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Why Do So Many of Us Relapse?

Even though relapse is a common occurrence during the recovery process, it can nonetheless be painful and disappointing for both recovering addicts and all the people who support and care about them. We have high expectations for ourselves as we work towards sobriety. When we fall short of these expectations, some of which are impossible for us to attain, we feel defeated. We give up hope, convinced we’ll never be able to recover. Many of us are not new to the recovery process, or to relapse itself. We may already have relapsed once, or even multiple times. Eventually many of us feel we don’t have the strength to get back on the wagon after falling off so many times. We’ve given up hope. We don’t believe in ourselves. Others of us will continue to fight, learning as much as we can about ourselves and our addictions with every obstacle we overcome. Through our lived experiences and those of others in recovery, we discover more about why it is we relapse in the first place.

Many of us are filled with excitement as we venture into our sobriety. We’re still feeling confident in our ability to abstain. We haven’t yet felt the sting of disappointment and defeat. In our excitement, though, we fail to plan sufficiently. We don’t necessarily set intentions for ourselves or outline goals. We don’t have a relapse prevention plan in place to help us tackle our addictive urges, compulsions and temptations. We haven’t planned ahead as to who we will call in moments of weakness, when we’re feeling low and depressed, when we’re feeling particularly vulnerable to the powerful force of our addictions. We relapse because in our excitement and anticipation, we don’t prepare ourselves adequately for all of the challenges that will arise, not only the addictive urges and temptation, but the daily stressors that act as triggers and make us want to run right back to our addictions, the overwhelming life circumstances that threaten to knock us off course and derail our progress, the difficult relationships in our lives that compromise our inner peace. We don’t mentally prepare ourselves for the fact that we’re still quite vulnerable to our addictions.

Another reason we relapse is because we haven’t created the support network for ourselves that we need in order to recover successfully. Many of us fall into patterns of isolating ourselves, especially when we’re feeling depressed or afraid we’ll start using again. We don’t reach out for the help we need. We don’t tell people when we’re feeling weak or vulnerable. We don’t take advantage of our recovery community, that is, if we have one. Many of us haven’t yet found that community for ourselves, or formed our own recovery support system, causing us to be that much more likely to relapse.

The caring, compassionate staff of The Guest House is here to support you as you start your journey to recovery and healing. Call 855-483-7800 today for more information.