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.