Relapse is Common, But it Does NOT Mean Failure

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For those who haven’t experienced addiction before, the recovery process may seem simple and direct. Once you admit your need for help, you go to Arizona rehab, get sober and return home. Then you stay sober. Sounds simple enough, right? However, anyone who has been through addiction before knows that this isn’t the case.

In reality, recovery is a series of ups and downs, and relapse is often a part of this process. This doesn’t mean that everyone will relapse, but you’re actually more likely to relapse after treatment than stay sober on the first try. In fact, studies show that 70 to 90 percent of people in recovery will experience at least one mild to moderate slip up.

We share this information with you for two reasons. First, we feel it’s important for our clients to have realistic expectations about the recovery process. Second, relapse is not failure. It is a natural part of the process for many. If it happens, it’s important to get help immediately so that you don’t return to your old ways.

Why is Relapse So Common in Recovery?

Relapse is most likely to happen in the first 90 days of abstinence, as this is the period when you’re most vulnerable. You’re learning new skills and tools to stay sober, while fighting powerful cravings. This is why it’s ideal to participate in a three-month drug rehab in Arizona, as this gives you the strongest foundation.

Here are the main reasons why people relapse:

  • Unrealistic expectations. Recovery is a process – and it’s hard work! You can’t expect to get better overnight. You also can’t expect all of your problems to disappear with treatment.
  • Boredom. When you return home from rehab, it’s important to have an aftercare plan. This will help you prevent boredom. Too much free time can cause you to fantasize about drugs or alcohol.
  • Fear. Most addicts are afraid of the recovery process. Our brains are hardwired to become uncomfortable with unfamiliar things, so this is normal. But if you can’t manage your fear, it could cause you to revert back to old habits.
  • Mental health. It’s extremely important that any mental health conditions are also diagnosed and treated during alcohol rehab in AZ. If they aren’t, they can make it difficult to cope.
  • Triggers. Triggers can come from different people, places and things. It’s best to avoid your triggers as much as possible, as your brain is currently hardwired to be reactive to these cues.

Does Relapse Mean I’ve Failed Recovery?

Absolutely not. Relapse is a part of the recovery process for many, and it does not mean that you go back to square one. What it does mean, however, is that you have more work to do. You might need more therapy to work through underlying issues, or you might need to increase your attendance at 12-step meetings.

Obviously, relapse should be avoided. But it’s also important to know that if it happens, you need to tell someone and get back on track with your aftercare plan. If you return to regular substance use, it means you’re giving up on recovery, at least for the time being.

Wolf Creek Recovery is an outpatient Arizona treatment center. Contact us today to learn about our various levels of care, including our Extended Care Program.