What is relapse?

A relapse is defined as a period of deterioration that happens after a pattern of improvement. In treatment for substance use disorder, relapse occurs when someone in recovery drinks or uses substances again.

Consequently, relapse is not an indicator of failure, but it is a serious bump in the road to recovery and should be addressed immediately. Relapse takes place in stages when someone strays from their learned recovery behaviours. Eventually, resolve weakens because it is not actively being boosted. As a result, cravings and the desire to use may reappear. Unfortunately, most people who enter the stages of relapse eventually succumb, but this does not mean they cannot get back on the right path through a relapse prevention recovery program.

Emotional Relapse

To ward off the first stage of relapse, maintain strong ties with the recovery community through a 12 step program or therapy. I know from my experience that by talking with others that can identify with your circumstances, you heighten your chances of survival in recovery. There is a power within one addict or alcoholic helping another. Generally, emotional relapse begins when you stop doing those activities that empower you as someone in recovery.

Symptoms include:

● Attending meetings but not sharing or mingling with others

● Skipping meetings altogether

● Allowing yourself to get run down, bored, overly stressed, or tired

● Cutting ties with your mentor or sponsor

● Isolating yourself

● Not taking time to have sober fun

● Refusing to reach out for help

● Not having a focus

● Not talking regularly with others in recovery

● Staying in denial

● Not taking care of yourself

Mental Relapse

Those who ignore or cannot recognise the signs of emotional relapse may progress into mental relapse as a result. In this stage, there is a war going on inside your mind. You want to use substances again but you do not. For example, signs of mental relapse include:

● Re-establishing relationships with negative influences from the past

● Remembering the old party days fondly

● Bargaining with yourself to have just one drink or use just one time

● The return of cravings

● Minimising the impact of past drug or alcohol abuse

● Staying in denial

● Keeping using or drinking thoughts to yourself

Physical Relapse

Someone who enters stage three uses substances again. They take that first drink or drug and are then immediately helpless to stop. At this stage, it is imperative to ask for help to stop the entire cycle from repeating. You can absolutely pull yourself out of relapse, but it usually takes professional intervention and help from an addiction treatment centre to do so. Therefore, contact a drug and alcohol treatment centre right away to enter back into.

Consequently, there is no shame in relapsing. It happens to many people every day. At UK Detox we are here to support and advise you of further steps to take if you or a loved one have relapsed. In general, the only way to avoid relapsing is to work on your recovery behaviours every day. For example, manage your stress, take good care of yourself, and surround yourself with positive and inspirational influences.

Important tasks include:

● Eating well

● Getting enough sleep each night

● Managing your stress in healthy ways

● Attending meetings faithfully and actively participating

● Keeping your counselling appointments

● Staying in close touch with mentors and sponsors

● Avoiding people and places that act as triggers

As someone in recovery, relapse is a condition you must constantly guard against. Additionally, you must actively work toward recovery. At UK Detox we work with a wide range of rehabilitation facilities and detox centres around the country to suit your needs and circumstances and provide home detox’s. We are a premier service with an extremely high success rate, offering addicts the opportunity to get clean and sober and live a successful life. We are living proof that it is achievable and now we are here to help you on your journey into recovery. Change your story, change your life.


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