It takes a lot of effort and willpower to seek treatment for a drug addiction or alcohol problem. The challenge of getting clean and sober after many months or years of substance abuse is no easy walk in the park. There’s detox, which can be painful and miserable, then weeks or months of counseling and recovery training to relearn how to live without the substance in your daily habit.
And then tragedy strikes…
A full-blown relapse occurs when the little triggers wear you down, little by little, over time until you finally break and return to your substance abuse habit for the same or similar reasons that got you started on that path from the beginning. A momentary ‘lapse’ would be having a drink at a work party, feeling guilty about it, and re-committing yourself to complete sobriety after admitting this slip-up to your support group. These shouldn’t be taken lightly. One lapse can easily lead to two and three and so on if you allow yourself to excuse it away and convince yourself that it’s alright. Full relapse soon follows, in which you become fully dependent on the addiction once again.
Recovering from Relapse
Often a full relapse requires another round of detox and addiction treatment to get back up off the ground. That’s why it can be such a blow to a person’s resolve and self-confidence. A relapse means you’ve hit bottom again and have to start the grueling process all over again. Many addicts tragically take their own lives shortly after a relapse because the weight and gravity of its implications is too much for them to stand. While it’s terrible when all your hard work seems to slip away in a moment (or several moments) of weakness, please remember that it’s never too late.
Always get back up.
When you’re in the midst of a guilt-ridden relapse and you’re staring down the reality of what comes next (drug addiction treatment and early recovery), remember what it took for you to seek out treatment the first time. Courage and a desire to lead a better, more fulfilling life are always good motivators to get back on your feet and continue fighting against the never ending barrage of cravings and psychological triggers. You must remember the core goals and values that drive your desire to get clean and don’t let the slip-ups bring you to a full stop.
Sometimes it takes several battles and a few casualties to win a war. It’s not always over with the first victory. Maintain a steady conviction, like so many recovered addicts before you, that you will beat this thing no matter what it takes.
Getting Help for Relapse Prevention
The good news is that your treatment and recovery will be easier after the relapse than it was the first time you got clean. Each time will get easier because you aren’t fighting a long term habit. This time, you’re getting back onto the path of recovery, one that you were already walking and one on which you already made significant progress. You don’t really start back at zero. You’re always one step closer toward long term sobriety and full recovery.
Just don’t give up.
Have you recently experienced a relapse and don’t know what to do? Don’t sit there worrying and fearing the worst. Contact an addiction counselor at Hired Power by calling 800-910-9299 any time, day or night, and we’ll help you assess your situation and review your options. There are always options. Just pick up the phone.