Few addicts or alcoholics succeed in recovery the first time around. Many come to identify as, “chronic relapsers.” It’s said by many that relapse doesn’t have to be a part of recovery, but frequently it is a part of the story. So, what are the behaviors or circumstances that lead to a relapse situation?
A lot of people are reluctant to give up friends and connections associated with their addiction, but watching old drinking buddies getting drunk will no doubt be uncomfortable for someone trying to stay sober and find fulfillment in a sober life. There may be important people who it may be wise to distance for a while. These people can be allowed back into the picture when one is ready, and if they are true friends, they will respect an addict’s or alcoholic’s choice to be in recovery.
Co-occurring mental health conditions often go undiagnosed or untreated. The effects of such illnesses can come to be unbearable. Addicts will resort to the only means of coping they know: mood altering substances. Until such mental health issues are alleviated drugs and alcohol may seem like the only way to relief.
“Life happens,” is a common expression in the world of recovery. Challenging life events such as loss of loved ones, losing a job, financial insecurity or any kind of uncertainty can cause emotional fallout that may appear to be overwhelming. This is why it’s so important to have strong emotional support in early recovery, friends one can talk to about the roadblocks and hurtles of living, a pool from which to gather advice on how to deal with things in a healthy way.
It’s often suggested for those who are newly clean and sober to avoid romantic relationships in the first year of recovery. A romantic affair can be a high risk situation for people in a vulnerable state of mind. Suppose the relationship doesn’t work out. Is an addict fresh in recovery, having lost their means of self medicating, equipped to handle such strong feelings of disappointment? Love can be a complicated thing occurring between equally complicated individuals. Those coming into recovery often feel lost and broken. There’s another saying in the recovery world that, “two dead car batteries can’t start a car.
There are any number of various triggers for relapse. Some can believe that what they are facing in life leaves them only one option and that is picking up. Some others, lucky as they are, have been given what’s referred to as the gift of desperation. Can there be any life event at all that could cause worse feelings than what is felt at the end of a hopeless addiction? If the tape is played all the way through, there can be no illusion of any solutions down the road of relapse.