You’ve left addiction in the past… why would you want to relive it?
Some people think that drug addiction is a choice. And while the initial plunge into the world of drugs may have been a choice many drug addicts regret, drug addiction becomes a chronic illness. It has a relapse rate that is similar to other chronic illnesses, such as type-1 diabetes, hypertension and asthma. They all have behavioral and biological reactions, and recovery is a long, drawn-out process requiring repeated treatments.
Recovering from an addiction is one of the scariest, most difficult things you or a loved one will face. It will take time and commitment to get rid of the shackles that bind you to the drug. Treatment is also a lengthy process, and it involves a lifelong commitment to sobriety.
Even though the road can look impossible at times…, in the end, you’ll be a much happier person. Why not decide to be the best version of yourself that has ever existed.
A study by 12 Keys Recovery Center in Southern Florida estimates that 30 million Americans are living lives of recovery from active addiction. As promising as that sounds, the reality is more people relapse than remain sober on their first attempts at life substance free.
There are many reasons why a person in treatment for drug addiction will relapse, but the fact of the matter is that relapsing happens all the time. Don’t let it discourage you from completing your quest to be free and clear of addiction. Depending on the drug, relapse rates may be higher which makes it that much harder to quit.
What Drug Has the Highest Relapse Rate?
Well … here’s reality for you….
1. Alcohol & Heroin 88%
2. Crack 84%
3. Cocaine 55%
4. Crystal Meth 52%
5. Marijuana 48%
The truth is no one goes from sober to relapse without a series events taking place in their lives… these may be gradual but each will occur in an order that leads to failure. Knowing the progress will give you a heads up on how your life is spiraling out of control… see if any of these sound familiar.
The three stages of relapse include: Emotional Relapse— In this stage, you’re not exactly thinking about using, but your behavior and emotions may set you up for eventual relapse in the future.
Emotional relapse signs usually look like just a really bad attitude… you’re dealing with anxiety, intolerance, anger, defensiveness, mood swings, and finally isolation.
These symptoms are mainly the signs of withdrawal from your addiction, and if you take the time to understand what’s happening to you during this stage, it’s a lot easier to avoid relapse in the near future. You’re catching it early enough to properly address and treat it. Preventing relapse in this first stage means truly understanding that you’re in the throes of emotional relapse, and understanding that it’s time to ask for help from family, friends, or your doctor. If you stay in this stage of relapse for too long, you’ll become fatigued. And exhaustion can make you want to find a coping mechanism that will lead to relapse.
Preventing relapse at this point is all about taking care of yourself. Remember the reasons why you used substances in the past… most likely as an escape or coping mechanism. When you fall into the emotional turmoil in this stage, you may not be sleeping right, you may be eating badly, and you might be making yourself exhausted. At a certain point, you’ll look for a way to cope, and using will most likely be your first thought.
Mental Relapse…. When you reach this point in the relapse process, your mind is at war with itself. One side of you wants to give up and use, while the other is adamant about staying clean. At the beginning of this stage, there are fleeting thoughts of using. As it progresses, it soon becomes all you can think about.
Signs of mental relapse include dwelling on people, places or items that connect you to your past addiction. You begin to romanticize about the good times of using in the past. Eventually, you’ll return to lying to the people closest to you, and you’ll fall back in with the crowd of people you used to drink or use drugs with… you’ll begin fantasizing about using and start considering a relapse.
Now you start scheming the time of your relapse to make sure you don’t get caught by your friends or family. Staying clean gets more difficult as you reach this phase of relapse. When you’re thinking about relapsing, you’re most likely thinking that you can control it this time and that this time will be different. You’ll just have one drink, and you’ll only take one bump.
One drink and one bump usually leads to another. When you wake up in the morning after you relapse, you’ll feel disappointed and you may not be able to stop at this point. The vicious cycle will begin again. Think about your entire journey, including the damage caused by your addiction. If you take the time to consider all of the negative outcomes and the amount of progress you’ll lose, falling back into your old ways won’t seem so great.
You might also think that you’ll be able to get away with it. You’ll plan to go to great lengths to keep it a secret. Maybe you’re out of town for the weekend, or you’ll be alone in the house for an extended period of time. Think through your journey again, and remember why you’re doing it in the first place. Consider the bad things that can happen if you relapse again, and make sure you don’t hit that point again.
Physical Relapse— If you have reached this point, you’re close to the point of relapse. You may be moments away from heading to the liquor store or calling up your dealer. Once this ball is rolling, it’s extremely difficult to stop it at this point. The thing that destroyed everything in your life is back and you’ve done absolutely nothing to stop it.
You need to recognize the warning signs early enough to prevent yourself from getting to this point, and if you take preventative measures, it’s easier to prevent relapse from occurring. Get help during the beginning stages so you don’t allow the process to get this far. It’s important to successfully ward off relapse in the early stages of your recovery. If you’ve made an effort to rebuild your life… don’t throw a match on it and watch it burn. You don’t have to be a statistic…