Addiction is a mental illness which creates chemical changes in the way the brain works. From a passing occasion to a chronic habit, the abusive use of drugs and alcohol becomes normal. With ongoing abuse, drugs and alcohol are more than normal, they become a means for survival. Most addiction stories are not a couple of months. People start abusing substances in their teenage years or earlier and continue using for a long time. Even if they weren’t using at a highly abusive level, they were still putting mind altering substances into their bodies. Combining the presence of substances with the other mental triggers, they created permanent associations and memories in their brain causing a deeply psychological reliance. Once people enter recovery and learn to live without drugs and alcohol, it can feel as though they are being forced to walk on broken legs without a crutch. It takes time. It takes effort. It takes dedication. Recovery isn’t easy. Staying sober and taking recovery one day at a time certainly is.
Recovery isn’t without its challenges and triggering moments. Those moments put recovery to the test. Two choices arise in the face of conflict and they are relatively black and white: you’ll either get through it without using, or you’re going to use. A critical and harmful belief can get in the way of choosing the first option: relapse. Some people advocate that relapse is a natural and acceptable part of the story because a recovering addict or alcoholic cannot help themselves but use. Relapse does happen, but it does not have to.
Here are some of Hired Power’s reasons why believing the narrative that relapse is part of the recovery story is a dangerous falsehood:
- Believing that relapse is part of the story makes it more difficult to conceive the idea of permanent,continuous recovery without episodic use of drugs and alcohol
- Enables the inconsequential thinking of addiction which disregards the pain, suffering, and loss which can occur during a relapse.
- Minimizes the risk of death and overdose during relapse. Many don’t’ realize that with each detox their body initially becomes weaker. Returning to the most recently used amount of substances and putting that into a newly clean body can be fatal. Though the brain thinks the amount of substances is familiar, it will be toxic to the body. Relapse is never a guarantee.
- Relapse and recovery don’t go hand in hand. Once chemical dependency takes hold again, there is no telling when someone might back to recovery- if they make it back at all.
- The relapse narrative helps addicts and alcoholics hold on to the idea that they can drink and use again, getting in the way of the important process of surrender.
Hired Power wants to help your loved one stay in recovery for a lifetime. From safe passage transportation to transition planning and recovery coaches, our team is here to help you make your recovery work for you. For more information, call us today at 1-800-910-9299.