DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been sober for nine years. It was a struggle in the beginning, but now I choose not to drink or smoke weed, even if my friends are doing it.
After learning about Demi Lovato's recent relapse after six years of sobriety, plus plenty of other celebrities who seem to relapse after they have gone to treatment centers, I’m a little worried. My life was a mess when I was drinking and getting high, but I loved it anyway. I think I have gotten far enough away from the lure of that life, but I wonder: If it could happen to someone like Demi, could it happen to me? -- Clean and Sober, Dallas
DEAR CLEAN AND SOBER: As you know, staying sober is an active choice that you make every day. Statistics suggest that people who have been sober for five years or longer have only a 15 percent relapse rate. In other words, they usually stay sober.
That said, remember what you learned in early recovery: People, places and things are what you must look out for. Be mindful not to put yourself in situations that could trigger the desire for you to reignite bad habits. Stick with positive people whose values you share. Get counseling if you need support. You can always go to an Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meeting when you are feeling unstable.
For more information, read this article from Psychology Today: psychologytoday.com/us/blog/craving/201402/how-often-do-long-term-sober-alcoholics-and-addicts-relapse.