Relapse – A Part Of Recovery?


 § Part of the Recovery Is NOT For Quitters series §

I have often heard discussions that make relapse sound like something that is inevitable. That it is almost guaranteed to happen and borders on making it acceptable. I have heard these exact words on several occasions: “Relapse is part of recovery.”

Such a statement is akin to the “once an addict always an addict” idea, which only contributes to the social stigma related to addiction. Those struggling with addiction have enough immediate problems without having to be set up for failure by such negative ideas. Especially when seeking employment, housing, health insurance and many other necessities of life. How well would someone in recovery fare when facing Child Protective Services to get their children back if everyone believed that relapse is part of the recovery process? How does it make those who care for and love someone in recovery feel? Does it make someone have doubts about the person in recovery?

Certainly relapse is a possibility, but should not be accepted as an inevitable part of recovery. Viewing it in such a way is, in a sense granting permission. If you’re an addict, then you know we are masters of pseudo justification for using. I do not believe a person should condemn themselves to failure due to relapse, but neither should they accept it as a part of the recovery process. One relapse can prove fatal to an addict. The possibility of death should never be seen as a necessary provision in the process of recovery.

Let’s make this as plain as possible. When someone has a history of addiction, going back to using is part of the addiction process. Continued use is a defining characteristic of addiction.

It is not a part of getting well.

It is not a part of recovery.

Reprinted by permission of Dan Piraro.
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