Every day that a person recovering from alcohol use disorder (AUD) doesn’t drink helps the brain recover from disruptions associated with drinking, a new study suggests.

Researchers at Yale University took brain scans of people with alcohol use disorder one day to two weeks after their last drink. The more recently they had their last drink, the greater the disruption in activity in a brain network associated with decision-making, HealthDay reports.

The more severe the disruption, the greater the chance was that a person would resume drinking heavily, the researchers reported in the American Journal of Psychiatry. The researchers found the severity of the disruption in the brain lessened gradually the longer a person abstained from alcohol.

“For people with AUD, the brain takes a long time to normalize, and each day is going to be a struggle,” lead researcher Rajita Sinha said in a university news release. “For these people, it really is ‘one day at a time.’”