Is Relapse Part of the Recovery Process?

For many men and women attempting to overcome addiction and alcoholism, relapse is a part of their recovery journey. However, this does not mean that relapse is a necessary part of addiction recovery. Although relapse is common, with enough open-mindedness, honesty, and willingness, it is entirely possible to one to overcome addiction without relapsing at some point in the process.
Addiction is a disease, and like other diseases, symptoms can reoccur. The National Institute on Drug Abuse 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.” Relapse is not a sign of failure and is very common in recovery, but it does not have to be a necessary part of the recovery process.
Successful treatment requires changing behaviors that have become normalized by men and women suffering from addiction. For this reason, detoxification is not enough to give someone the opportunity to maintain sobriety. There are many psychological and behavioral issues that must be addressed for one to develop the tools necessary to maintain sobriety. Often, men and women in early sobriety will feel better and let up on their program of recovery, mistakenly believing that they are “cured” of addiction.
Ruben Castaneda, in a 2017 U.S. News Health article entitled Why Do Alcoholics and Addicts Relapse So Often, explains, “Some people in recovery experience a ‘pink cloud’ during the first weeks or months of abstinence, a euphoric feeling of well-being. That wears off, and the addict or alcoholic in recovery must do the hard work of learning how to deal with life’s ups and downs without reaching for a drink or drugs.” This is commonly referred to as “resting on your laurels” and is a common sign that a relapse may be coming. If we are able to stay engaged and meet the challenges of our recovery program, there is no reason why we will be unable to maintain long-term sobriety.

Your story doesn’t have to be one of suffering as a result of addiction and alcoholism. You can make the decision to seek help now and embark upon the rewarding journey of recovery. Oceanfront Recovery, located in beautiful Laguna Beach, is staffed with caring and compassionate professionals dedicated to helping clients develop all the tools necessary to achieve and maintain a fulfilling life in sobriety. For information about treatment options, please call today: (877) 279-1777