Despite common beliefs, relapse is a very common aspect of addiction recovery. When most people think of relapse, they associate it with being a “failure” or being “weak” – in fact, relapse is neither of these things, and it simply a learning experience. As humans, there are times when we will stumble or feel lost; it is through these moments that true learning and growth occurs. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), approximately 40%-60% of those in recovery relapse. If you’ve recently relapsed, the first thing you need to do is breathe and don’t be too hard on yourself.
The Australian Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF) emphasizes the importance of reframing relapse by learning from your mistakes, building a positive self-image, and setting future goals that don’t relate to substance abuse. In other words, consider this a time of reflection so that you can identify what lessons you’ve learned from your last relapse. Some questions to ponder on include:
- What triggered your last relapse and how can this information benefit you?
- What coping strategies did you employ when confronted with these triggers, and were they successful?
- What other resources could you use next time you experience triggers to prevent relapse from occurring?
- How did you feel after relapsing, and how could you use these feelings to help deter you from relapsing next time?
- What are some future goals that you can look forward to working on, and what steps do you need to take towards meeting these goals?
- How can you reframe your experience to be centered around learning, growth, change, being human, and moving forward with recovery?
- What other steps are necessary to help you move past this?
Sometimes relapse can provide us with the clues we need to alter or change aspects of our treatment. For example, perhaps you weren’t truly following a particular therapeutic approach, and your relapse showed you that you need to try a different therapy approach or you need your therapist to re-emphasize certain components of it. Now that you know this information, you can move forward even stronger and more confident than before.
If you’ve been struggling with addiction, seek help today by speaking with a professional from a reputable treatment center to learn more about addiction recovery programs. It’s never too late to begin your journey to recovery.
Simple Recovery is a world-renowned, California state-licensed substance abuse recovery center. We offer dual diagnosis treatment, so if you are experiencing both substance abuse and symptoms of a mental disorder, call us today at 888-743-0490 so that we can work with you to restore your happiness, health, and well-being. You do not have to continue living this way; there are many people here ready to help you.