If you've never had a problem with drugs or alcohol, it's probably quite hard for you to imagine what difficulties may lie ahead for a person during their recovery from substance abuse or addiction and this is understandable. It's not easy to put into words just how challenging and hard recovery can be unless you've been there and unfortunately the more chronic the addiction, the harder it can be to overcome this debilitating illness.
Recovery from addiction can be achieved but it doesn't happen overnight and setbacks often occur, but the bottom line is that a person can overcome their use of drugs or alcohol and find long-term sobriety. The sad fact is that many substance users and addicts fatally overdose before they're able to successfully overcome their use of drugs or alcohol. Sadly families and friends endure the devastating loss of their loved one for the rest of their lives when this happens.
Depression a Psychiatric Disorder
It's not uncommon for a person to relapse during their early recovery from substance abuse or addiction and for various reasons. Even though addiction is a dark and scary place to be in while a person continues to use, it can be just as dark and frightening for some people once they stop due to depression. Many people during their early recovery sink so low into depression that getting high is all they can think about no matter how hard they try to fight the thoughts. Feelings of helplessness, hopelessness and worthlessness often take over feeding into the need to use again for many people recovering from addiction.
Triggers Can Lead to Relapse
Everyone has their own set of 'triggers' that can urge a recovering addict to relapse, especially in the early days of their recovery. No matter how dedicated and determined a person may be in their early recovery, it's not uncommon for thoughts, feelings, stress, people, places, things, boredom or even smells to influence cravings which can lead to relapse.
Stress plays a major role in substance use but it also has a major impact during recovery from addiction. Not knowing how to successfully handle stress during recovery can lead to a relapse but avoiding stress believe it or not, can as well. We can't always control the level of stress that takes place in our daily lives and life can be very stressful and challenging for a recovering addict, especially in their early recovery. Avoiding stress may sound like the answer but as we all know, that's not always possible. The reality is, problems, challenges and other stresses occur in everyone's life and unless we develop our own positive ways of coping with stress, a relapse during recovery may be inevitable. Stress and emotions can trigger thoughts of drinking or using and the cravings can be so strong and powerful if a recovering addict doesn't have the coping skills they personally need, it's extremely easy to relapse.
Why Do Addicts Give Up After a Relapse?
For some people, they might not have been ready and totally committed to their recovery but that isn't true for everyone. Even though relapse can be dangerous, it's also not uncommon during recovery. Some people relapse more than once during their recovery before they're able to achieve long term sobriety, while others are able to get back on track immediately after the first time.
People who attempt to recover from addiction on their own without some form of treatment, guidance and support don't understand the difficulties they may face during recovery. They haven't worked through problems that may have fed into their substance use and issues caused from their addiction. They don't realize the changes that have taken place inside their body mentally and physically due to substance use so their unaware of the problems their going to face emotionally and physically during recovery.
It's different for everyone but a lot of people that relapse during their recovery from alcohol or drug addiction feel they have failed and let themselves and everyone that cares about them down. Some people don't blame themselves. Instead they blame others or feel that treatment failed so they just give up. You have to understand that addiction is a serious illness that didn't take place overnight. The longer a person has had a problem with drugs or alcohol the more mental, emotional and sometimes physical damage it has caused.
It takes time to recover from addiction but it also takes healthy support, knowledge, change, effort and patience. You can successfully stop drinking or using drugs and overcome your addiction but there's no miracle treatment or drug that's going to make that happen unfortunately. There are things you can do for yourself ahead of time that will help to prevent a relapse though.
Talk with your physician or treatment provider if you're suffering with depression or anxiety now that you have stopped drinking or using drugs. They will understand and be able to provide you with the help you need during this time.
Learn to recognize your own personal triggers which are situations, people and things that remind you of your active substance use. Naturally triggers can't always be avoided so you have to develop a positive strategy ahead of time for dealing with them when this happens. These triggers can slowly or immediately stir up cravings, which can eventually lead to relapse if you're not prepared.
During recovery you can no longer turn to alcohol or drugs like you did in the past due to stress, depression or anger. You have to learn how to cope with stress and daily challenges in a healthier more positive way and this isn't easy. Many people eventually relapse because they don't know how to cope with stress now that their sober.
Positive Healthy Support During Recovery is Essential
Receiving treatment from a substance abuse provider, addiction counselor or attending support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous not only gives a person the guidance and support they need during recovery, but the tools they need for long term success. Remember if you do relapse, don't give up. Reach out for help and support!