Helping the Chronic Relapser
Addiction can be a complicated and sometimes chronic condition. It can span through decades of a person’s life. For the chronic relapser, addiction can completely change who they are and how they live. It’s the reason so many people struggling with addiction find themselves without a job, home, friends or family. Drug seeking behavior becomes the only motivation, while everything else is cast aside. While studies show that a large number of individuals relapse within the first four years after treatment, it doesn’t have to be this way. There are steps that can be taken to help not only the one-time relapse but the chronic relapser.
Who is The Chronic Relapser?
A person who is sober for brief periods after addiction treatment, but relapses, or goes back to using their drug of choice, after each sober period. In many cases, chronic relapsers have a history of attending numerous treatment centers. They generally have a lot of knowledge about addiction and quite a few tools in their toolbox. However, they don’t use them (or don’t know how to use them) to help themselves maintain long-term sobriety.
Why Does Relapse Happen?
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer for this. Most professionals agree that mental relapse happens before the physical relapse. This means we’ve toyed with the idea and become vulnerable to it long before it actually takes place. Sometimes we sabotage ourselves and put ourselves in vulnerable situations.
Recovery has to be protected.
The Dangers of Chronic Relapse
Any amount of time you can remain sober is always a good thing. The longer you maintain sobriety while working a program of recovery, the more growth you’ll experience as a person. For the chronic relapser, however, every relapse becomes more dangerous than the one before.
- Chronic relapsing can result in prolonged feelings of guilt, failure, shame, and hopelessness.
- Cravings continue to be intense.
- The obsession to use increases with repeated relapses and we often end up in more dangerous and dark places than the previous time.
- With every relapse, there’s always a chance that you might not return to sobriety.
- With some substances, ‘just one more time’ could end up being your last. This is especially true with a drug like heroin. You may use the same amount you are used to, but after being clean for a period of time, overdose is very possible.
Helping Chronic Relapsers
One of the most important questions people in the relapse cycle ask is, “Can I recover?” The answer is yes. With the right help you can experience true healing and relapse can end.
- Face the Underlying Root- There are often underlying problems that make it hard for individuals to remain sober. Trauma points, left untreated, can continue to resurface, paving a path to continued relapse. As we heal emotionally, the need to self medicate loses it’s strength.
- Relapse Education- Understanding the warning signs of relapse will help you to quickly self-correct. Stress, lack of sleep, short tempered, anxiousness, and unforgiveness can be warning signs. It can also be something as simple as recognizing that other addictive behaviors are creeping in, like overeating, gambling, or becoming obsessed with another person.
- Choose Longer-Term Recovery- Remaining in treatment for a longer period of time, receiving extra therapy and giving yourself the opportunity to gain as many recovery tools as possible can be helpful.
- Focus on Aftercare- After you leave treatment, make sure you have plenty of support. Take aftercare seriously to avoid relapse. Sober living homes, AA, a sponsor, accountability friends and Gracious Care Recovery Solution’s alumni program will provide you with the extra support necessary to grow strong in your recovery.
Day or night, Gracious Care is here for you and ready to help with your recovery. While relapse does sometimes occur, no one has to continue in the cycle of chronic relapse.
Find out more about what we offer.