Many people ask the question, “Why do people relapse?” Recovering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol is one of the hardest experiences anyone can endure, but even after a person is “clean” and no longer engaged in drug use, it’s possible that a relapse will happen. The National Institute on Drug Abuse suggests that over 60 percent of drug addicts will relapse after a period of recovery, but why do people relapse?
Understanding the reasons for relapse helps to reduce the likelihood of falling back into addiction. One of the best ways to avoid relapse is to know why such circumstances might happen. After such an investigation, a person attempting to avoid going back to drugs can make a plan designed to prevent relapse from occurring.
Why Do People Relapse? Some Common Reasons
Friends Who Use Drugs
Many people try drugs because their friends ask if they want a “hit,” and some individuals end up becoming addicts due to these unfortunate friendships. Once enrollment in a rehabilitation facility is complete, avoiding people who still use drugs is absolutely the most powerful factor in maintaining recovery.
Avoiding relapse can end up requiring some rather difficult decisions if someone lives with a drug user and must be around active drug use when he or she is trying to recover. A dramatic solution to such a problem requires moving out of that harmful environment and beginning a life free of drug-using friends and family.
One of the reasons why some people fall into an addiction is because of an emotional trauma in life such as a violent act or abuse. Experiencing abuse is exceptionally difficult under any circumstances, but attempting to recover emotionally from the experience and also stay drug-free requires amazing strength to avoid falling back into addiction.
Therapy during post-rehabilitation life may help to assist an emotionally traumatized individual deal with their emotions in a healthy way instead of relying on the numbing method of taking drugs, drinking alcohol, or abusing painkillers. A strong support system from drug-free friends and family may also help a former addict to work through their emotional problems.
Parties with Drugs or Alcohol
Everyone likes to gather with friends and have a good time. Unfortunately, many standard celebrations involve some type of drug use whether it’s an innocently proposed alcoholic toast during a retirement party, marijuana use at an informal gathering, or drug use at a raucous concert, so why do people relapse?
Although it is exceptionally difficult to avoid one’s friends and family when they are celebrating, it’s a good idea to stay home from the festivities if there is any potential for the introduction of drugs at the gathering. The briefest interaction with the source of a person’s addiction can trigger a relapse.
Sometimes an individual just isn’t ready to recover from an addiction, and attempting to live a drug-free lifestyle won’t work unless someone has worked through his or her demons and has accepted that life depends upon remaining drug-free.
Each drug addict will pursue a different path to recovery, but it’s vital to realize when addiction is still a part of a person’s life, that true recovery is not complete. Coping with an active addiction that hasn’t been left behind makes recovery close to impossible.
Stress in modern life is incredibly common, and it’s important for anyone seeking permanent recovery from drugs to consider ways that might be appropriate for reducing stress. Such a project might require some major changes in life, but since stress is one of the most common reasons for relapse, such changes are important.
A different job or living circumstance might be required to ensure that stress doesn’t come into a person’s life on a regular basis. It’s also possible to consider looking at how meditation or other exercises for the mind might help reduce any remaining stress that can’t be actively changed through a different job.
Although a person who recently recovered from an addiction to drugs or alcohol is never completely safe from a potential relapse, taking active steps to prevent the reintroduction of drugs into a person’s life is vital for improving chances of a long, healthy recovery.
To answer the question, “Why do people relapse?,” there are many issues which can bring on a relapse in a recovering addict. Be sure to protect your recovery by taking precautions to prevent a relapse from happening.