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What Do I Do If I Relapse?

Relapse is common in recovery and is not a sign of failure. Many men and women in recovery stumbled at some point in their sobriety before finally achieving complete recovery. Relapse can, in some cases, be a way to reinforce our desire for sobriety and cause us to engage more thoroughly in a recovery program of action.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, about 40 to 60 percent of people relapse after treatment. The NIDA explains, “The chronic nature of the disease means that relapsing to drug abuse at some point is not only possible, but likely. Relapse rates (i.e., how often symptoms recur) for people with addiction and other substance use disorders are similar to relapse rates for other well-understood chronic medical illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, and asthma, which also have both physiological and behavioral components. Treatment of chronic diseases involves changing deeply imbedded behaviors, and relapse does not mean treatment has failed.” Any period of time in sobriety is a step forward in overcoming addiction. If we experience a relapse, we cannot give up on the possibility of achieving and maintaining sobriety.

Narcotics Anonymous, a 12-Step fellowship focused on recovery from drug addiction, explains in Recovery and Relapse, “Many people think that recovery is simply a matter of not using drugs. They consider a relapse a sign of complete failure, and long periods of abstinence a sign of complete success. We in the recovery program of Narcotics Anonymous have found that this perception is too simplistic. After a member has had some involvement in our fellowship, a relapse may be the jarring experience that brings about a more rigorous application of the program.” The experience should not cause us to feel that our recovery program has failed us, rather, it should cause us to thoroughly examine where we may have let up or strayed from the work. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous warns, “It is easy to let up on the spiritual program of action and rest on our laurels.” When a relapse occurs, we are given the choice to either admit defeat and live a life of suffering in active addiction, or summon the courage to get back to our recovery program and pursue a life of happiness, joyousness, and freedom in sobriety.

Recovery is possible. Once we concede to the fact that our addiction is a problem and we require help to overcome it, we can begin the rewarding journey of recovery. Resilient House, located in beautiful Shreveport, Louisiana, brings together the highest quality behavioral health and addictions specialists, spiritual guides, and holistic experts to help clients develop all the necessary tools to achieve a fulfilling life in sobriety. For information about treatment options, please call today: (833) 242-6431