Can a recovering drug addict drink alcohol? Assuming that alcohol is safe to consume while recovering from drug addiction is a dangerous notion. Alcohol can easily replace drugs, and it comes with significant risks.
A Recovering Drug Addict and Drinking Alcohol
Recovering from drug addiction is not an easy journey. It requires discipline and a lot of support from family and friends. The road to recovery begins when drug addicts decide to give up drugs and turn a new leaf. However, some may turn to alcohol as a substitute substance, derailing their recovery. Alcohol can potentially become a new addiction that they may struggle to give up.
Some drug addicts find their way and take the best course of action regarding drug and alcohol addiction. Unfortunately, not all who had made it through recovery and relapsed had returned to report the same outcomes.
Learning more about the relationship between drug and alcohol addiction is the first step in leading addicts to recovery. As early as today, it’s important to inform everyone involved – including drug addicts, their families, therapists, counselors, recovery house and rehab facilitators, and social workers, to say the least – about the toxic combination of drug and alcohol addiction.
Why Can’t Drug Addicts Drink Alcohol
Drugs and alcohol are never a good mix. Taking drugs and drinking alcohol have profound behavioral, physical, and health implications. It can be fatal too. For recovering drug addicts, it’s relatively easy to replace a specific type of addiction with another, especially at the beginning of their recovery journey. While in recovery after abusing drugs – such as heroin, cocaine, or prescription pills – alcohol can become a replacement drug, sparking a new addiction.
There’s also a huge possibility that recovering drug addicts who drink alcohol may be unsatisfied with the beverage alone. These people are led back to drugs – with some of them even opting to take hard drugs. There is a call for comprehensive addiction treatment to help these people reclaim their lives in addiction relapses.
Drug and alcohol addiction can lead to either imminent dangers: a new addiction or a relapse. Alcohol tends to lessen an individual’s inhibitions, making a drug addict in recovery think, “if one drink didn’t hurt me the first time, I could do it again without any trouble.” However, this thought process would trigger either relapse or act as a precursor to alcohol addiction.
The Chemistry of Drug and Alcohol Addiction
Some of us can make the same mistake of assuming that alcohol and drugs affect the brain differently – but this is far from the truth. Drug and alcohol addiction may work in slightly different ways, but both affect the brain function for dopamine release.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter responsible for an individual’s basic survival skills, such as eating foods, social bonding, and procreation. It is also responsible for pleasure.
Substances with high addiction potential specifically raise the dopamine levels in the body. They take over the brain system and trick the body into producing more dopamine than needed. As dopamine increases rapidly, your body would look for the source of the pleasurable dopamine – leading to dependency.
Some people have their brains wired to associate a dopamine surge with drug and alcohol addiction. This association triggers cravings and eventually leads to relapse.
People with these thought processes become susceptible to being dependent on some, if not all, types of addictive substances. While some recover from drug addiction and drink to a responsible limit, others may find themselves suffering the worst from these types of addiction.
Drug Rehabilitation and Alcohol Addiction
Marijuana is known as a “gateway drug” that leads to the abuse of harder drugs. In drug and alcohol addiction, alcohol may lead to drug dependency to a relatively higher degree.
Results from a study conducted by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (NCASA) show that more than 67% of individuals who started drinking before age 15 later abused illegal drugs. Only less than 4% of people who never drank alcohol went to drug dependency.
The study further revealed that children who begin drinking before age 15 are 50 times more likely to abuse cocaine than those who don’t.
In addition, the following risk factors increase the likelihood of alcohol abuse by those who have gone through successful drug rehabilitation:
- Family history of alcohol abuse
- Childhood trauma (e.g., sexual molestation and sex abuse)
- Emotional trauma (e.g., death of a loved one or divorce)
- Psychiatric conditions occurring with substance abuse
- Alcohol abuse before drug dependency
- History of simultaneous use of drugs and alcohol
Overall, an individual who abuses alcohol is at greater risk of using at least one other substance, like marijuana, heroin, and cocaine.
Prolonged drug and alcohol addiction also increases tolerance, leading the body to consume more to achieve the same pleasurable effects.
Ensuring Full Recovery from Drug Addiction
Some symptoms of drug and alcohol addiction are noticeable and can be addressed early on. Other signs may be unrecognizable, mainly when some individuals hide their problems with substance abuse.
Negative connotations surrounding drugs and alcohol abuse can also make it more difficult for victims to seek help. As a result, excessive alcohol and drug consumption destroys relationships between families and friends, aggravates health, and affects one’s career.
While you might feel that all hope is lost, you can find treatment and holistic recovery at Haven House. With the help of our qualified treatment professionals, drug and alcohol addiction are treatable conditions that you can overcome.
At Haven House Recovery, we believe that healing and support require addressing the person as a whole – targeting their lives’ physical, mental, social, and spiritual aspects. From here, we design a Christian-based treatment program plan that is unique to each male resident. We guarantee effective, long-term solutions to enrich lives with deep-rooted happiness and responsible freedom.
Visit us at our recovery center near Clarksville and apply for our Christian-based 12-Step Addiction Recovery Program. For inquiries or more information, call (850) 622-3774 or send us a message via our Contact Us page.