Addiction Relapse Does Not Mean You Failed

Written by Chloe Nicosia

Don’t Give Up Because Of An Addiction Relapse

Relapse occurs because addiction is a chronic disease and requires the individual to take responsibility for his or her lifestyle. Detox is the easy part, but changing behavior patterns and coping with triggers is much more difficult. Addiction relapse is not a failure, but it indicates further (or different) treatment is needed.

Addiction Relapse

Addiction relapse is not a sign of failure. The most dangerous risk that comes with relapse is the fact the individual no longer has a tolerance to the drug they were once addicted to. If he or she use the same amount of the drug as taken before detox, it’s very possible they will overdose and die. It’s similar to when a diabetic eats foods that disrupts the body’s sugar balance, he or she can go into a coma and die. Many chronic illnesses come with an obligation to learn about, understand, and properly manage the disease.

Sometimes this seems overwhelming to the addict just starting down the road to recovery, especially if his or her physical and mental health were compromised by drug use. Ongoing therapy and group meetings are vitally important following detox and inpatient rehab to build self-esteem, develop coping skills, and learn how to avoid triggers. Better Addiction Care (BAC) provides a free referral service for excellent drug treatment centers. They assist with finding the best facility offering tailored treatment approaches that address the patient’s physical and mental health, psychiatric, and behavioral problems.

Addiction Relapse Statistics

An eight-year-study attempting to understand the percentages relating to addiction relapse statistics determined extended abstinence actually predicts long-term recovery. Approximately one-third of people who relapse in less than a year will remain abstinent. Less than half of people achieving a full year of sobriety will relapse, and the chance of relapsing after 15 years is under fifteen-percent.

These statistics reinforce the importance of ongoing therapy. After completing inpatient detox and rehab, the individual should attend Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings everyday for the first year, and longer if indicated. If you have a loved one in recovery and are concerned about his or her relapsing, it’s important to understand that only the addict can make the decision whether or not he or she will use a drug again.

As part of the loved one’s support group, your job is to listen, be supportive, and observe. Encourage him or her to attend support group meetings, provide a ride if needed, give praise on the progress made, and ridding the home of any items that are considered triggers.

Addiction Relapse Prevention Strategies

Addiction relapse prevention strategies include certain concepts that reduce the risk of the recovering addict to lapse.

  • Family members need to understand that a relapse does not mean a failure, and help the individual get right back on track with words of encouragement and support.
  • Identify high-risk scenarios including places, people, items, and other sense-stimulating triggers.
  • Encourage attendance at therapy sessions and NA meetings where coping strategies are learned from other addicts in recovery.
  • Avoid old neighborhoods where drug users and dealers hang out.
  • Develop new friendships with people who don’t use drugs.
  • Take a class in anger management.
  • When temptation occurs, take a brisk walk, run a mile, workout at the gym, meditate, pray, call your sponsor, and go to an NA meeting.
  • Most of the time a relapse occurs after making some poor decisions, which could include going out with friends who do drugs, going to a club where drugs are available, or thinking that maybe you could just do it once. Without some positive coping skills and reinforcement, these types of actions and thoughts can lead to relapse.

Whether you or someone you care about is in recovery and coming close to relapse or have already relapsed, call Better Addiction Care at 1-800-429-7690 and speak with a drug rehab specialist. Their free referral service will help you find the services you need at an accredited drug treatment center to build your coping skills or get back on track if you have relapsed.