Let’s get one thing straight: relapse happens. It’s not taboo or unspeakable and to think so actually increases the chance of relapse occurring. Relapse happens because we’re human and are subject to human missteps, distractions, and triggers.
Addiction cannot be cured like a cold or an infection. It’s a chronic disease that requires constant attention. Relapse steps in when that attention starts to falter. But it’s important to understand that relapse doesn’t define you. It’s always okay to seek help again.
Relapse is a return to old, unhealthy habits. One of the primary objectives of recovery treatment is to break unhealthy habits. This doesn’t just mean that an addict stops using or drinking. It’s also about learning how to stop lying, manipulating, blaming yourself, closing yourself off to new things, etc. Therefore, if an addict starts using again, they’ll also start to adopt these secondary bad habits again. Needless to say, it’s incredibly important to get help after a relapse before the regression gets too far.
You are not alone. While relapsing is not a good thing, don’t be ashamed of it. In fact, about 40 to 60% of addicts experience a relapse at some point in their recovery, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). You are not defined or restricted by a relapse and while you shouldn’t place blame on yourself, you should hold yourself accountable to get back on the right track by seeking help.