Treatment outcomes for alcoholism compare favorably with outcomes for many other chronic medical conditions. The longer one abstains from alcohol, the more likely one is to remain sober. (See also Alcohol Alert No. 17 Treatment Outcome Research.)
It is important to remember that many people relapse once or several times before achieving long-term sobriety. Relapses are common and do not mean that a person has failed or cannot eventually recover from alcoholism. If a relapse occurs, it is important to try to stop drinking again and to get whatever help is needed to abstain from alcohol. (See Question 12.) Ongoing support from family members and others can be important in recovery.
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