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Addiction and Relapse: What are the Odds?

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Nicholas Conn

Nicholas Conn is a leading industry addiction expert who runs the UK’s largest addiction advisory service and is regularly featured in the national press, radio and TV.

Addiction and Relapse What are the Odds
If you have newly recovered from an addiction, you may be worried about a relapse. We have attempted to answer your questions, below.
Addiction treatment is difficult. It’s so difficult, in fact, that not everyone makes it through. Some of us won’t make it past the detox process and it really isn’t any wonder. Giving up on an addiction is one of the most difficult things a human being can do with their lives. The harder the drug and the longer you took it, the worse the experience of trying to stop taking it.  It only makes sense then, that you would worry about relapse even when you are through rehab and back living in your normal life. Years can pass and you can still feel the odd urge or craving to use it again. Moderating those urges is the key to ongoing sobriety and treatment success. The odds are against us, but as long as we persist in our recovery, we are on the right path.

What is Relapse?

If we go back to basics and establish a firm foundation of knowledge, we should examine the term ‘relapse’ in greater detail. Relapse is not specific to any one condition. You can relapse from alcoholism, relapse from gambling addiction, or relapse from heroin addiction. It is the act of giving in to your cravings as a former addict. It is the deed associated with falling off the wagon, as the saying goes. A relapse has no set time limit, either. You could be in relapse for weeks and still pull yourself back on that wagon again. You could relapse for a single night or a few hours, only to quickly chastise yourself. You might not even pull yourself out of it. You might return to your former state of addiction. All of these incidents could be a relapse. 

What are the Chances I Will Relapse from Addiction?

Scientists and rehab clinics avoid this line of questioning for good reason. There is a chance that relapse will happen to any given addiction recovery client. Studies show this chance increases in alcohol addicts who received no help. This means that you are less likely to relapse if you seek recovery from your addiction in a rehab centre or specialist medical facility. 

How Can I Prevent a Relapse?

If you remember your healthy coping tactics and revisit rehab when you feel yourself at risk of returning to your old drug and alcohol addiction ways, you further reduce chances of relapse. If you still feel the looming threat of a relapse, try the following techniques.

Prioritise Relapse Prevention 

You can make relapse prevention a priority at any point throughout your treatment. We suggest you choose a rehab clinic which works to treat your addiction while incorporating relapse prevention workshops or training as part of rehab treatments. You can contact the Help4Addiction team to find a rehab clinic that meets these parameters.

Seek your Therapist or Group

You can prevent relapse by attending therapy sessions or by revisiting your old therapy group. This is especially useful if you quit alcohol using the 12 steps program, or some other group therapy tool. Sharing experiences with a group of like-minded peers can put your mind at rest. You can also lean on them to borrow the group knowledge and support. 

Contact your Support Network

The same people who helped you overcome your addiction and the same people who know what to do in this situation. Reach out to your friends and family and let them know you’re feeling pressured. They may help out by removing some of your responsibilities or offering advice. 

Use Your Aftercare Sessions

If you chose a rehab clinic with a good secondary treatment program, don’t forget that you can lean on it for help. Secondary treatment supports us through our transmission back into normal life, but some high-end rehab clinics offer aftercare for life. This could be a good idea for those worried from the outset.

It’s Not All Over

The important thing to remember is that a relapse isn’t always the end of the recovery road. Sometimes, a blip is just a blip. We give in for an hour or two and the next day we regret our actions and don’t do it again. We’re all only human, so try not to be too hard on yourself about it. Get up, dust yourself off, and get back on the wagon. It’s not all over yet. 

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