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Reasons for relapsing in recovery and ways to address them

Recovery from alcohol and substance abuse is tough as one encounters multiple challenges along the way. Relapse is a real part of recovery and it happens when the expectations and realities clash. It is important to understand that this does not mean the end of the road and there is a life beyond.

The person in recovery shouldn’t berate himself/herself for failing to live up to others’ expectations. When relapse happens, one should reflect on the underlying causes that led to the condition. This will prepare the individual to be more careful the next time and walk the path of sobriety without repeating the mistakes.

Here are some of the reasons that could trigger a relapse:

  1. Poor planning while transitioning from rehab to home – When one is at a rehab, he/she gets plenty of resources and support system to maintain sobriety. But when the time comes to go back home, it is indispensable to ensure absence of all triggers, which can spark a relapse or even a thought about it. The recovering person can ask a friend or any loved one to stay with him/her to help with routine tasks and act as a pillar of support. Addiction affects a person psychologically and physically therefore, one must stay strong on all the fronts and not dilute the efforts after walking out of the rehab.
  2. Not taking out time to de-stress – One can get overwhelmingly stressed out during recovery as it implies staring life from scratch. The efforts need to be redirtected at improving relationships, career, finances and social circle, which can get unnerving. It is important to not rush and take one day at a time. By working slowly and steadily on oneself, a person can remain sober for long.
  3. Going without breaks – Holidays are the times to rejoice but for a recovering person, it can be the reason for distress looking at people, friends or family enjoying their drinks or doing bar hopping. One way to enjoy the vacation without relapsing is by staying firm about one’s abstinence and instead, attending alcohol- and drug-free parties, having sober friends and politely refusing drinks offered by others.
  4. Thinking of substance abuse again when sobriety is maintained for long – This is a negative thought process as a person entertaining the idea will never be able to dissociate the self from an addiction. One must fully understand that recovery calls for total abstinence and once sobriety is achieved, there is no room for the addiction-forming substance.
  5. Weakening social networking – In recovery, one needs friends and loved ones who support his/her sobriety goals and do not jeopardize the recovering person’s health in any way. A rock-solid support system can also act as a medium to discuss about life and seek solutions to daily challenges. Absence of such a support system can generate feelings of isolation and low self-worth leading to poor mental health.
  6. Not treating the dual diagnosis – Oftentimes, either a mental illness fuels an addiction or an addiction paves the way for mental health disorders. The co-existence is called a dual diagnosis condition. It is indispensable to seek treatment for the underlying mental illness in the absence of which one is likely to relapse.

Seeking path to sobriety

Sometimes, a relapse happens even when one has the best-laid plans or everything is going smooth. One should accept the situation, remain positive and work on improvements. When it does happen, the fate of the person depends on the steps that one takes afterward. First, it is important to forgive the self and secondly, to continue taking the treatment until it restores self-confidence and determination.

If you have a loved one grappling with an addiction, you can contact the 24/7 Recovery Helpline for drug addiction help online. Our representatives can provide you information on some of the country’s best drug and alcohol abuse treatment centers near you. You can call our 24/7 alcohol helpline 855-441-4405 or chat with an expert to know about reputed substance abuse treatment centers.

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