Home > Blog > How To Avoid An Alcohol Relapse

How To Avoid An Alcohol Relapse

Posted by Martin Preston
on 04 Dec 2021

Recognising you have a problem with alcohol is the first step to recovery. We help people to overcome alcohol addiction in a relaxed, supportive and non-judgemental environment at our purpose-built retreat beside Delamere forest. Our unique Treatment Model takes guests on a transformative journey from medically supported detoxification through to full alcohol rehab. During our patient-centred, holistic programme we look at all aspects of physical, emotional and psychological healing to help prevent an alcohol relapse.

  1. What is an alcohol relapse
  2. Warning signs of alcohol relapse
  3. How does Delamere help to prevent alcohol relapse?
  4. How can Delamere help you to stay sober in recovery?

What is an alcohol relapse?

Recovery is about choosing the right path and learning how to break old habits of negative thinking or destructive behaviour. It isn’t an easy road and, even with the best support, it’s estimated that up to 90% of people will sadly have at least one alcohol relapse before they achieve lasting sobriety . A return to active addiction or ‘relapse’ happens when someone veers off their path to recovery by rejecting the principles that have been put in place to help them.

Relapse isn’t a spontaneous event, it is a process that happens slowly, not simply with the act of taking a first drink. There are three recognised stages of alcohol relapse: emotional, mental and physical. What may start with negative thoughts and feelings can progress into cravings for alcohol and then eventually lead to having an alcoholic drink. Understanding your triggers and being mindful of the warning signs at every stage of your recovery will help you to prevent a relapse. Working with a trained therapist will help you to plot out relapse prevention techniques and coping strategies to quit alcohol completely.

Find out what makes Delamere different About us

Warning signs of alcohol relapse

If you are working towards long-term sobriety being aware of subtle personality changes can often help you avoid a return to active alcohol addiction. Starting to tell little lies, being argumentative and impatient, feeling ungrateful and letting go of disciplines you have set for yourself can all be signs that you are slipping away from your recovery plan. It’s important to remember that you’re not alone. We are here to support you every step of the way. If you do relapse, or feel close to returning to addictive behaviours, Delamere can help you move beyond the barriers and into a sober life.

Signs of a relapse include:

Not feeling committed to recovery

Overreacting to stressful situations

Dismissing your own feelings

Anxiety and depression

Unwillingness to socialise

Lack of structure or routine

Loss of judgement and control

How does Delamere help to prevent alcohol relapse?

Recovery isn’t something that happens overnight. It’s a lifelong journey that takes strength, understanding and commitment from everyone involved in your care. During your growth phase at Delamere we will work with you to identify the common relapse triggers that may compromise your ability to commit to sobriety and the risky behaviours or personality traits that need to be kept in check to prevent an alcohol relapse.

We will also help you to pinpoint potential tricky situations (alert zones) you may need to watch out for when you return to everyday life. These might include places, such as restaurants or nightclubs, people you find it difficult to be around or things that remind you of previous actions. This is not about avoidance, but about being able to live life to the full by being prepared for what may lie ahead. We’re here to help you succeed.

Everyone who stays with us creates their own set of guiding principles to help them avoid a return to active addiction. When you first leave a residential rehab clinic the world can feel unfamiliar and overwhelming. But we will ensure you have the best coping strategies in place to navigate your new life with confidence. During our working sessions together we will help you to:

Create and maintain effective boundaries

Identify your triggers and alert zones

Develop coping strategies and plan for success

Improve relationships and communication

Gain the confidence to return to work

Worried about alcohol relapse? Contact Delamere

How can Delamere help you to stay sober in recovery?

Our guests always leave with a robust plan and action points to help them overcome their key triggers. However, most people will need long-term help or support to maintain their sobriety and prevent a return to active addiction. We offer comprehensive addiction relapse support which includes 12 months of continued care upon leaving Delamere and gives guests access to their dedicated care team 24/7. We also encourage all guests to continue to grow through addiction by:

Attending support group meetings

A problem shared is a problem halved. While we place great emphasis on one-to-one work with our trained counsellors and psychotherapists, we are firm believers in the power of listening to others to further your own recovery. Being able to talk openly with people who understand your addiction, without judgement, helps to provide moral support, understand different perspectives, accept accountability, build confidence and improve the skills needed to cope with challenges. During the 12 months after alcohol rehab we offer weekly therapy groups, connection days and remote support sessions for guests and family members to help prevent an alcohol relapse.

Continuing to take inventory

To tackle addiction head on, we encourage all guests to take a personal inventory. This means facing some inner truths and sometimes uncomfortable facts that are intertwined with their alcohol addiction. To prevent a return to active addiction we often ask people to continue to take stock of how they are feeling towards different people, places and the root causes of their addiction, so that they can continue to map out how they might respond to a stressful situation and fuel a successful recovery.

Keeping a journal

From the very beginning of a treatment plan, writing a journal is an important part of your daily routine. It is a simple way for you to record your feelings or frustrations openly and honestly which informs your recovery plan. Once you’re in active recovery, returning to this everyday habit can help to keep account of your emotions and to recognise when unhealthy behaviour or unwelcome thoughts are starting to put you at risk of alcohol relapse.

Staying connected to others

A good support network can also help to prevent a return to active addiction. Friends and family can often provide a level of safety and security during recovery, but sometimes this isn’t the case and toxic relationships can be a precursor to a relapse. We work with our guests to help them build a social network of positive influencers, which includes people they have met during their stay at Delamere as well as members of our clinical team.

Staying in therapy

If things get really tough and the threat of alcohol relapse becomes too much, you may choose to come back into residential care. There is no shame in reaching out for help. All of our guests are assigned their own personal development team who will be able to reassess your recovery plan and help you get the alcohol counselling you need to get back on track. Bespoke renewal retreats are available should you suffer a relapse post treatment.

Practising self-care

Good self-care is an important part of the recovery process. By this, we mean eating well, getting enough sleep, maintaining personal hygiene, exercising regularly, showing self-respect and taking care of your mental wellness. If these areas start to become overlooked this can trigger an alcohol relapse. We take a holistic approach to well-being at Delamere which includes using self-affirmation to improve confidence and self-esteem, as well as practical methods of practising self-care.

Worried about alcohol relapse? If you think that you, or someone you know, are at risk of alcohol relapse, it’s important to take action and speak to a member of the team at Delamere as soon as possible. Contact Delamere.

Contact Delamere today Contact us


1. N., Mwangi. Street: Strategy to Reach Edify & Empower Teens.WestBow Press; 2016.  

About the author: Martin Preston

Martin created Delamere in order to provide exemplary care in first class facilities. Find out more about Martin on our team page.

Let us help you today

Start your recovery journey by calling our admissions team today.

Confidential. Straightforward. Friendly.

Call now: 0330 111 2015 Visit the contact us page