When Friends in Recovery Relapse

Overcoming addiction requires that we make a promise to ourselves that we are willing to go to any lengths for victory over drugs and alcohol. Not everyone is willing to go through the process of recovery and many people fall victim to the delusion that they can drink or use again after some time sober. It can be difficult coming to terms with a friend’s relapse, but rather than allow it to negatively affect our own recovery, we can use it as an opportunity to strengthen our program.
Relapse is common in recovery and we are likely to see someone close to us go through it. The National Institute on Drug Abuse explains, “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. For a person recovering from addiction, lapsing back to drug use indicates that treatment needs to be reinstated or adjusted or that another treatment should be tried.” We may be confused, upset, or depressed when someone close to us relapses, but it does not mean they will never recover.
Recovery is a lifelong process of spiritual and personal growth. Every day we do our best to practice the principles of recovery in all our affairs. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous explains, “It is easy to let up on the spiritual program of action and rest on our laurels. We are headed for trouble if we do, for alcohol is a subtle foe. We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition.” People relapse for a variety of reasons, even after being sober for years. Often, they begin letting up on their recovery practices, or believe that their years in sobriety are an indication that they are now “cured” of addiction or alcoholism.
We cannot allow ourselves to become angry or upset when a friend in recovery relapses. Everyone has a different experience in journey toward sobriety. Sometimes, a relapse can be an important step toward realizing just how painful living in active addiction really is. We can offer our support if they are willing to enter back into recovery, but we cannot control whether another person is sober or not. We can, however, use the situation as a learning experience. We can use their experience to safeguard our own sobriety by looking at what happened and why they chose to do drugs or drink again. It is difficult to see a friend relapse, but it may simply be another step toward their achievement of lifelong sobriety.

Your story doesn’t have to be one of pain and suffering as a result of addiction. You can begin building a brighter future by making the decision to seek help now. Oceanfront Recovery, located in beautiful Laguna Beach, offers highly effective treatment options tailored to each client’s individual needs and the unique challenges they face in recovery. For information about individualized treatment options, please call today: (877) 279-1777