How to Work with Relapse
Relapse is not the end of recovery. It’s not recommended, either, and those of us who treat for substance use disorders can’t condone the behavior. Still, it’s more effective to take a positive approach to recovery after a relapse
than it is to be angry and condemn the addict.
Recovery from alcoholism
or drug addiction
is an ongoing process, and abstinence is not a lifetime guarantee. Most alcoholics and addicts relapse at least once before achieving long-term abstinence, if they make it. Even short-term abstinence is a miracle for those who are heavily dependent on alcohol or heroin, for example.
When an individual with more than a few months of recovery relapses, those around them usually find it difficult to accept as being a normal occurrence. It’s easy to forget how hard it was to get a loved one into treatment when life with them begins to feel “normal”. The natural reaction for family members is to think they didn’t do enough, so anger and sadness result.
Going back to substance use does not mean an addict has given up, though. It just means that progress has taken a step backward, meaning that something wasn’t addressed during treatment or coping skills need to be improved. Both of these can be corrected with further counseling. From this perspective, a relapse can be seen as a lesson rather than a failure.
Understanding this can reduce the anger among family members, and could hasten the trip back to rehab. It’s better to lovingly encourage treatment rather than to react and increase pressure on the addict. Of course the family of an addict needs to make it known that getting back on the road to recovery is the only acceptable outcome. With a positive attitude, this can be done in a more loving tone that is more-likely to lead the addict in the right direction.
Telemedicine services are also available with online medical care, online mental health treatment, and online alcohol and drug treatment.
Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California
in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.