The risk of relapse is a very real threat to those in recovery from any type of addiction. After a programme of rehabilitation, the individual may feel on top of the world and be convinced that he or she will never take drugs or drink alcohol again. This is a great feeling for many people but it is important to realise that these feelings rarely last. Just as those who have never been addicted to a particular substance will have good and bad days, so too will those in recovery from addiction. However, the difference is that those in recovery can be at risk of relapse when having a bad day.
Main Causes of Relapse
There is no one definitive reason someone will suffer a relapse during recovery. The early days are always tough but it is thought that those who do succumb to temptation have done so by failing to avoid medications or mood altering drugs, by failing to follow their 12-step programme, or by failing to be honest with themselves and those around them.
One of the most important changes that an addict must make is to be honest. For many years, he or she will no doubt have been dishonest with those around them as well as to themselves. The reality is that dishonesty is a way of life for many addicts. Those who start lying to themselves and their loved ones will usually feel guilty about it, and this can cause them to turn to alcohol or drugs again in a bid to quash these feelings.
Individuals who fail to follow their 12-step programme are immediately at risk of relapse. By neglecting the recovery programme, recovering addicts may find that their resolve starts to wane and that they begin rationalising their bad actions and romanticising about the days when they were using.
Taking any type of medication during recovery is always risky but even more so when that medication can alter the mood. It is important that recovering addicts think carefully before taking any medication. It is a good idea to speak to a GP or counsellor about alternative ways to deal with pain.
Other Things to Consider
Many things can cause a relapse, and recovering addicts are often warned about various emotions that can lead them down the slippery slope towards addiction again. Feelings of hunger, anger, loneliness, and fatigue can all be dangerous during recovery and should be avoided if possible.
Some recovering addicts may also suffer from disappointment brought on by unrealistic expectations of recovery. They may be expecting to feel great all of the time or for their life to suddenly become fantastic as soon as they have stopped taking drugs or drinking alcohol. They fail to realise that recovery takes time and so they can begin feeling disillusioned with the whole idea of recovery. When these feelings take hold, the affected individual may feel that he or she was better off when drinking or taking drugs and can end up back where they started.
Others risk relapse by becoming complacent and assuming that they are strong enough to renew old friendships or do things that they used to do when they were addicted. They believe that they can hang out with friends who still take drugs or drink alcohol without being affected. This is often a big mistake and can lead to temptations.
If you are in recovery but find yourself tempted by drugs or alcohol, it is important that you get help immediately. You need to speak to someone who can remind you why you wanted to give up in the first place. Family members or a trained counsellor can help in this situation. For advice and support from a qualified counsellor or therapist, call Rehab Helper today.