Why Relapse Doesn’t Mean that You Failed

Why Relapse Doesn’t Mean that You Failed

A person who has never suffered from addiction can find it hard to understand a cycle of recovery and relapse.  Think about this, though.  Have you ever tried a diet for weight loss?  Many people lose weight, stop their diet, and then regain some or all of the weight.  When this happens, you may feel like you’ve failed.  After all, you returned to old habits of poor eating that caused you to need a diet in the first place.

However, you don’t necessarily give in and start eating bonbons all day.  You go back on your diet, lose the weight again, and learn a lesson along the way about positive behavioral changes and what happens when you revert to bad habits.

Obviously, addiction is more serious, but the same basic principle can apply.  When you emerge from your program for alcohol detox Southern California, you may have an incredible fear of relapse, or more to the point, of failing to maintain your sobriety.  You should know that you’re not alone in this feeling, and more importantly, you won’t be the only one to relapse.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that relapse rates for those in addiction treatment are about 40-60%, which is similar to rates for chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension.  The NIDA has also defined addiction as “a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences”.

The important thing to remember is that you can pick yourself up and get back on the wagon when you fall off.  Addiction is more than just a bad habit that you can break through willpower alone.  You’re going to need help and there’s a chance you’re going to relapse following alcohol, meth, MDMA, or heroin detox Orange County.  This is not a failure and you need to know why.

Addiction is a Disease

What is the difference between a habit and a disease?  If you asked the average person, they would probably tell you a habit is something you have a choice in, something you have control over, whereas a disease just strikes.  While you may not have complete control over a disease, that doesn’t mean it’s not treatable.

What makes addiction a disease?  Like other diseases, it changes the way your body works.  Diabetes affects your body’s ability to create and regulate insulin.  Hypertension increases the pressure at which blood flows through your body, damaging arteries and causing your pulmonary system to function less efficiently.

Similarly, addiction affects your brain chemistry and the way your brain functions (in addition to other physical detriments).  Your pleasure center becomes irregular and functions like learning, memory, judgment, and behavior are impacted, as well.  This is one of the reasons why relapse is so common and why you may have to try more than once to succeed in your recovery plan.

Recovery after Alcohol Detox Southern California Requires Personalization

There’s no one set path for recovery.  Recovering addicts must find their own ways to cope with addiction, overcome it, and lead a sober and healthy life.  For some, this means attending addiction recovery meetings.  For others, it means cutting out triggers and temptations and rebuilding one’s life from the ground up.

You may have to stay in rehab longer than other recovering addicts, depending on your level of addiction.  You may need more intensive therapy, or prescription medications that help you to gradually taper off your addiction.  The process is different for everyone.

A relapse simply means that something isn’t working and you need to try something else.  If you can’t get your car to start, do you give up and go back to walking everywhere?  No, you ask a friend for help or take it to a professional mechanic to get it fixed.

A relapse is not complete failure, it’s merely a setback that helps you to spot a flaw in your recovery plan so you can try something new.  You can choose to view it as a positive thing if you learn a lesson and grow stronger and more capable in the process.

Recovery Isn’t Instantaneous

When you have diabetes or hypertension, your diagnosis doesn’t infer an immediate cure.  You have to work to heal your body and recover your health.  The same is true of addiction.  Just because you go through alcohol or heroin detox Orange County doesn’t mean your journey is at an end – your recovery is just beginning and there are going to be ups and downs.

You may not be able to quit cold turkey, for one thing, and this can feel like a failure in and of itself.  Or you might have no trouble maintaining sobriety in a controlled environment like rehab, but struggle once you’re back in the real world and facing temptation.  This is extremely common.  You may have to set small goals, such as staying sober for a few weeks or months, or even taking it day by day.

Do not lose hope if you suffer a relapse.  As Wayne Gretzky famously said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”  If you keep trying, you have a chance to succeed.  It’s only when you stop trying that you’ve truly failed.

No Comments

Post A Comment