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Does Relapse Equal Failure?

One misconception that many people have about addiction recovery is that relapse means treatment has failed.  It is important to understand that addiction is a disease, much like diabetes, heart disease, asthma, or any number of other conditions.  It is something that must be carefully monitored and managed.  Experiencing an occasional relapse does not mean that the person can never achieve lasting sobriety.  It is a learning process.

Recovery is an Ongoing Process

Not everyone who completes drug and alcohol addiction treatment goes through relapses.  Some are able to effectively apply what they have learned and remain sober once they leave.  However, many people do experience the occasional relapse.  They are put in situations where they are faced with temptation and stress and may slip up.  Remember – one does not become an addict overnight.  It occurs over a period of time.  Addiction alters the way the brain and body work.  It takes time to overcome these changes and make adjustments to one’s lifestyle and behaviors.

Recovery is an ongoing process.  Much like addiction, it does not occur overnight either.  People must develop a plan to help them cope and deal with the challenges that they face.  Many people quickly realize when they have made a poor choice.  They learn from these mistakes and it helps them to develop more effective strategies for the future.  They build their arsenal of tools and resources and become a stronger person.

The Importance of Planning

One essential part of the recovery process is planning for the future.  The more people understand the causes and triggers linked to their addiction, the more effectively they can work through them.  They can learn to avoid or diffuse these triggers and tempting situations.  By implementing more constructive ways to deal with stress and manage their life, they can reduce their risk of relapsing.  It is important to have a strong support network on which to rely.  When things get tough, people have others to turn to who understand what they are going through and can encourage them to continue making positive decisions.

Relapse Does Not Mean Failure

If someone should happen to relapse and drink or use again, they should not let this destroy the progress that they have made.  They can bounce back and continue on the path to sobriety.  It is important that they reach out for help and focus on their recovery plan.  They should not be embarrassed or ashamed of their actions.  It is imperative, however, that they do not keep using and learn from their mistakes.  Seeking help is often necessary to do this.  Just like riding a bike, if they fall off, they need to get back up and try again.  They may need to try new strategies or methods to help them deal with these triggers or stressful situations.  Talking to their counselor or support system can help them to refocus and get back on track.  Each day is a fresh start and another step in the journey to sobriety.

Contact Chapters Capistrano today to find out how we can support you in your journey to sobriety.  Our comprehensive program guides patients along every step of the way and helps them to learn effective strategies for dealing with their addiction.  Lasting recovery is possible with the right tools and resources.