RELAPSE: THE MISCONCEPTIONS REVEALED
Reaching a point of sobriety is not easy; it takes a combination of fortuitous qualities such as willpower, patience, and a dedication to one’s end goal, which is a healthy addiction-free life.
Some people achieve this on their first attempt toward sobriety while others go through struggles. Of course, those struggles can include a person’s return to their old ways before becoming sober.
Also known as a relapse, reversions back to one’s addictive behavior is quite common during the rehabilitation process. But even with that commonality, relapses are sometimes misunderstood for what they really are.
THE FIVE MOST COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT RELAPSE:
1. A LAPSE AND A RELAPSE ARE THE SAME
Many confuse a lapse within someone’s sobriety as a relapse. Well, to be honest, a vast chasm exists between the notion of a lapse and a relapse. First of all, while both a lapse and a relapse can be defined as setbacks to one’s sobriety, a lapse is defined by a brief amount of time in which someone returns to a preexisting condition of addictive behavior. By contrast, a relapse is when a person returns full-blown to their past behavior as addicts.
So, in short, during your recovery you may at one point have a slip up where you have a drink or take a substance you’ve been trying to recover from. But you do that only once or twice before getting back on the wagon after you’ve momentarily fallen off.
Those who relapse have completely fallen back into the patterns that put them in recovery to begin with. Additionally, those who relapse often do not know how or when they’ll enter rehab again.
If you’ve fallen away from your rehab, ask yourself if you see a clear path back to recovery or if you can’t possibly see a way you can recover from your addiction. Be sure to seek counseling should you be unable to get yourself back on track to sobriety.
2. EVERYONE RELAPSES, RIGHT?
Addictions vary from person to person. Some addictions are stronger while others do not require as intense a series of treatments. This is why it is difficult to point out who is more likely to relapse, and who is less likely.
The National Institute of Drug Abuse indicates that the relapse rates for recovery from an addiction (between 40 and 60 percent) are similar to the relapse rates for trying to change behaviors associated with many chronic physical conditions, such as hypertension and diabetes (between 30 and 70 percent).
Of course this does not take into account those who simply can’t change their behavior due to their surroundings or the people whose own behavior can trigger a relapse. Just understand that even if some people never relapse, it is your own recovery that should concern you. And should your relapse, try your hardest to figure out a way through therapy to get back on your horse again.
3. IF YOU START USING A DIFFERENT DRUG, IT ISN’T RELAPSE
A relapse is a relapse. It doesn’t matter what drug you use. The fundamental issue with relapse is you’re once again dependent on a substance. And that substance doesn’t necessarily have to be the same with which you initially became addicted.
Be truthful with yourself. If you formerly used heroin, but are now drinking, this only means you were a former heroin addict, who is now an alcohol abuser. Only until you have stopped using all substances, even in light of a relapse, can you truly call yourself clean and sober.
4. IF YOU’RE STRESSED OUT, YOU WILL ASSUREDLY RELAPSE
While it is true that a person who is under constant stress can be more susceptible to relapse, a more telling aspect of a user who might relapse is to examine the triggers he or she are surrounded by. Triggers such as old friend or social gatherings, can easily set you off.
Ask yourself about the triggers in your life which could put your sobriety at risk. Then eradicate those triggers as soon as possible to lower your risk of relapse.
5. EITHER YOUR TREATMENT FAILED OR YOU SIMPLY AREN’T SERIOUS ABOUT SOBRIETY
Steady yourself and be strong because invariably you will come across someone who might hint that your character is weak and/or your treatment subpar should you have a relapse. Try not to take this personally. Or at least tell yourself that this kind of talk can come from someone who is unfamiliar with the recovery process and that relapse is a very real part of that process.
If it suits you to do so, explain to those who have criticized your recovery that drug and alcohol rehabilitation takes incredible strength throughout a long process of time. Add to that the fact that at times recovery may not be achieved, and in some cases a person, possibly such as yourself, has to begin the process over again. But even if that’s the case, it does (and it truly does) take strength and courage to rebuild again after a relapse.
Neither recovery, nor the road to recovery, is easy, particularly if you have a conscious fear of relapse. Give yourself every advantage you can as you recover from your substance addiction by eliminating your triggers and diligently staying on the path to recovery. Do this to assure that relapse will not be a forgone conclusion – at least in your case.
If you or a loved one have an addiction to alcohol, contact BLVD Treatment Centers. At BLVD Treatment Centers we custom tailor our recovery programs within the safe and nurturing confines of our rehab treatment centers. Located throughout California, in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego and in Portland, OR, our mission is to assess the severity of your addiction to help you achieve true recovery within 30 days. Call us now at 1-866.582.9844.