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What Counts as a Relapse?

man feels stress from relapse triggers

Everyone who enters a treatment program for addiction lives with the fear of relapse.  Relapse can occur when an individual in recovery returns to drug or alcohol use after a significant period of sobriety.  For some people, the experience of relapse can strengthen their commitment to their recovery journey, while for others relapse may mean a complete loss of hope.  It is important to define relapse in the recovery context, as well as to take every measure to prevent it. Relapse is not necessary to recovery, but it is a realistic possibility that all those in treatment for addiction should be mindful of.  Additionally, if relapse should occur, it doesn’t have to mean failure. While relapse usually refers to using drugs or alcohol after during addiction recovery, it is sometimes seen as separate from an event that is considered a “slip” or “lapse”.  During a slip, a person in recovery might use drugs or alcohol once, and immediately regret their choice. These incidents, if kept from spiraling into a catastrophic relapse, may be used to reinforce the individual’s motivation towards a sober lifestyle.  Those in recovery that do experience isolated slips often have a bad experience and are reminded of all the reasons they chose to leave substance abuse behind. While a slip might ultimately lead to a positive redirection, it remains incredibly risky to dabble with substances when you know you have an addiction. For those that are unable to turn around at the first return to drugs or alcohol, one time might be enough to create the domino effect of relapse.  Relapse can be a deeply disheartening and painful experience for the user and their loved ones. While addiction often causes feelings of guilt and shame, relapse can feel even more humiliating because it is associated with failure.  It is important to understand that no matter how many times you have relapsed or to what extent, recovery is still possible. With the right support, you can turn your relapse into a learning experience and say goodbye to substance abuse for good.

If you or someone you love and know is struggling with addiction, now is the time to reach out for assistance. At Arbor Behavioral Healthcare, you will meet knowledgeable, compassionate professionals that understand addiction in all its forms.  The Arbor uses an holistic and integrative approach to treat addiction and mental health issues. No treatment is one-size-fits-all, and at The Arbor you’ll have a team of experts ready to create your customized treatment plan.  We offer care for your mind, body, and spirit, so that you can heal from the inside out and look forward to a lifetime of sobriety and wellness. If you are ready to take the first step in your recovery, please call us at 844-413-2690.