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relapse from drug addiction

When Does Relapse Happen?

Most people may think that the physical act of taking a drink, or smoking/snorting/injecting/swallowing a drug is the actual relapse, but in reality, ingestion is the endgame. Our brains are working overtime to get to that point, and the closer we get to actual use, the harder it is to put the brakes on.

Addiction is a disease that is constantly working to kill its host. Whether you’ve been in recovery for 2 months or 20 years, it is always lying in wait, eager to attack at any moment of weakness. It will tell you things like, “you’re ok, you don’t need those meetings anymore,” or “even though this brand of kombucha has 12% alcohol, it’s still kombucha so it doesn’t really count, right?” If you are strong in your sobriety, you know how irrational these thoughts are; if your sobriety is weakened, crazy ideas don’t sound so crazy to you.

In addition to thoughts that sway towards relapse, there are many subtle ideas and suggestions our addict brains sneak into our heads. For instance, you may be flipping through the newspaper and see beer ads, and suddenly you’re thinking, “wow, that’s a great deal…” or wondering what the new vodka tastes like. Maybe you have some leftover pills from an old injury or an anxiety prescription, and you begin justifying to yourself that since you were prescribed them before, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t take them now.

Your mood is another good indicator as to how your sobriety is going. If you are feeling restless, irritable, or discontent, you could be headed for trouble. If you don’t recognize what’s going on, hopefully your friends notice something is off with you, and best case scenario, they’ll call you on it. Relapse is a slippery slope, and once you start on it, the descent is fast if you don’t act on saving your recovery.

Reach out, talk to people, go back to doing what you were doing when you were on fire for your recovery. If that means going to a couple of meetings a day, seeing your therapist more, hanging out with your sober friends more often, or whatever it is you do to stay sober, do it. Relapse doesn’t have to be part of your story. It’s not worth suffering the pain it will bring, and its pain will be so much worse than when you first got sober. If you are struggling to stay sober, give us a call. We can help you get back on track and heading on the right path to recovery.

Serenity Recovery Center at the Encino Hospital Medical Center offers the comforts of home for a clinical detox experience. Detox is the necessary first step of recovery. Begin your recovery journey in a safe, comfortable environment, clinically monitored by professionals. Call 844-339-6964 today for more information.