• Scott McClure

Relapse Does Not Mean a Failed Recovery: Why you Must Not Lose Hope



If you’ve been through a relapse, it can be easy to assume that you have failed at your battle against addiction. You can move straight into the negative zone with feelings of guilt, shame and regrets. In fact, this may be the biggest obstacle in your way to recovery: the feeling that you’ve ruined it all.


If you have had a history of substance abuse, here’s why you must carry on being a warrior during an addiction relapse.


Addiction is a Disease, Not a Behavioral Disorder


Substance addiction is compulsive and chronic, and instances of relapse are not uncommon among those who are fighting through it. It causes structural and chemical changes to the brain, which make it a brain disorder and not a behavioral choice or bad habit, contrary to the widely accepted misconception. Alcohol and drug abuse significantly impact the reward centers of the brain, as well as other functions of learning, decision-making, memorizing and behaving under certain situations. While these structural distortions in the brain are reversible, it takes time to heal the damage that substance addiction may have already caused.


Relapse—More The Rule Than Exception


According to research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, nearly 60 percent of all recovering addicts relapse in less than 1 year of substance abuse treatment. Relapsing in addiction recovery from alcohol and substance abuse is common. According to the NIDA, people struggling with hypertension, asthma, and Type 1 diabetes show the same rates of relapse from the medications and treatments—which isn’t good news but re-affirmation that the issue is related to chemical imbalances in the brain and body that can be difficult to fight constantly.


Relapse is an Opportunity, Not a Failure


Instead of assuming that you’ve lost your fight against substance abuse, analyze your experience and identify areas where it went wrong. Take it as an opportunity to rework your recovery strategies and coping tools. Point out the situations, people and moments that triggered you to obtain the substance, and use these insights to avoid substance consumption in the future.


Relapse Is Not an Accident; It’s a Process


Relapse doesn’t just occur because of a certain stimulus. There are several signs and factors that lead to it and you must recognize, for instance:


· Thinking it was fun to obtain drugs or alcohol

· Worrying you won’t be able to survive without it

· Feelings of isolation and loneliness

· Getting anxious, frustrated and unable to deal with cravings

· Being impatient with the addiction recovery process and treatments

· Denying that you have a problem and a possibility of relapse


What’s the Takeaway?


You need to understand that having relapsed isn’t an indicator of being a failure; it’s only an indication of being a resilient fighter and trying, once again, to live a healthy and clean life. If, at any point, you feel like it’s slipping away from your hands, get in touch with a recovery house in Houston, TX.  At a sober living community in Houston like Life Launch that offers all the comforts of home, you can work on your journey without worrying about any additional factors. To let us know about your case, contact us at 713.266.1507.

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