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Using Both Drugs And Alcohol

I was recently on a message board for drug rehab and addiction looking for a good topic.  I came across this question: If you are a recovered drug addict, can you still drink alcohol?  At first, I scoffed and dismissed it.  But now I’m taking a second look at it.  What does this question reveal about drug and alcohol addiction and the people who experience it?

Alcohol Can Threaten Sobriety After Drug Rehab

Alcohol Is An Addictive Drug

My first reaction was, “Isn’t the answer obvious??”  Then I took my perspective and turned it on it’s side, considering how I might respond if I myself had endured a long period of addiction thinking?  Would it seem that obvious from that point of view?  First of all, it’s really important to say that alcohol IS a drug.

It’s not always seen that way for several reasons.  It’s legal in many situations.  You drink it instead of injecting, snorting, or swallowing a pill.  It’s marketed as something fun, sophisticated, and liberating.  Perhaps it’s not as quickly addictive as some harder drugs, but it can do plenty of damage when abused or when a person becomes addicted.

Addiction Thinking Happens for Drugs and Alcohol Alike

Drugs and alcohol are commonly used together.  People with bipolar disorder sometimes use stimulant drugs to get up from their depression, and use alcohol to calm themselves through their manic phase.  The drugs and alcohol are like artificial control buttons, doing the job their body can’t manage.  These can be so dangerous.  You increase your risk for a toxic combination, an overdose, or reckless life-threatening behavior.

Addiction thinking works whether you are using meth, alcohol, heroin, or painkillers.  The chemicals do their work, leading you to develop psychological and physical addiction.  You change your behavior and lifestyle to keep your addiction going.  Any drug, in enough quantities and over enough time, can distort your thinking and judgment enough to put your life at risk.

Both Drugs and Alcohol Threaten Your Sobriety

So with that frame of reference, I go back to the question at hand.  If you are a recovered drug addict, can you have alcohol?  To protect your sobriety, my answer would be no.  Even if you’ve never been addicted to alcohol before, do you really want to risk your healthier sober lifestyle?  Is there anything worth that?  What would you really be seeking by trying to have a drink?  Social acceptance, feeling “normal”, relaxation, flavor?

It’s all a matter of choice and consequence.  If you are wanting to risk it all for a drink, it may be time to talk to a drug or alcohol rehab counselor about relapse prevention.  Your mind may want to separate drugs and alcohol.  And yes, you can always find a story about someone who got sober at drug rehab and then drank casually for years with no problem.  But that’s their life, not yours.

If you take such a risk, you might find yourself back in drug treatment or alcohol rehab in a wink.  If you want to stick with your sober lifestyle after drug treatment, think twice about having that one innocent drink.

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