Does Relapse Need to be Part of Your Story?
A very popular saying among those who are now sober is, “Relapse is part of recovery.” It’s true that there are millions of people around the world who have been sober for years, and many of them have relapsed at some point. The ability to get knocked down by relapse and get back up shows the strength and courage that some people just don’t have. There are even people from Enlightened Solutions who are living incredible lives in sobriety who also relapsed in the past, but does relapse need to be part of your story?
Addiction is a Powerful Disease
Addiction is one of the most complicated, confusing diseases out there. You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who thinks it’s a good idea to go in and out of drunken blackouts or shoot up heroin. So, if we intellectually know that drinking and using to a point of destruction is bad, why do we keep doing it? Aside from that, why do so many people in active addiction deny that they have a problem?
One of the reasons it’s so hard to acknowledge one’s addiction is because addiction affects the brain in a way that no other disease does. If you were diagnosed with cancer, you’d acknowledge it and go get help. When you’re confronted with the disease of addiction, the brain works in a much different way. Addiction is a disease that makes you believe that you don’t have a problem. This has to do with the prefrontal cortex not giving you the ability to think logically and be self-aware. On top of that, the survival part of your brain is telling you that you need alcohol or drugs in order to survive.
Breaking any habit is one of the hardest things a person can do, but it’s even harder when you’re struggling with addiction. When a person relapses, it’s not because they don’t know that sobriety will be good for them, but their mind has a way of telling them that alcohol and drugs are a viable solution to their problems. In order to get sober and stay sober, it takes a lot of hard work through addiction treatment as well as an ongoing recovery process through programs like 12-step fellowships.
The Dangers of Relapse
Although many people have found strength and perseverance through their ability to recover after relapse, there are many people who aren’t that lucky. In New Jersey, overdose rates were up 29.3 percent from 2016. To think that relapse needs to be part of your story may be a potentially fatal way of thinking. The problem with relapse is that there’s no guarantee that you’re going to stop or even survive long enough to have another chance at sobriety.
When you believe that relapse is part of recovery the first time you get sober, you also run the risk of not fully embracing your recovery. This type of thinking may have you keeping one foot in recovery while the other is just waiting for the chance to relapse. Each person entering recovery should go into it with the mindset of doing whatever it takes to never pick up a drink or a drug again. This is by far the best way to avoid a fatal outcome.
Getting Back Up
Today, we’ve talked a bit about the dangers of relapse, but it’s also important to be realistic. Although many people do relapse, this is by no means a reason to give up on your recovery. Your goal should be to draw strength and courage from those who relapsed and were brave enough to give recovery another chance. Here at Enlightened Solutions, we know how difficult the disease of addiction can be, but we don’t want you to ever give up hope. If you or someone you know has relapsed, give us a call today at 833-233-7336 so we can help.