The decision to use alcohol or drugs after a period of sobriety will have a significant impact on your life. The urge to relapse can appear to come out of nowhere, which is why it is vital you are able to appreciate the likely consequences of taking this step. This knowledge may be enough to help you step back from doing something that will almost certainly be a mistake. Below are just some of the things you can expect to happen if you relapse back to addiction.
A Deep Feeling of Regret
That first drink or drug after relapse is usually a huge let down. Maybe you will get a bit of relief, but it will soon be overshadowed by a deep sense of regret. You have probably put a huge amount of effort into rebuilding your life, yet here you are back at square one. It can feel as if all of those dreams you had for your new life have just been snatched away from you. This feeling of regret is something almost all people who relapse report. Alcoholics Anonymous say that a head full of recovery and a belly full of beer just don’t mix. Wise words.
Loss of Pride
Getting your life back together is likely to have led to a real sense of pride. You have started to do the right thing, giving you the confidence that the right things will start happening to you. Those who are in early recovery can still be dealing with a lot of self-loathing, but a growing sense of pride in your accomplishments will be helping you develop some more self-compassion. If you relapse then you are likely to lose this sense of pride, which opens to door to even more self-hatred than before.
Loss of Control
Some people do manage to show restraint after a relapse. This illusion of control can then convince them that they are now safe to use alcohol or drugs; this, though, is just part of the addictive process. It is not usually possible to stay in control using will power for long and eventually things will begin to deteriorate again. Some individuals lose control as soon as they relapse but for others it takes a few months.
Lack of Motivation to Improve Your Life
It is unlikely that you are going to be able to do much to improve your life if you return to using alcohol or drugs. This behaviour just generates too much destruction in your life, using up too much of your energy. You may still have a very deep desire to improve your situation, but your motivation will not be enough to make it happen; you need to be sober for real change to occur.
A Deterioration in Your Situation
Most who relapse do not end up back where they started – they usually end up in an even worse situation. Some people find that the nature of their suffering changes after a relapse, being far more intense. The pain of being caught up in addiction is made worse by the fact that you have tasted something better in recovery.
Disappointed Loved Ones
If you relapse then it is likely to come as a huge disappointed to those who care about you. They may have pinned all of their hopes on you changing this time, but now you have taking this away from them. It may be hard for them to trust you again in the future. Your loved ones have probably suffered a lot because of your addiction; a relapse will mean they suffer even further.