Those who are starting their journey to recovery may have heard tons of stories surrounding relapsing, however many of these stories are complete myths. Although relapsing is unfortunately relatively common for recovering addicts and causes great concern for individuals starting their recovery process. Irrelevant of which recovery stage you’re at, relapsing is not unavoidable.
To achieve successful and lasting sobriety, it’s crucial to gain insight and separate facts from fiction.
1. Relapse Means Failure
Many people compare relapsing to absolute failure, whether it be family and friends of the addicts, or the addict themselves. There are typically high expectations when an individual starts their recovery process, and when relapse occurs, it can be extremely disappointing.
Relapse certainly does not equate to permanent failure. Many in recovery can take several attempts before reaching lasting sobriety. It is however crucial to get sober again as quickly as possible after relapsing and to adjust the treatment plan to strengthen the next recovery process.
2.Relapse Happens Without Warning
Relapse is generally a gradual process, not something that happens out of nowhere. There are several distinct signs and phases that lead up to a relapse. These phases are characterized through numerous emotional, physical and mental signs.
Changes in attitudes, moods and behaviours need to be monitored when an individual is in the recovery process. An essential tool to help avoid a relapse is emotional awareness and regulation.
3.Relapsing Means Treatment Failed
If a relapse occurs even when a treatment plan was established, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the entire treatment didn’t work. The relapse could have occurred for a number of reasons. Perhaps the treatment plan wasn’t completed until the end, or aftercare treatment wasn’t maintained. There are numerous factors that can lead to relapsing that may not be directly related to the treatment plan, however, treatment plans and strategies can be adjusted for a sustainable, long-lasting outcome.
4.Relapse Is Part Of Recovery
This specific message needs to be communicated clearly, as relapse is not a guaranteed part of the recovery process. A more accurate term to convey this message would be to say, it can be an unfortunate adverse part of the process. This view can be dangerous, as it could set addicts up for failure, because of the inevitable expectation of relapsing. If this mindset is encouraged, the addict may feel that it’s okay to justify their actions and give up on recovering.
5.Relapse Means Starting Over
Relapse is, of course, a disappointing outcome, but it doesn’t mean you’ll have to start over from scratch. Despite facing challenges such as guilt or embarrassment, there are advantages from your previous recovery process. These advantages can include new insights or skills that were gained from previous treatment and the support network that you started building.