Understanding What it’s Like for a Person to Relapse into Addiction

Relapse into addiction

Making it through recovery treatment is one of the most rewarding feelings for a person. Gaining the confidence and courage to begin a path to recovery takes a lot for a person to do. Nothing beats the feeling of counting the days, months, and years clean, knowing that the hard work a person has put in for their recovery is paying off. It is something that is never easy for a person and can make the rest of their life more than they ever imagined providing they can avoid a relapse into addiction.

Preventing a relapse into addiction during recovery can be very trying for people. Some individuals have abused substances for so long that they don’t know anything else in life.The life they once had has gone so far behind them that they have lost hope ever to get it back. They begin to accept the life they have in their addiction. Addiction takes over someone’s life, every aspect of it.  While in recovery, many things will always be a temptation for a person to go back to their addiction. It takes strength for a person to get past these temptations. There are many things people go through to get the strength to deal with these temptations and get past them.

Learning Self-Control to Avoid a Relapse Into Addiction

During recovery, addicts must learn self-control to avoid the temptations and triggers when they appear. There are going to be many things that will tempt someone in recovery. Self-control can be distractions, reminding yourself of what the consequences are and reminding yourself of how far you have come. It doesn’t matter if it has been ten days in recovery or ten years, a person will always come across temptations and triggers.

Losing Self-Control Experiencing a Relapse Into Addiction

There might be a time where something happens in a recovering addict’s life that they were not prepared to deal with, or times may become too hard for a person, and they give up. They relapse into addiction. Just because a person has a relapse does not mean that they weren’t trying or that they won’t bet able to recover again. People may relapse many times before they finally get it and can recover from it. Relapsing can be shameful, embarrassing, and disappointing. An individual who tried to stay clean and relapsed is not proud of themselves.

What matters is what they choose to do after a decline has occurred. It is ok to seek help again; it is ok to try again. No one is perfect, and no one can fight an addiction that quickly! Relapsing isn’t something that someone just chooses to do; it is a reality. The problem is, once it’s happened to you, it’s not so easy to face what’s happened. The tendency is to heap blame on yourself, to feel that somehow you should have been able to avoid a relapse into addiction. That’s counter-productive. There is a more constructive way to face yourself after your relapse.

Respond to a Relapse Immediately

First, you need to act quickly. After your relapse, you can’t delay for several days or weeks. That will just compound the problem and prolong your relapse – maybe even make it worse. It’s also a mistake to think to yourself, “Oh, this is it. I’m going downhill, and there’s nothing I can do about it.” That’s just not true. In fact, only you can take steps to resume your recovery. Recognize that you slipped, and double your efforts to overcome your cravings or urges. You don’t have to have all the answers right now. What’s most important is your desire to move past your slip-up and forward with your recovery.

Prepare to Make Major Changes

During treatment for addiction, you most likely worked out a game plan, a list of goals, and worked on practical coping skills. Once you entered the recovery stage, you may have become a bit overconfident in your ability to resist urges and cravings. You may have thought that you could have just one drink, or do a few drugs, or gamble a set amount, or indulge your addiction in some small way. Even if you didn’t delude yourself that you could handle your urges by going slower, reducing your consumption or addictive behavior, you might have let your guard down. Perhaps this was an instance of you falling back in with friends you used to drink or do drugs with, or go gambling with, or whatever. It may be that you didn’t purge your surroundings of any temptations, which now serve as triggers. Whatever you were doing, however, it’s obvious to you now that it didn’t work out quite as you planned. If it had, you wouldn’t have relapsed. You’ll need to make some significant changes in your life now.

Some of the changes you should plan to make include making a list of the people, places, and things that are dangerous to you. These are the situations that remind you or prompt the need to drink, do drugs, gamble, or engage in a compulsive sexual activity, overeating, overwork or other addictive behavior. Beside each trigger you have listed, start writing down ways that you can deal with these situations as they arise. This list is your plan of attack, how you will navigate your way through the minefield of obstacles that are a threat to your sobriety.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction or experiencing a relapse into addiction, do not hesitate to call for help. There is help for everyone, and it is ok to need help at any point in recovery!



What to do if You Relapse on Heroin

Relapse on Heroin

A common problem with people who relapse on heroin is the inability to confront the reality of what is taking place. Typically you’ll want to find someone to point the finger at, to make you feel that somehow you could have avoided the heroin relapse were it not for them. That’s counter-productive.

Accepting responsibility for your role if you relapse on heroin can be difficult: You have done this already! You have been down this road before, and you are aware of what is ahead. However, it all comes down to what you want for yourself. If you’re serious about recovering completely, the first thing you need to do is to take the relapse on heroin as a mistake and accept that mistakes do happen. The only object that is missing to the puzzle is one small piece and you can and will complete it. Having an understanding that you want a more fulfilling, sober, healthy lifestyle and will do whatever it may take to get there will help push you in the direction you were destined to be in.

Take Action Immediately if You Relapse on Heroin

After a heroin relapse, do not wait for a few days before reaching out to someone. The first step is to get in touch with individuals in your support group that you can confide in to inform them of what has happened. Making the call won’t be easy; you will feel horrible and ashamed. If you can’t speak about it on the phone, send a text message to the person you feel comfortable reaching out to. Family and friends closest to you will be the most affected by news of you relapsing on heroin. Even though they love you unconditionally, you’ll feel that you’ve let them down badly. You can even expect that they are exhibiting a range of emotions towards you; remember it is only because they care about you and love you.

Reach Out For Support from Family and Friends

Support from family and friends is needed more now than in the past. Your loved ones have seen you struggle as well as overcome many battles. Let them know about this, and ask for their encouragement as you re-embark on the journey to recovery. Reassure them that you mean what you say and are prepared to do anything it takes to show them.

Some of the things you’ll be doing will be familiar making you feel like you’re going back to the very beginning of recovery. Although it may be more difficult for you this time, approaching it in a different light will be helpful. The tendency to think that you’ve been there in the past may leave you wondering what else you need to learn.

One great piece of advice is to change your outlook of relapse. Move away from thinking of relapse as a failure and instead look at it as part of the recovery process. Encourage yourself that you never wanted to relapse in the first place, but now that it has happened, you need to be even stronger. Finally, work on ways to stop relapse from happening again in the future.

Starting Over Can Be A Part Of The Process

There is no one-size-fits-all route after a relapse. In fact, many addiction professionals consider relapse as part of the recovery process. If you’re keen on attaining a sober lifestyle in the long term, you must just accept what has happened and get back on the path to recovery as soon as possible. Finding a rehabilitation facility that best suits your specific needs may be the answer. No two people are exactly alike; treatment also needs to be tailored to on an individual basis.

5 Reasons People Relapse


The National Institute on Drug Abuse tells recovering addicts that relapse is not only possible, but likely, and drug and alcohol counselors view relapse as almost inevitable. Those in recovery become susceptible to a relapse when they confuse abstinence with recovery. Abstinence is necessary, but not sufficient. To be forever recovered requires a change toward a more healthy and fulfilling lifestyle. Yet even people that understand this, and are taking the right steps, can find themselves vulnerable to some of the most potent relapse triggers.

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Five Common Reasons People Relapse


It is not uncommon for someone with addiction to experience relapse at some point during the recovery process. Some may relapse more than once while going through treatment in an inpatient rehab without any understanding for this lack of control. You may suddenly feel you have no willpower to succeed and are no longer motivated. Gaining an insight to why relapse occurs is the first step in avoiding these steps backward.

What is Addiction?

Addiction is not just a bad habit but a behavior that continues despite the dangers and negative impact it has on your life. It can be the continual use of illegal and prescription drugs and alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, gambling and other activities. The typical signs of addiction include the four Cs such as the craving for the substance, compulsive use and behavior, lack of control and continued use regardless of the consequences.

Inpatient Treatment Options

An inpatient rehab treatment program provides you with all the tools necessary for addiction recovery. The highly-qualified staff is there to support you on your journey to a substance-free life. The length of stay at a treatment center varies with each individual and the severity of detoxification needed along with your ability and willingness to achieve lifelong recovery and success. It can be a difficult process despite all efforts and commitment to change your life for the better. You may find yourself facing relapse, and there are some common components that can lead to a decline on your road to recovery.

Relapse is Not a Sign of Failure

Do not despair because you have had a set-back while trying to heal from addiction. These are some of the top five common reasons for relapse:

  • Stress is one of the number one causes for relapse. You may feel as though you just can’t cope with all the treatments and changes necessary to heal. Because your self-esteem and lack of self-worth led you down this road, you are quicker to feel stressed and hopeless. Working in therapy, you not only learn how special you are but also how to cope with life around you through some coping techniques that will improve your overall wellness and thought process.
  • Continuing communication with friends and family that were connected to your addictive behavior can cause you to be weak during recovery, leading to relapse. It is advisable that while you are trying to heal and stay clean from your addiction, you should avoid others that continue to abuse any substance. That may apply even after you go through a complete treatment program because going back to old, addictive relationships will test your willpower to the extreme. It is best to find new supportive friends and family that will help you rather than cause relapse.
  • Negative feelings are normal but if you do not have the strength and courage to succumb to these emotions, you may find yourself going backwards in your recovery. Your rehab will help you to learn how to make sense of these deep challenging feelings while giving you the tools to tolerate and manage them rather than fall back into your old addictive habits. Additionally, it can also be positive times of celebration that can cause a setback and relapse; others are drinking and smoking so do you resist or have relapse and give in to the old addictive habits.
  • Sometimes just giving thought or reminders to your addictive behavior can be a huge trigger to relapse. You will be faced with these types of triggers everywhere but if you commit yourself to your therapy, you can learn to develop skills to manage the urges and cravings. Such skills will take time to happen, which is why it is necessary to surround yourself with people who know and love you and will do anything to see you succeed.
  • Just being lazy and bored can leave you feeling hopeless and restless during and after recovery. You may have been used to the old party life while going through your addictions, but you are now trying to learn a new way of life. The pace may not be as you hoped, making you feel the boredom. You also get lazy and give up on yourself. While going through inpatient rehab, you learn other ways to utilize your time such as working on your self-esteem, engaging in hobbies, fitness and other avenues of positive activities.

In order to avoid relapse while recovering from addiction, you need to surround yourself with positive, loving, supportive relationships. Counselors will help you learn how to avoid obstacles that lead to relapse. It will take a lot of willpower and determination on your part, but always know that support and guidance is always just a phone call away during and once you are fully recovered.