitalized AUD inpatients.” The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal are often also very uncomfortable and can be life-threatening.

Understanding the Prevalence of Relapse

If asked whether or not someone would like to experience alcohol withdrawal again, the answer would almost certainly be no. Yet, this happens to countless people who end up relapsing and have to go through another round of treatment.

This is not an unusual occurrence either. Most people don’t realize just how common relapses are. According to the Indian Journal of Psychiatry, “Addiction is conceptualized as a chronic relapsing brain disorder. Miller and Hester reviewed more than 500 alcoholism outcome studies and reported that more than 75% of subjects relapsed within one year of treatment… A significant proportion (40–80%) of patients receiving treatment for alcohol use disorders have at least one drink, a ‘lapse,’ within the first year of after treatment, whereas around 20% of patients return to pre-treatment levels of alcohol use.”

Many people wonder that, if someone does not want to experience alcohol withdrawal and another round of treatment, why do they still relapse? This is because alcohol is “cunning, baffling, and powerful” (as they say in 12-Step recovery). A relapse often happens when an individual either becomes complacent in their recovery (“I got this”) or veers away from their recovery plan (“I no longer need this”). This is where a recovery community can be highly beneficial.

What Is a Recovery Community?

Staying connected to other people in recovery is so important in the 12-Step community that the Big Book even has a chapter dedicated entirely to it, titled Working With Others. The chapter states that by working with others, “Life will take on new meaning. To watch people recover, to see them help others, to watch loneliness vanish, to see a fellowship grow up about you, to have a host of friends  – this is an experience you must not miss.”

This is emblematic of what a recovery community can offer. A recovery community is any community that allows an individual to open up, share honestly, and feel comfortable to reach out to if they are struggling with any aspect of their recovery.

Staying Connected: Prevent Alcohol Relapse, Withdrawal, and Another Round of Treatment

Of course, to prevent alcohol relapse and alcohol withdrawal, one is better off engaging with the recovery community rather than just “showing up.” In many recovery communities, this is called “doing service.”

Doing service means picking up the phone when another struggling person calls for help or advice. In doing so, one is also breaking the cycle of addiction and helping another person avoid alcohol withdrawal, relapse, and another round of treatment. This is giving back in recovery, but it is also important to remember that helping someone else with their problems helps an individual to forget about their own (at least for the moment). It is one of the beautiful paradoxes of recovery; one must “give it away to keep it.”

Long-Term Recovery: The Goal of Avoiding Another Round of Treatment With The Phoenix Recovery Center

Here at The Phoenix Recovery Center, we aim to help people recover once and for all. This is the goal of long-term recovery rather than revolving door treatment.

Yes, sadly, relapses can be a part of recovery; however, they don’t have to be the end. They can be the jumping-off point for a life in long-term recovery that was once thought unattainable – a life beyond one’s wildest dreams.

One of the best ways to avoid future alcohol withdrawals is to prevent alcohol relapse, and the best way to prevent a relapse is to stay connected to a recovery community. This may include recovery programs and meetings. It may also involve being part of an alumni program, which many recovery centers offer as a way for their clients to stay accountable and united with other like-minded people. If you feel like you or a loved one is struggling with issues of addiction, mental illness, or both, we can help. For more information about the benefits of recovery communities, please reach out to The Phoenix Recovery Center today at (801) 438-3185.

The Phoenix Recovery Center
489 W. South Jordan Pkwy
Suite 400
South Jordan, UT