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Relapse is Not a Failure: How to Deal with a Drug Relapse

A man comforting his wife and trying to help prevent her from relapsing.
Relapse doesn’t mean that you’ve failed. It just means you need some additional help getting back on the road to recovery.

Recovery is a way of life. It isn’t something that is just rewarded to you when you’ve completed rehab; rather, it’s something you have to work at every single day in order to maintain your sobriety.

Admittedly, this is an intimidating realization. The thought of relapse may trigger stress you’re trying to avoid in recovery. Or, if you’re currently struggling with addiction, it may turn you off from the idea of treatment.

Why? Well, it could be because you equate relapse with failure. But rest assured, relapse is not failure. Not by a long shot. Let’s take a look at what relapse really means and how to deal with it.

Changing Your Mindset about Relapse: Why It Doesn’t Mean Failure

Addiction is counting on us being our own worst enemy. It relies on shame, guilt, self-loathing and feelings of worthlessness in order to keep a grip on our lives.

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Relapse works the exact same way, almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you tell yourself you’re unable to recover or if you believe you’re going to relapse no matter what, those negative thoughts and feelings make you more vulnerable to drugs or alcohol. And if you do relapse, you believe you were right and tell yourself you failed.

But what if we looked at relapse differently? Think about this: According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the relapse rate is estimated to be between 40 and 60 percent.

At first glance, that statement can make you feel like you’re not strong enough to stay sober. At least, until you learn that the relapse rate for drug addiction is actually similar to the relapse rate for other chronic diseases like hypertension and asthma.

You wouldn’t shame someone if their asthma, heart disease or cancer came back, would you? Of course not! Rather, you’d do your best to empathize with them and help them as much as you possibly could.

While addiction has been highly stigmatized in the past, you need to remember that substance addiction is a chronic disease, too, and needs to be treated like one. This means continuing to seek treatment and support to get your disease under control again.

How to Deal with a Relapse

Relapse doesn’t mean you failed. Rather, it’s a normal part of recovery for some people and simply means you need to reevaluate your treatment plan with your doctor and resume treatment or try another treatment method.

If you have relapsed, don’t isolate yourself and feel that you’re undeserving of care and support. All your relapse means is that you need greater support and a treatment approach that works for you, so make sure to ask for help immediately.

If you’re currently struggling with addiction and haven’t sought out treatment before, don’t let the fear of failure stop you. You deserve a chance to regain a healthy and fulfilling life without drugs or alcohol, and the right treatment and support team can help you get back up if you fall.

Personalized Addiction Treatment at The Raleigh House

At The Raleigh House, we know how easy it can be to think of addiction and relapse as a personal failure. But the truth is, addiction is a chronic disease that takes an effective and personalized treatment approach to recover from. This is why we offer individualized treatment that leverages a range of evidence-based and holistic methods based on what works best for you.

Fill out our form or contact us today to learn more about our treatment programs.

Call Now: 720-891-4657

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