Perhaps nothing is more upsetting to family, friends and professionals alike than when a person who is in recovery experiences a relapse. Experience shows that relapse is a process that takes place over time rather than the event of just drinking or using again. Relapse erodes relationships and trust and often results in consequences far greater than then the person was initially using. This is because addiction is progressive in nature.
Frequently families will ask how often to expect relapse or what the relapse rate is when people return home from treatment. Of all the questions that I am asked, this is the one that troubles me the most. I remember Bob D. emphatically stating that, “100% of the people who don’t pick up a drink…don’t get drunk.” That was his way of saying that relapse is not a necessary part of recovery.
For sure, relapse is a significant part of many people’s story. At Heartland Intervention we encourage those in early recovery to make changes slowly and with lots of accountability and supervision. Recently there was a person who had several months sober. All was going well until she began working a full-time job. In a matter of a two weeks, she had gone from a meeting a day to 1-2 meetings per week. The third week found her running with her old crowd and likely using. Also a young man recently allowed the fear of step-work keep him from his sponsor and meetings. In a few days his family was searching for him on the streets and praying that he was ok.
Recovery literature is full of reminders and warnings about the effort that it takes to stay clean and sober. Many heed these warnings and the result is long-term recovery and all of the promises that come with it. They are proof that relapse into alcohol and drug addiction does not have to be part of the story.
Call Heartland Intervention today at 877/752-8811 to discuss relapse prevention skills. We are eager to assist you or your loved ones avoid relapse with counseling and suggestions for structure and accountability.
When addicts and alcoholics are actively using, they seem to have lost the ability to choose. One person said, “I was using against my own will.” Many have said they wouldn’t have known how to stop even if they had wanted to. Drinking or drug use just becomes a way of life until the person’s world grows smaller and smaller. That’s why at Heartland Intervention, we always want to remind folks that there is a way out.
It is horribly painful to watch a loved-one melt into a life where alcohol or drug use swallows the person. The slowly become more distant, less honest and more angry. Before long, the family feels that they have lost the person. They are angry, scared and not sure what they can do to help. They are afraid any action will make things even worse. That is the blessing of intevention. An intervention allows the family the support and structure they need to help their family member find the way out. It is a loving and structured way to support a person’s recovery and offer an alternative to the lost family member.
Once a person gets clean/sober the ability to choose is restored as well. In recovery, a addict learns that all she has to do today is the “next right thing”. Because early sobriety can be overwhelming, the simplicity of doing “the next right thing” is a useful tool that builds confidence and honors the second chance that the addict has been given. It also is a way to honor the family for helping to save a life through the intervention process.
It can be argued that the most powerful trait that a human can possess is the ability to choose. Yet substance abuse and fear can rob even the most loving and caring person. Loving choices can save a life and a family. Heartland Intervention exists to help families and individuals when the stakes matter most. Call us today at 877/752-8811.