For some recovering addicts, the battle to stay off alcohol is an ongoing and daily struggle, especially in early recovery. They may think they can stop after just one drink or need a drink to take the edge off their withdrawal symptoms.
The short answer to “Does one drink break sobriety?” is “Yes, it does,” but alcoholism is more complex than that. Some people can quickly regain their commitment to sobriety; others experience a full-blown alcohol relapse after just one drink.
Find out more about the difference between a slip and a relapse and what you can do about either or both.
Slip vs. Relapse: What’s the Difference?
A commitment to addiction recovery demands complete abstinence from alcohol. Some programs may even frown upon drinking non-alcoholic beer as a substitute for the real thing.
If you belong to a recovery program, such as AA, that rewards you for your days of sobriety, having a single drink means you’ll need to start counting from the beginning again.
These strict criteria apply because of the progressive nature of alcoholism. When you abstain for a while and start drinking again, you go right back to where you started.
The Nature of Addiction
You can’t take a break from being an addict and think you will control your drinking habits this time. You’ll end up exactly where you were when you left off drinking, and this will happen much faster than you think.
Often one drink can lead to many others. In other cases, one drink may lead to progressively more drinks and a complete return to your old ways.
If you have one drink and no more, this is called a ‘slip’, and you don’t need to allow it to dampen your resolve to achieve sobriety. A return to active drinking, even for a short while, is known as a ‘relapse’.
The major difference between a slip and a relapse is that it’s much easier to return to sobriety after a single slip. If you’ve experienced a relapse, you could end up like one of the 140,000 people who die from alcohol abuse every year.
Next Steps After Drinking in Recovery
Whether you experience a slip or a relapse, there is hope for you. You’re allowed to make mistakes in your recovery.
The most important thing is getting help as soon as possible. Returning to rehab can help you find your way to complete sobriety once and for all. Many people only manage to find true recovery after a few attempts.
Why Ask Does One Drink Break Sobriety?
If you’re asking, “Does one drink break sobriety?” it’s important that you consider the reasons you might be wondering about this aspect. You may be having doubts about your sobriety or not enjoying the full benefits of abstinence.
Either way, you must speak to your sponsor about your questions or get professional help to address your doubts. For many, it can be a matter of life and death.
If you’re simply a curious person, read some more of our blogs to satisfy your craving for knowledge and keep yourself occupied in the process.