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Is Relapse Part of the Recovery Process?

Is Relapse Part of the Recovery Process?

Relapse is unfortunately common in recovery. However, the idea that relapse is “part of the process” is false. It is entirely possible for one to never have to experience relapse as a part of the journey to permanent sobriety. Relapse does not mean failure and is a common part of many individual’s recovery stories, but this does not mean that one has to relapse before they are able to achieve and maintain their sobriety.

It may take a person time to accept that they are suffering from the disease of addiction and become willing to do everything necessary to maintain sobriety. The National Institute on Drug Abuse explains, “Recovery from drug addiction is a long-term process and frequently requires multiple episodes of treatment. As with other chronic illnesses, relapses to drug abuse can occur and should signal a need for treatment to be reinstated or adjusted.” An individual may enter into treatment to appease others, but have not fully made the commitment to themselves to go to any length to achieve sobriety. Until a person fully concedes to the notion that they are entirely unable to assert control over alcohol and drugs, they are unlikely to develop the necessary honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness to accept complete sobriety as the only solution to addiction and alcoholism.

Relapse can occur for a variety of reasons, but most likely because we have stopped engaging in the recovery practices and principles needed to maintain our happiness, joyousness, and freedom in sobriety. We stop helping others, limit our involvement in the fellowship, begin living our lives by our own self-will, and no longer relying on our higher power. Soon, we find that we are no longer spiritually fit, and easily fall victim to depression, anxiety, resentment, and a host of other negative emotions. Inevitably, we return to the substance that previously provided a sense of relief. Carole Bennett, in a 2010 Huffington Post article entitled Is Relapse Part of Recovery, explains, “Taking away the pain of reality with alcohol or drugs is the only thing that the alcoholic/addict has known for quite some time. It has for years been a “Pavlovian” response to stressful or difficult life situations.”

Relapse does not have to be a part of the journey of recovery. However, if it does occur, we should take it as a sign that we must apply the principles of recovery more rigorously in our lives. We shouldn’t allow any feelings of shame stand in the way of returning to the happiness, joyousness, and freedom of recovery.

Treatment should be more than a program. When you joined Anchored Recovery, you join a community of individuals committed to sobriety. Our full continuum of care can help you seamlessly transition from detox through every phase of treatment you need to ensure lifelong sobriety. Call us today for information: 800.848.6168

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