What is the Likelihood I Will Relapse?

will i relapse

For those in recovery, thinking about it, or knows somebody in it- chances are that our usage and debauchery was starting to catch up to us and so some necessary steps were taken to keep the ball of life rolling. This process of sorts usually entails dropping all forms of drugs and alcohol from the table and enrolling ourselves into some sort of anonymous program. Then we start getting into action with working the 12 steps, getting a sponsor, and doing service work. It’s once we start putting in all this action that life begins to turn itself around. We start getting out of bed every day with a smile that is powered by hope instead of desperation. Life starts to become stupendous again and we question why we ever got high and/or drunk in the first place. Some of us float on the pink cloud of new found freedom for as long as we can, but the thunder looms in the background. One of the key things to remember in these circumstances is to remain humble and teachable. Addiction and alcoholism never fully disintegrate from that space in between our ears. There isn’t a cure that has ever existed and science has failed to do so yet. So the point being is that even after detoxification and all the meetings for a lifetime, our sobriety or clean time is never guaranteed. Relapse happens every day- from the guy who can’t put together 24 hours, or even to the man with 13 years clean as he puts his lips to the bottle. No amount of time can make us immune to the disease of alcoholism for us- the truly chemically dependent. The secrets lie within the steps and the fellowship.

Wait- Really?

Alcohol and drug setbacks are extremely common among substance abusers with some bit of clean time, but this also makes the act of using much more dangerous. When we get clean, our body regulates itself back to a normal state and our tolerances go back to zilch. Often times, addicts and alcoholics will go back to their drug or drink of choice and put their health at serious risk from the copious amount of chemicals they start ingesting immediately. The danger zone does increase, but this is also something that just happens. I say this so as not to provide a tool for justification, but more so as a tool to help the self-esteem of somebody who is really struggling out there. Yes, there are those who get clean and never relapse again and we can all applaud for those white chip wonders because that is a feat that doesn’t happen as often as one would hope. Then there are the rest of us riding this disease out. The addicts and alcoholics like myself who have had to burn our hands time after time after time until there were blisters upon blisters upon blisters. We didn’t get clean after that first attempt. Oh no, we had to bounce in and out of the rooms of Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous for multiple years. Those of us who didn’t want to put in the effort and only half-ass it. Pick and choose our own specific recovery plan and tell the rest we know how to run our lives best. Well, it’s our best thinking that gets us to this point, so maybe listening to the advice of others couldn’t hurt right?

man doing drugs in the bathroom

The statistics and facts throughout the years seem to show the same results and addiction and alcoholism are becoming more and more of a concern in the medical field. They are beginning to be looked at and treated as more serious mental disorders due to the severity of casualties passing away in recent years to the grips of addiction. A study from the National Institute of Drug Abuse on alcohol abuse and alcoholism stated that approximately 90% of alcoholics will experience one or more substance reversions during a 4 year period after treatment. If that is the case, the odds are evidently against those of us in recovery. Unfortunately, there are even more odds to stack up against us when it comes to this battle of dropping the booze and various narcotics. Studies over the course of an 8 year period of 1,200 addicts/alcoholics done by the National Center for Biotechnology Information have shown many interesting facts. The first one being of that allotted amount of people, only one-third were able to stay sober with less than a year clean. You see, early sobriety is the most difficult generally speaking. It takes a while to find that groove. The study also goes on to show that for those who generate a year clean, less than half of them will relapse. Then it goes on to also show that if an addict or alcoholic can make it to ripe age of 5 years in sobriety, their chances of throwing that away are only 15%.

It’s pretty clear to most that the more time you put together, the stronger you will get at battling off your addiction and/or alcoholism. What a lot of individuals fail to realize is that relapse isn’t just the act of picking up a drink or a drug, but it is also the mindset the gets us there and also follows along with the usage. Relapse starts in the mind and is a conscious or subconscious thought process that has to be entertained. Beware of these thoughts and it will help you stay on track. It’s vital to remember that in the end, we cannot change the statistics. At the same time, we as individuals control our own destiny. So it’s up to us to decide in our hearts which side of the statistic we want to be on when chemical judgment time comes.

To be Clean or Not to be Clean?

In all actuality, there isn’t any risk of relapse if one cannot get away from the substances to begin with. Drugs and alcohol suck us addicts and alcoholics into a whirlwind of chaos that we haven’t the tools to escape. It gets pretty miserable and the consequences continually build up like a failing game of Tetris and eventually enough is enough. If you or a loved one is struggling with chemical dependency and are ready for help, please call 1-866-802-6848 or visit www.coastaldetox.com. We are ready to give you any suggestions possible and set you or your loved one on a path that we can all be proud of.

Content Reviewed by Jacklyn Steward

Jacklyn StewardJacklyn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and an EMDR trained trauma therapy specialist with over 6 years of experience in the field of addiction. She has a Masters Degree in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counseling from Nova Southeastern University.