Is Relapse a Failure?
Drug addiction is a chronic disease. This means that there is no real “cure”. Anyone that has sought drug addiction treatment will tell you that the recovery process lasts for the rest of your life. The urge to use again will always be there, and you can only do everything in your power to make the necessary changes in your life to mitigate the urges and opportunities to abuse drugs. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, around half of all people in drug treatment will relapse. This is equivalent to other chronic diseases such as diabetes and asthma. In short, relapse is not a failure.
Why People Relapse
According to the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute at the University of Washington, relapse occurs when behaviors and attitudes of people in recovery begin to revert to their pre-recovery state. In other words, something happens that leads them into the thoughts of self-loathing and self-destruction that caused them to start using drugs in the first place. Some of the things that could happen to cause a relapse are:
- being around people that are using drugs,
- seeing paraphernalia for your drug of choice,
- being around “friends” or others that don’t support your recovery,
- a poor performance review at work, and
- family problems.
There are as many reasons for relapse as there are people that relapse. No two people are the same, and everybody’s triggers are different.
Myths About Relapse
These are some of the myths about relapsing and the reality of them:
- You should have known you were going to relapse. – It is often difficult for those in bad situations to know how bad it is until it is too late. Addiction recovery and relapse are no different.
- You only relapse if you’re not strong enough to recover. – Strength of mind or body play very little roll in relapse. More often it is being in a bad situation, or not getting the right kind of help that brings about relapse.
- People that relapse don’t want to recover. – Desire to change does not automatically get rid of a disease. Addiction is a disease that cannot be stopped by wishful thinking.
- Thinking about relapse will cause it to happen. – Actually, being aware of the possibility of relapse, and planning ways to prevent it, greatly decreases the chances of relapsing.
All of these myths do nothing but feed into the defeatist attitude. They are myths, and as such have no basis in fact. The fact is that no one can predict when relapse may occur, and it happens in a large portion of those recovering from addiction. But, that is no reason to give up.
What to Do if You Relapse
The most important thing to do if you relapse is to get help. There is no shame in relapsing, and certainly does not mean an end to your recovery. Only by persevering, and keeping the goal of recovery in mind can you beat your addiction. There are a number of treatment options and rehab centers available to help you achieve your goals. Don’t lose hope. Recovery is still within reach. If you relapse and want help finding an addiction treatment solution that is right for you call us at 1-800-895-1695.