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What Causes Relapses?


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One thing that many folks who haven’t dealt with addiction do not understand is that addiction is a lifelong disease, one that a person with addiction continues to battle every day. Getting clean and sober can be a struggle that takes multiple attempts, especially if the person trying to get sober doesn’t have the proper support and assistance. In fact, many addiction sufferers fail several times and relapse before getting clean. There are many causes for why a person may relapse, but it is essential to know that the only way to have a truly successful attempt at getting sober is by going to a licensed treatment facility and then getting continued support once treatment has ended. 

As we said, addiction is a lifelong struggle, and it requires the right type of help and support to truly get on the road to recovery and stay there. At Living Now Recovery, we aim to provide our clients and their families with the tools they need to conquer addiction and return to their usual life. In this post, we will discuss what causes relapse, including answering the questions what does it mean to relapse, what causes relapses, and relapse prevention. 

What Does it Mean to Relapse? 

Most of the time, when we think of someone with an addiction relapsing, we think of them abusing substances again. However, this is only one aspect of a relapse and is just the final result of what happens when a person with addiction relapses. An actual relapse is a multi-stage process that begins long before they actually use again. 

The process begins in the mind with initial cravings to use drugs or alcohol, which can be caused by a whole range of factors. These cravings can come on as an almost irresistible urge to use that the person, if they are sober, struggles with internally. 

The second phase of the relapse process actually begins with the internal struggle of the person trying not to relapse. This is often accompanied by intense emotional and even physical pain as the person tries to fight the internal urges to use. It is at this point that the proper support is most important to help the individual to prevent relapse. 

The third and final phase of the relapse process is the one most people associate with relapse, the act of physically using again. Once this occurs, it can quickly turn into a downward spiral where all the progress the person has made in recovery is undone because they revert to old behaviors. 

What Causes Relapses? 

There are a wide range of factors that can cause a relapse, but we will cover some of the most common triggers of relapse. 

One big reason for relapse occurs when a person tries to quit using drugs or alcohol on their own with no medical or emotional support. Not only is this dangerous as withdrawal during the detox process can be life-threatening, but it is also very easy to relapse as the cravings become very intense, and it is easier to acquire more substances if left unsupervised. 

Another major reason for relapse has to do with daily triggers that may cause a person to want to use. These can be things like life stressors such as work or home life, pressure from friends or other addicts to use, or even a negative situation that prompts a person to escape by using drugs. 

Codependency is a third reason why someone may relapse. Codependency occurs when two people in a relationship cannot function without each other, and one person enables the other, even at the detriment of both parties. In other words, if an addicted person is in a relationship that allows their addiction, they are much more likely to relapse. 

How To Prevent Relapses? 

The first step to preventing a relapse is to get proper treatment at a licensed facility. Once treatment has ended, however, it is important to maximize the chances of success by getting continuing care at a sober living facility. This gives people recovering from addiction a safe and stable place to live where they can pursue life goals while still being held accountable for their actions. 

Living Now Recovery is a men’s only sober living community that offers the support and mentoring needed to help a person take that next step in their life after treatment. We provide round-the-clock supervision while also allowing access to work and education programs with the goal of allowing clients the opportunity to get and stay sober before eventually transitioning back to a life without drugs or alcohol. 
If you or someone you know needs continued support after treatment, contact Living Now Recovery today!