Recovery from addiction requires an understanding of how relapse affects your recovery process. Drug addiction and alcoholism are serious issues, and once an addict or his loved ones recognize the fact that what was once occasional use has turned into a regular habit, the addict’s first course of action may be to attend a treatment program that specializes in substance abuse recovery. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in 2009 alone, 23.5 million people aged 12 and up required treatment for an addiction to alcohol or illicit drugs, attending rehab facilities like Behavioral Rehabilitation Services. Unfortunately, for many recovering addicts, once they complete treatment at a rehab facility and reenter society, the risk of a relapse remains high.
Learning How Relapse Affects Your Recovery
There are a number options available when it comes to seeking treatment for alcoholism or drug abuse, the ideal option being an inpatient facility that offers a wide variety of substance abuse services, like individual counseling, group therapy, a mentorship program, nutritional counseling, and restorative exercise. The goal of these substance abuse programs is to help addicts overcome their addiction and develop the tools and skills they need to live happy and healthy lives as productive members of society, without the use of illicit drugs or alcohol.
Once the addict has successfully completed treatment and has established a pattern of sobriety, he is typically released from the rehabilitation facility and encouraged to reenter society, making positive changes in his life in order to maintain sobriety. In some cases though, the old triggers remain, and recovering addicts may suffer a setback that causes them to relapse, or fall back into their old ways. Once a relapse occurs, it doesn’t necessarily mean that achieving lasting sobriety is impossible, but it does mean that the recovering addict must begin again on his road to recovery.
Relapse Prevention and Warning Signs
When it comes down to it, recovery from alcoholism or illicit drug abuse is an ongoing process, one that takes hard work and an immense amount of support from friends and loved ones, and relapse is a normal part of that process for some people. In many cases, a recovering addict who suffers a relapse may return to inpatient treatment for more intensive counseling, therapy and support, or may choose to participate in an outpatient recovery program, where he can attend individual and group therapy sessions a few days a week, while maintaining a normal schedule at work or school.
While relapse is a common occurrence in the world of substance abuse recovery, one that can happen several times on the road to sobriety, there are steps a recovering addict and his support system can take to decrease the chances of a relapse, including recognizing the warning signs of relapse and understanding how relapse affects your recovery. If you find yourself experiencing destructive thoughts or mood swings, isolating yourself from groups and activities, neglecting healthy habits or coping skills, or returning to unhealthy behaviors or environments, you may be at risk for a relapse, and may want to reconnect with a counselor or mentor from your inpatient treatment program, in order to prevent a relapse.
What it Means to Relapse
Relapse may look and feel like a serious setback in your recovery process – it may even seem like the biggest of failures for a recovering addict – but it’s a challenge that many addicts must contend with at some point in their lives, and it doesn’t mean your chances of long-term recovery are over. It’s important to remember that recovery from alcoholism or drug addiction is a lifelong commitment, one that takes strength, discipline and the help of a professional rehabilitation program to fight off cravings and maintain abstinence, using the tools that you learned during inpatient treatment. Learn the facts about how relapse affects your recovery, and gain strength from that knowledge.