Relapse is a common part of recovery. Various studies put the relapse rate at somewhere around 50 percent, with the chances of relapse being greatest early on. Although relapse is common, it is not inevitable. Here are some common misconceptions about addiction relapse.
A relapse means you’ve failed.
Some people feel like a relapse is proof that sobriety is just too hard. In reality, you haven’t failed until you give up. Many people are able to stay sober for a long time after several relapses. The important thing is to get sober again as quickly as possible and try to figure out what happened so you can do better next time.
As noted above, the relapse rate is closer to half, meaning there’s just as much chance you won’t relapse. A lot of it comes down to what you were addicted to, how heavily you used, and for how long. Heavier long-term use is harder to quit. However, you don’t actually know ahead of time whether you will relapse, so you might as well do whatever you can to stay sober.
A relapse means you have to start over.
A slip up does not necessarily mean you have to start over from scratch. A relapse does pose certain challenges. You are more vulnerable to overdose, for example, and you may feel embarrassed or demoralized. Despite those challenges, you also have some advantages over the first time you got sober. You’ve reached out for help, you’ve learned some things about yourself in treatment, you’ve had some time sober, and you’ve started building a support network. Those are all advantages that should make getting sober again easier.
A relapse happens without warning.
There’s a common belief that you can just sort of stumble into relapse. In reality, people almost always decide to relapse and then gradually work toward it. They may start taking unnecessary risks, like hanging out with friends who still use. They may start finding excuses, often becoming cynical or negative about recovery. This is why a strong sober network is important; people who have been through it will know the warning signs.
A relapse means you lack motivation.
You can really want to stay sober and still relapse. Motivation is important, but it fluctuates. Sobriety requires a variety of skills, which might take some time to master. In the meantime, life keeps going. You don’t always get to choose the difficulties you face. Sometimes you make costly mistakes. Recovery entails managing many different factors the best you can. Sometimes it’s too much. You just have to try again.
If you or a loved one struggles with addiction, we can help. Recovery Ways is a leading addiction treatment provider with an excellent recovery rate. Our expert staff includes masters and PhD level therapists and board certified addiction psychiatrists. Our comfortable facilities will help to make your treatment as enjoyable as possible and our therapists use proven techniques like sensory integration and recreation therapy to help to engage the world without the assistance of drugs or alcohol. Call us today at 1-888-986-7848 or email us through our contact page to learn more.