Content medically reviewed by Vicky Magobet, PMHNP-BC, on February 1, 2021.
Many individuals recovering from drug or alcohol addiction equate relapse with failure, defeat and hopelessness. Yet, relapse is nothing to be ashamed of. Whether you've slipped up once or many times, relapse is a part of the recovery process for many.
Relapse is frustrating, and you may feel like giving up and giving in to the addiction you've worked so hard to overcome. Instead, use this experience as a learning tool. Understanding what you can do when you experience relapse will lay the foundation for lifelong recovery and a better life.
Absolutely not. Addiction is characterized by its chronic and relapsing nature. For some, returning to drug or alcohol use after attempting to quit is part of the process. It's estimated that 40% to 60% of those with a substance use disorder experience relapse at some point. Addiction should be treated like other chronic illnesses, like hypertension or asthma. Relapse should serve as a sign that current treatment should be modified or a new program attempted.
Whether it's a fleeting desire to use or a temporary moment of weakness, those in recovery need to be hypervigilant. There are some red flags you can look out for that can cause relapse if you're not careful, such as:
Whether your relapse was an isolated occurrence or you've fallen back into a pattern of substance misuse, you may need the structure and stability of an addiction treatment program. Even if you've gone through inpatient rehab before, your focus here should be on what it will take to transition back to regular life.
Find a program that uses cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to ensure you're able to identify and address triggers. Explore adjunct therapies and activities like art, yoga and exercise to learn how to relax and refocus. Make sure your program knows if you have an underlying mental health condition like anxiety or depression. Then, once your treatment is complete, use the strategies and tools you learned to feel more empowered and prepared.
Don’t allow relapse to keep you in a cycle of shame and substance misuse. Find the help you need at Diamond House Detox. At our home-like facility in Northern California, you'll find evidence-based treatment and care to help you fight addiction once and for all. Contact us to get started.