Recovery from addiction is challenging. Addiction can be cunning and powerful, and there may be times along an addict’s journey to full recovery when they relapse.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 40%-60% of drug addicts in recovery will relapse.
But what is a relapse, and how can you deal with one when it happens to you?
In this article, we’ll discuss the signs of relapse as well as relapse prevention. We’ll help you to understand that relapse does not equate to failure.
What Is Relapse?
A relapse is when you use drugs while you are in recovery for your addiction.
You may ask yourself, “Is relapse normal?” For many people, relapse is a natural part of recovery.
Following on from a relapse, an addict may feel a great deal of shame and regret. Often this feeling can propel them to relapse further. These feelings of shame are completely normal following a relapse, and many addicts go through this shame cycle during recovery.
What Can Cause a Relapse?
There are several different reasons that someone might have a relapse after a period of sobriety.
Some of the causes of relapse include:
- Not quitting for the right reasons
- Not making your recovery a priority in your life
- Not having the right support system in place
- Not preparing yourself for life after recovery
Understanding the warning signs ahead of a relapse can help you stop it from happening.
What Can You Do to Prevent Future Relapses?
Having the right support network in place is essential. Join a 12-step recovery program such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. From there, you will be able to connect with a sponsor who can check-in on you.
Surround yourself with the right friends and family and avoid addicts that are active in their addiction.
Spend some time working on identifying your triggers. Think about how you can manage these areas of your life better while you are sober.
Fill your life with activities that keep your mind off your addiction. If you haven’t already, introduce exercise into your daily routine.
Finally, reach out and get the support of a therapist who is qualified and experienced working with addicts. You’ll be able to start to understand the reasons that you developed your addiction in the first place while strengthening your recovery.
Does a Relapse Mean That Recovery Has Failed?
No. Relapse may feel like you have failed, but it is essential to learn from the experience and use it as a tool in your recovery.
Instead of seeing your relapse as something to be ashamed of, see it as a stepping stone on your journey.
Work It: You’re Worth it
Recovery takes time and effort. However, it works if you work it.
You may hit some stumbling blocks along the way, and you might relapse. It is essential that you don’t allow the shame associated with your relapse to consume you and ruin your hard work.
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