The journey of recovery for an addict is sometimes met with hardships such as chronic relapse. Addiction is something that may start off as just a habit. Eventually, it takes over your life. It becomes something you cannot break from without help. For those that decide to get help, rehab is typically the best method of treatment. Many people get completely clean through rehab, but then relapse happens. There is no one specific reason people relapse but several. Some may relapse only once while others continue a process of rehab and relapse. Chronic relapse is frustrating not only for the addict but also their loved ones. Understanding reasons for relapse may help you end the process of chronic relapse.
Relapse can make you depressed. After you worked hard to get clean, something happens, and you are back to your old habits. You may feel like a failure or like nothing will be able to help you. The thing you need to understand is that addiction is a disease. Take for instance a disease like leukemia. There are times where that disease can go into remission. Remission is where the disease goes dormant and has no effect on the body. The disease may be triggered and come out of remission; this is same way relapse happens in an addict. It is almost like you get clean and that desire goes into remission. Sometimes trauma or other things trigger that desire again which causes you to relapse.
Relapse may seem like a terrible phenomenon for a recovering addict, but it is a normal part of recovery. The good thing is you already have the tools you need for recovery. When you go through rehab and then relapse, it does not mean you forgot everything you learned. All of those skills and tools are still inside of you which sometimes makes recovery easier. The problem is relapse should not be continual. Constant relapse may be a result of your wrong decisions. You can be putting yourself in situations that contribute to your relapse.
Putting yourself in situations where you are tempted to relapse is not okay. If you were an alcoholic, it is not good to go to bars to hang out. If you were previously a drug addict, you should not hang out with those who used to sell you those drugs or put yourself in places where they are doing drugs. There are a few risk factors for relapse. Many people use their addiction as a reward mechanism. When the brain desires reward, some people go back to those bad habits. Internal factors are a huge factor. If you are over stressed or feeling depressed, relapse becomes probable. Mental illness is a factor. Those who suffer particularly from bipolar disorder or schizophrenia are more susceptible to relapse. These mood disorders can make you go from doing well with recovery to having episodes of chronic relapse. External situations like death and trauma have the potential to lead to relapse as well.
If you are unable to stay clean or sober, a new type of treatment may be necessary. Treatment now must shift from learning how to recover to learning how to prevent relapse. A therapist may focus on things that trigger relapse. When a person relapses once, recovery is reviewed, and they begin that process over again. When a person deals with chronic relapse, therapy must be focused on behavior changes. Chronic relapse is typically a result of that person not being responsible enough to stay away from situations that lead to relapse. Therapists address core issues as well. If there is internal turmoil, no matter how hard you try, recovery will not be long lived. Those things on the inside of you that you have not healed from will continue to haunt you and lead you down a path of relapse. The goal of the therapist in these instances is to find all possible reasons for relapse, address them, and help you see them. No one can make you quit, but you have to want to quit for yourself.
An important part of recovery is not staying down. If a relapse happens, you have to pick yourself back up and make up your mind you will not do it again. You also need a support system. No one should make you feel like a failure. They should be pushing you to recovery. Having a sponsor is a great way to stay recovered. Having someone that understands what you are going through, because they have been through it as well, is key, A sponsor is someone who has gone through recovery and been clean for more years than you have. They may have experienced relapse but have now been on a good path for years. Talking to someone like that is very helpful.
Chronic relapse does not have to be a continuing trend. Those who deal with chronic relapse must assess the reasons why. Some may think they can recover on their own, but they cannot. Someone suffering from chronic relapse needs a huge support team. One that includes family, friends, a sponsor, and therapist. It is good to be intentional about checking on that person and encouraging that person. Do not allow that person to feel like a failure or they may never attempt to recover. If you or someone you know has been going through trends of chronic relapse, see a therapist. Do not stay frustrated or disappointed in yourself. Forget the past, pick yourself up, and try again.
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