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Can Opiate Addicts Drink Alcohol?

If you’re in recovery, you might be wondering ‘can opiate addicts drink alcohol?’ After all, it’s common for many people to believe that having a few drinks socially with friends is harmless. However, alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that is commonly abused simply because it is legally available and socially acceptable. It’s also an addictive substance that could put a recovering opiate addict at risk.

3 Minute Read | Published Aug 20 2023 | Updated Feb 26 2024 Expert Verified
Emma Collins
Written by
Todd Ludwig
Reviewed by
Emma Collins
Written by
Todd Ludwig
Reviewed by

Are you in recovery from an opiate addiction? Wondering can opiate addicts drink alcohol?

Some recovering addicts may spend weeks or months becoming clean and sober, only to develop a severe alcohol problem. Effectively, they replace one addiction for another.

Others may simply drink alcohol to the point that their inhibitions are reduced, their judgment becomes impaired, and they end up relapsing back into a self-destructive pattern of opiate abuse while under the influence of alcohol.

So can recovering drug addicts drink alcohol safely at all?

Can Opiate Addicts Drink Alcohol Just Socially?

When many recovering addicts learn that it’s wise to abstain from any addictive substance during recovery, they tend to ask ‘can opiate addicts drink alcohol just on social occasions?’

The logic behind such a question usually revolves around the fact that the person was addicted to an opiate substance and not to alcohol.

Can a Recovering Alcoholic Drink Occasionally?

If you’re asking ‘can opiate addicts drink alcohol?’ take a moment to consider whether you’d ask the same question of a person recovering from alcoholism. Can a recovering alcoholic drink occasionally?

The answer is a big, resounding no. Even one alcoholic drink can harm a person in recovery from alcohol addiction, as one could easily lead to another. And another. And yet another. And suddenly the person has fallen off the wagon and relapsed back into a self-destructive cycle of alcohol abuse.

A person recovering from opiate addiction may not develop an intense addiction to alcohol after just a few drinks. But drinking alcohol increases the risk of relapsing back to the drug of choice. It also increases the likelihood of developing a cross-addiction, as the person may continue abusing alcohol as well as relapsing back into a cycle of opiate drug abuse.

Why Can’t Opiate Addicts Drink Alcohol At All?

Asking ‘can opiate addicts drink alcohol’ is not quite the same as asking the question “can a recovering alcoholic drink occasionally?’ After all, most people are aware that a recovering alcoholic is supposed to remain completely sober.

However, when someone is recovering from an opiate addiction, it’s common for friends and family members to discount alcohol as posing any kind of problem. Alcohol is legal and it’s a great social lubricant, so the automatic assumption is that having one or two drinks should be acceptable.

In reality, alcohol and opiate drugs both act as central nervous system depressants. They both affect similar communication pathways within the brain. There is also the underlying risk that a person recovering from opiate addiction may be more susceptible to developing addiction to other substances.

A person recovering from opiate addiction is encouraged to find healthy, natural ways to deal with stress, manage cravings, and relieve symptoms of anxiety or depression. Drinking alcohol threatens to trigger a range of potentially self-destructive thought processes that could undo all the hard work and effort that went into getting clean and staying sober.

If you’re still wondering ‘can a recovering drug addict drink alcohol?’ the answer is no.

If you’re struggling with addiction and/or maintaining sobriety, contact Better Addiction Care today. We’ll help you find the right treatment program for your needs. Call us at (800) 429-7690.


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