When anyone is in recovery from addiction, relapse is possible. However, you cannot view a relapse while in recovery as a failure. No person is always successful on their first attempt at anything. It is the same for recovery from addiction. You need to view a relapse while in recovery as a part of the process through which you are going. Recovering from addiction is a hard venture for everyone who attempts to live in sobriety after being addicted to any substance for a period.
Cigarette smoking is an excellent example of a relapse while in recovery. Hardly any individual recovers from being addicted to cigarettes the first time they try to quit. So, what do they do? They try again and again until they go for more extended periods without smoking and eventually, one day they realize they have stopped for good. It’s the same way with any substance of addiction. You can’t give up and look at yourself as a failure because you experience a relapse.
What Can Cause a Relapse While in Recovery?
There are many issues or events which can cause a relapse while in recovery. There is always the possibility of losing a loved one due to tragedy or chronic illness. The loss of a loved one is always hard for individuals to endure and deal with the pain. If you are recently starting your recovery, a loss such as this could easily cause you to turn back to your substance of abuse. You may not feel that you can handle this situation without drugs or alcohol to cope with the pain.
Another reason for a relapse while in recovery is being overly confident. You may feel that you have your substance abuse under control and can handle any situation without relapsing. Being overconfident can give you a false feeling that you can return to your old hangouts, such as bars or other places where drugs may be used without feeling the urge to use again.
You also may think that you can still hang out with the same friends who abuse drugs or alcohol without having cravings; you may feel that you can have one beer or drink when you are out with friends, or maybe partake in smoking only one joint. Recovery doesn’t work this way though. You have to abstain from drugs and alcohol, or you will be in a full relapse before you know it.
Focus on Building Your New Life Without Drugs or Alcohol
Many different things can cause a relapse while in recovery. The main thing for you to focus on though is not merely trying to avoid a relapse while in recovery, but building a new life for yourself while in recovery. Concentrate on your new life without drugs or alcohol. You can start exercising and eating healthy foods. Working on your physical health is a wonderful way to feel better about yourself.
If you lost relationships with loved ones such as family and close friends, you could work on reconnecting with them and form a new bond by showing them that you are back to your old self (the person you were before substance abuse ruined your relationships). You can experience such a feeling of accomplishment by rekindling these family ties and friendships.
Continue going to group meetings with others who are in recovery from addiction. You can form new friendships with others who are recovering from addiction. You can enjoy activities together that don’t include drugs or alcohol. Learn a new hobby that you can enjoy with a friend. Take some courses that might help you in a new career that interests you. There are so many activities in which you can participate that don’t involve abusing substances.
If You Do Experience a Relapse While in Recovery
If you do experience a relapse, remember that you have not failed at recovery and you are not a failure and doomed to a life of addiction. The old saying, “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” can pertain to many different occasions and circumstances. Recovery wasn’t accomplished in a day, and it wasn’t lost in a day.
If you experience a relapse while in recovery, you merely look at it as what it is, a setback. You start over just like the cigarette smoker who starts again. Failure is not an option! You can do this, keep persevering. Go through another treatment program or start attending more group meetings. You may want to find a sponsor who you can call in your weak moments. There are many ways you can continue through the process known as “recovery.”