If you have overcome addiction and are working hard on your recovery, then you have most likely learned that you are always one step away from relapse.
Relapse is real – and it can happen. It will take everything you have worked so hard for and throw it out with the trash. Or does it?
Relapse is not an endpoint. It is a step in the right direction after a small bump in the road.And the only ones to truly understand the cause, feeling, and healing from a relapse are those who have experienced it. So, let’s look at 7 myths that are commonly known – and believed. Then let’s debunk them.
If You Relapse, You Have Failed
First of all, know this: YOU are not a failure. Even if you relapse and never find your way back to the sober ground, you are not a failure.
Fighting your addiction may be the most difficult battle you will ever face. Finding yourself dealing with a relapse is not your fault, nor is the fault of your treatment, your therapist, your support group, etc. In fact, looking at relapse as if it were a failure is a surefire way to land yourself with feelings of guilt, self-hatred, shame, worthlessness, and so much more.
Instead, relapse ought to be viewed as another part of the road to recovery. It happens – to a lot of people. Dust yourself off and start moving forward again. You’ll be fine.
Having One Night of Fun with Your Chosen Substance Is Not a Relapse
This thought should never cross your mind. Unfortunately, many people believe that having fun with a different drug, or even taking a legal prescription drug won’t hurt. After all, it is just one time.
A relapse can be defined as a moment of declining health after a bout of steadily improving health. So while on the recovery road, if you decide to have one night of fun, then yes, it is a relapse. Your health will decline.
Remember, it only takes one hit or one sip to sidetrack your recovery.
It’s Okay to Use as Long as You Avoid the “Harder” Drugs
For some reason, this is often discussed. For instance, if someone is in treatment for cocaine addiction or opioid addiction, drinking alcohol is still not a good idea. While it may seem like a lighter drug, it can impair your thinking and can potentially lead you to make poor choices.
To succeed in recovery, you will want to avoid all drugs – especially those that can alter your mind and your judgment.
Friends, Family Can’t Do Anything for You to Prevent Relapse
Where is your faith in your friends and family? True, your addiction was your own and you are ultimately the one in charge of your recovery. No one else can make you do anything. But, that doesn’t mean that they can’t do anything for you to prevent a relapse.
When you were in treatment, you likely heard about the importance of having a support system. This consists of a group of individuals who have your best interests in mind. Your friends and family are there for you – to help you to stand and offer support when you aren’t feeling strong.
You will have moments of weakness and uncertainty. This is when you can lean on your support beams. And, this is how they can help you avoid a relapse.
Those Who Are Most Dedicated to Their Recovery Won’t Relapse
The thing about recovery is that as soon as you are starting to succeed, you have the risk of a relapse. There is no picking and choosing who this will happen to. Anyone can relapse.
Of course, the more dedicated you are to your recovery, the stronger you may feel. You may have more coping skills and amore powerful support system. But addiction is ugly – and relapse can happen despite everything you do.
There’s Nothing You Can Do to Prevent Relapse
This couldn’t be further from the truth. There is plenty you can do to prevent a relapse. You don’t go through treatment for no reason, right? You learn valuable lessons there that can help you when you are feeling tempted, or when you find yourself in a moment of weakness.
- Use your coping skills.
- Seek support from those around you.
- Be open and honest.
You are stronger than you think. You spend weeks, days, and months practicing, learning, and growing in recovery so that when moments of potential relapse arise, you know what to do.
Sober Living Does Not Help Deter You from Relapsing
Sober living facilities are one of the best places to head after treatment. Did you know that nearly 75% of those in recovery will relapse within the first year?
Choosing a sober living home after treatment means that you can continue to grow and learn in a safe environment. You have the support from those residents you share a home with, and you have guidance to face the stresses of daily life.
Getting thrown back into your old life – and having to be strong and overcome it while remaining sober – is a golden opportunity for relapse. With a sober living home, you can ease your way back in, reducing your chance for relapse.
Your recovery is important. And, while everyone wants to remain sober without ever having a relapse, it may very well happen when you least expect it. Though it is hard, you must get back up and keep going. The more we talk about relapse, the more we can understand that it is a real possibility, but it doesn’t have the final say in your recovery. And, it doesn’t mean you haven’t hit “bottom” yet. It means you’ve had a lapse in recovery. You will be just fine.