Say it with us, relapse is not failure. Even the strongest and best people slip up from time to time, and it doesn’t mean they’re weak or they’ll never be fully sober.
It means they made a mistake. What matters now is how you recover from it. Want to know about why people relapse, even if it seems like the danger has passed?
1. A Weak Support Network
When you’re recovering from an addiction, it’s like you need a constant circle of people around to help. If it takes a village to raise a child, it also takes a village to maintain sobriety.
If you or your loved one doesn’t have a supportive village that understands the struggle – you’re being set up for relapse.
We’re talking about friends who invite you out for drinks or ignore your loved one’s triggers. The addict’s brain is rewired to be susceptible to triggers and the emotions that surround them.
2. High-Stress Levels
Managing recovery is a full-time job. It’s not like someone is sober without any thoughts or feelings. Being sober is a constant fight of your thoughts.
Yes, the triggering thoughts lessen with time, but they’re always at the back of your mind. A recently recovered addict basically has a full-time job of correcting or ignoring those thoughts.
If the other familial or work obligations get to be too much, that sober-staying job slips and they find themselves giving into addictive thoughts.
3. Not Treating the Root
Did you know that about 7.9 million addicts have issues with other mental disorders? Depression, anxiety – you name it. When the brain is low on neurochemicals or the processing is affected by mental illness, it’s harder to resist substances.
Many people can’t afford or don’t know how to get help, so they turn to substances to self-medicate. If you only treat the addiction and not the underlying emotional problem, it’s not going to hold.
The next time that person has a panic attack or is feeling depressed, they’ll want to numb. You have to teach people coping mechanisms for their brains and their addictions.
Otherwise, they’re being set up for failure.
4. Unrealistic Expectations
If you or someone you love went into recovery thinking it was going to be easy or even one and done, sorry, you were wrong.
Recovery is a life-long process. You will always be an addict and will always need to be in recovery. Expecting anything less is putting up expectations your brain has rewired itself against.
Be patient with yourself (or your loved one) and truthful. You’ll all get through this together.
5. Thinking Relapse Is the End of Recovery
If you slip into a relapse, you may decide that recovery didn’t work. Getting sober isn’t that black and white. One relapse doesn’t cancel out all the time you were clean.
You have to get up and start from day one again – but you have much more information this time. How grateful are you for that?
There are two choices you or a loved one has after a relapse. To get back on the horse or to decide the world has ended. Obviously, we all hope it’s to get right back to working on recovery.
If you need help with that, check out our programs – they may be exactly what you need.