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Relapse Revival

Updated: Sep 11, 2020

They say only 20% of Opiate addicts will seek help. They also say that 80% of the individuals that do seek help will eventually relapse. Which is stating that if 50,000 people receive help or treatment, 40,000 of them will go back out. This relapse statistic is up to 60% for any other substances as well. So, the harsh reality is that most people will relapse, and it is a part of recovery. However, this should not be viewed as a setback or an excuse to give up. It can actually be useful to identify the exact adjustment needed to successfully last in recovery. I had to do this with my own relapses and I try to point this out when working with individuals in addiction constantly. I realized there is little progress when we continue making the same mistake over and over and don’t identify it. A common problem can occur when an individual thinks he/she is “cured” and completely relieved of an obsession while in treatment. So, they tend to go back to the same places, people, and things with this “newfound” strength without any maintenance. This usually creates a rapid decline until they fall back to their old ways. It is easy to return to what we are comfortable with because every part of recreating your life from the ground up is hard. As well as trying to change every aspect of what you know can be very discomforting. However, that is recovery. We lived, thought, or used drugs a certain way for so long. How can we expect it to change so quickly? It will obviously take some time in following some simple steps or skills to create lasting change. I believe we have to recreate new memories in almost every interaction to replace the old ones. This involves finding ways to enjoy recovery with new surroundings and peers that have a focus on empowerment. This also goes into being involved with a fellowship of people who can relate to your common experiences and can continue to walk the track with you. I never wanted to go to addiction-based meetings but when I was finally broken enough, they saved my life. It was probably the most uncomfortable feeling ever having to talk to people about my struggles. But I was quick to realize that they understood and had empathy, I didn’t feel alone. I also had to be vulnerable with my situation to uphold accountability in these meetings, workplace, and the community. These same steps along with other ones led me to a promising life today. I did not have anything to prove except to those who loved me, and I did this through an amends. Which involved daily action in my new environment and gave me the acceptance I needed. These are just a few things that have prevented relapse but all I have is today and I will start back over tomorrow. The best thing I could suggest is don’t become complacent. Which simply means “don’t let up” on your program, remember what you learned and continue to seek.

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