Is Addiction Relapse a Failure?

Is Addiction Relapse a Failure?

addiction relapse

Addiction relapse. It’s an unfortunate occurrence during the lives of many alcoholics & addicts in and out of rehabilitation. If you are an addict, then you may have faced numerous relapses yourself. You say you are going to get sober, clean yourself up and perhaps, ‘kick the habit’. Then, sometimes only a few days later, you have given in, got drunk, got high. Then when the booze and drugs wear off you experience the ultimate low. It’s a crushing defeat isn’t it?

The Real Problem with Addiction Relapse

When an alcoholic or drug addict faces relapse, it may feel like you have let everyone down, that you have failed so enormously that you can’t possibly find your way back. The truth is, when you relapse, you do fail, and you do let everyone down. But ask yourself what the return to alcohol or other drug use is telling you. Because, if you’ve not worked a program of addiction recovery, a return to drinking isn’t really a ‘relapse’, it’s just more drinking or drugging. It’s what people caught in the cycle of alcoholism or drug addiction do. It’s a sign that you are still in active addiction. An indication there is a problem.

So, if you’ve never had help or gone to treatment, perhaps the message is that you need help. That you can’t do this alone. That there is more to addiction recovery than simply stopping drinking or drugging. Asking for help is a huge first step, and it often takes several ‘failures’ at stopping to realize this. Coming to this realization, and reaching out for help, such as going to treatment or other form of professional help, can be the beginning of real recovery.

On the other hand, you may have been working a program of recovery. Perhaps you’ve been to alcohol treatment, drug rehab or an addiction treatment facility. Addiction treatment was hopefully effective, and if you followed treatment recommendations,  you were likely working a program of recovery, including going to 12 step meetings such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA). If you are now facing a relapse, this is true addiction relapse, and this is cause to look at where you may have deviated from your addiction treatment, recovery, or relapse prevention plan. Did you stop going to meetings? Did you stop communicating with your sponsor? Did you become overconfident and cut back on following your recovery plan? These are great questions to start to explore, to find out where recovery faded, and a return of addictive thinking, and behavior, started to take over.

So, depending upon your situation, there are invaluable lessons, and motivation for change that can come from the return to alcohol or drug use, or relapse experience. But giving up on your sobriety is not the answer, it only perpetuates the problem, which will inevitably get far worse. You can’t let that define your future health, and you certainly can’t let it dictate your sobriety. Let it be a motivation for change.

There is a quote that may be inspiring here. It goes like this:

A Knight in shining armor has never had his metal truly tested.

Sobriety does not come easy and anything worth anything is worth working for. So if you are going to live a life worth living, one free of addiction, where the promises of recovery come through, you will have to do the work. And along the way, you may have a few dents and dings in that armor of yours, and if that’s part of your path of recovery, that is okay.

What to Do If You Relapse

We don’t want to sugarcoat this for you and suggest that relapse is no big deal, that it’s common, and return to recovery is easy, and guaranteed. This is not the case at all. Relapse is ugly, and potentially fatal. When you relapse you are moving away from your goal, toward where addiction was leading. Jails, institutions, or death. Not pretty. And not all make it back. Relapse should never be taken lightly. But there is a difference between being realistic and despairing in self pity.

If you relapse you have to immediately forgive yourself and get back up, dust yourself off and try again. Forgiving yourself can be one of the hardest things to do, but it is a crucial part of recovery. We sometimes look to others for forgiveness, but oftentimes, others are not ready to forgive us. You cannot wait for them, their forgiveness or their approval. Forgive yourself first. And take the relapse as a learning experience, and a motivation for change. To take the disease even more seriously as being ‘cunning, baffling, and powerful’. Where vigilance, a trust in a higher power, and a commitment to recovery are a way of life. Literally, a ‘way of life’. This is why it is so important to find a treatment center with a holistic, 12 step, abstinence based approach to recovery. When you are around others who understand the struggles you are going through you can learn from them much easier. Focusing on a relapse keeps you in the past, but recovery is here right now waiting for you.

If you’ve relapsed and want real, transformational change, we are here for you!

This is what distinguishes Serenity Vista from other rehabs. One of the main reasons why our guests travel here from the USA, Canada, and across the globe. At Serenity Vista you will receive intensive, individual attention, 24/7. In a small group that is more like a healthy family than an institutional dynamic. We specialize in helping people who have been to other rehabs, sometimes multiple treatment centers, and yet relapse. We leave no stone unturned, and will walk with you to great lengths to uncover what deep down may be triggering addictive behavior.

Twelve step based, holistic in nature, comprehensive in programming led by highly skilled, passionate addiction professionals. Heal in body, mind and spirit. Do an extended intensive program of up to 90 days. Transform your life to one beyond your wildest dreams. Experience the promises of addiction recovery come true in your life. And participate in developing your own personal ‘Design for Living’ that, if followed, is guaranteed to bring you continued sobriety, where the promises of recovery come true, one day at a time. That is a promise you can count on, just as assuredly as you can count on a relapse if you stop working your recovery program.

That’s the real deal. Not for the faint of heart. If you want a rehab where you will be pampered, told that relapses are ‘fine, just part of recovery’, where having fun comes at the expense of serious work, then go to a traditional addiction treatment facility or drug rehab. Where you can do what you want and have fun, and smoke at smoke breaks. You’ll get what you put into it. Perhaps a reprieve. Maybe some fun and an idea of what recovery is like. But likely not deep change that can transform your life.

If you want real change, and are ‘sick and tired of being sick and tired’, Serenity Vista is for you. Oh, sure, we have some fun too, in fact some amazing times of outdoor adventure in this incredible tropical paradise of beautiful Panama, but all in good balance! First things first. And you and your life always come first.


Signup for our inspirational newsletter, “Addiction to Recovery”



Comments are closed.