If you relapse - it doesn't have to be a catastrophe

If the worst happens, and you drink again - don't just give up and carry on drinking, try to put things back on track as quickly as you can.

This is a tricky section to write. I'm about to suggest what to do if you start drinking again. I'm going to encourage you to put things straight, to learn something from it, not to beat yourself up about it, and to look ahead with hope. The worry is that, if you haven't relapsed, you'll think "Aha! He's saying that a relapse doesn't matter, that I can have a drink and be alright - I'll just have one drink as a treat - it won't matter!" No, no, no, no. No. You're still allowing yourself to think like a sneaky drinker. I'm not giving you permission to drink. Stop it. Read ahead, if you're doing well, with the caveat that it's not OK to drink again.

First of all, let's be realistic. Real change is difficult. It's hard for any of us to make significant voluntary changes to our life. It's seldom a quick, easy transformation. It's more likely that any of us embarking on anything difficult in our lives will go two steps forward, one step back. Don't be too disappointed or frustrated if you don't succeed immediately. Don't be put off trying to get to where you want to be. So if the worst happens, and you drink again - don' give up and carry on drinking, try to put things back on track as soon as you can. It might help if you try to appreciate the difference between a lapse - a drink or a drinking session that you quickly recover from - and a relapse, where your whole life, and the way you think, completely reverts to how it was before you stopped.