A lot of people who enter rehab and addiction therapy relapse shortly after completing their program. Because of this occurrence, many ask their counselors, “Is relapse an essential part of recovery?” The answer is more complicated than you might imagine.
If you are the loved one of an addict, the last thing that you want to see happen after they have received counseling is to relapse. Likewise, if you are the addict and are serious about your commitment to sobriety, you do not want to relapse either. The reality is that a large portion of recovering addicts slip up at least once—some, multiple times. If the addict falls into relapse, realizes their mistake and jumps back on track, that relapse could have been an essential part of their recovery. If an addict continues to relapse again and again, it could be a telltale sign that they are not ready to commit to sobriety.
The Expectations of Recovery
One reason that addicts fall into relapse is because their expectations of recovery are not accurate or they are unfulfilled. Some start their journey thinking that getting sober will be easy for them, realizing shortly that it is not. Others fall into what is known as the “honeymoon phase” of recovery—addiction therapy is over, they are clean and feel great and then relapse occurs. Consider climbers on Mount Everest. For many who start that treacherous journey, it is not the route up that kills them, but coming down. They become overwhelmed with their accomplishment and confident to a fault—costing the climbers their lives.
Cutting Off the Noise
Some addicts relapse after recovery due to strong emotions that are stirred up by an event, person or place. In these cases, life becomes so overwhelming that they feel as if self-medicating with a controlled substance is their only option. This is where a good counselor can make a huge difference. It is important that addicts have a strong support system after completing their program, and that they are comfortable reaching out and getting additional help during weak moments. This can be the switch that cuts off the loud noises in life that drive the addict into a relapse. Recovery is not a short process. It is an extended endeavor that the addict must work towards every day for the remainder of their life, and this cannot be done alone.
A major player in relapse is the addict failing to complete their program, ceasing their counseling or discontinuing communication with their vital support system. Addicts who do not finish comprehensive care are significantly more likely to relapse than those who do. Remember your physician always harping about completely finishing your antibiotics, even if you feel totally fine? Addiction therapy is the same way.
Seek Addiction Therapy During Relapse
If you or someone that you know has been through a recovery program and relapsed, it is critical that they receive the care that they need to get back into recovery once again. For more information, visit our addiction treatment page or contact a representative with South Coast Counseling today.