The risk of relapse is one of the biggest concerns for a person in early recovery. You have probably heard many stories of relapse and may even know of individuals who have unfortunately experienced a relapse. This could have made you feel afraid about possibly relapsing yourself. But no matter what stage of recovery you have managed to reach, it is important to remember that just because someone you know has relapsed, that doesn’t necessarily mean you will too.
To help you feel even more secure about your recovery, we’ve gathered some of the most common mistaken beliefs about relapse. We sifted through the tons of myths and laid out the top four to help you stop worrying about your sobriety, avoid relapse, and strengthen your recovery.
Myth #1: A Relapse Can Appear Out of Nowhere
Although addiction is a chronic disease that has to be managed as such, it doesn’t necessarily mean that relapse will happen out of the blue. There are always signposts leading up to a person’s relapse such as:
- Being complacent. A person can become vulnerable to relapse by not being vigilant about their recovery, not actively working towards strengthening it
- Hanging with the wrong crowd. An individual can compromise their recovery by not being selective about who they hang out with, especially socializing with individuals who drink or use drugs
- Getting overwhelmed. Taking on too much responsibility and work too early in recovery can put a person at risk for relapse
Myth #2: You Can’t Prevent a Relapse from Happening
It is important for you to remember that you always have the opportunity to prevent a relapse. If you feel that you are having really strong cravings from your addiction, for instance, you should seek help from those in your support network. You should never hesitate to contact your sponsor or open up to individuals in the NA or AA groups that you attend. They can relate to your situation and help you get through challenges like these in your recovery.
If you haven’t been going to meetings, then you should start. That is an indicator that you may be on the road to relapse. It is crucial that you stay active in your recovery and build relationships with other individuals in recovery who can provide you with the advice and support you need to overcome both big and small challenges that you face.
Myth #3: Relapsing is a part of recovery
Relapsing in early recovery does happen to many individuals; however, you can’t assume that it will happen to you and therefore not safeguard yourself. In other words, relapsing is not an inevitable part of your recovery. If you begin to think that it is a normal part of your recovery that lack of concern can lead to you justifying drinking or using again. Once you return to drugs or alcohol, there is no guarantee you will ever come back from it — it is not a risk you want to take. Always take the necessary steps to protect and strengthen your recovery. Remember, your sobriety should always be your priority.
Myth #4: If You Relapse You Are Doomed
Whether you have experienced several relapses, going through one doesn’t mean that you are hopeless or that your recovery is doomed. Many individuals who are currently in long-term recovery have gone through relapses in their early sobriety. The important thing to remember is that you shouldn’t get caught up in how many relapses you have had or might have. Instead, put focus on how you can make your next attempt at recovery a successful one or how you can continue to strengthen your recovery.