Rethinking Relapses: What Falling Off the Wagon Can Teach You

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A relapse doesn’t mean you’ve failed

It never feels good to relapse – or, it can feel good in the moment, but all too soon a relapse is accompanied by feelings of guilt and regret. Our Pasadena rehab center understands that relapsing can feel like failure, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, a relapse can often help open the door to more lasting success with quitting.

Relapses happen, what can we learn from them?

The most important thing to recognize is that successfully implementing major behavioral changes, like recovering from addiction, is a long and winding road, and that very few people nail it on the first try. Studies show that eighty percent of alcoholics will drink again at least once, and between sixty and ninety percent of smokers will smoke again within a year of quitting, which shows that relapse tends to be the rule and not the exception. The good news? Those same studies show that there are at least two million more ex-smokers than current smokers in the country, and in one of the largest U.S. surveys of alcohol use, only one-quarter of the people addicted to alcohol were still drinking heavily the following year. Another study revealed that of a sample of cocaine addicts who had undergone treatment, more than half were still clean and sober five years later. It’s also important to remember that one slip-up doesn’t have to mean a complete and total relapse. Falling off the wagon can feel like you’ve canceled out all your hard work, but that kind of defeatist thinking just makes things worse. Instead of feeling guilty, try to think hard about how the relapse happened. What were you feeling? Who were you with? What had been happening in your life? This way, along with help from our Pasadena addiction treatment center, you can learn from your relapse and develop better techniques for anticipating, and therefore avoiding, another one.

Final word

The journey of completely kicking an addiction is one that may never be truly over. And that’s all right! What matters is you don’t let a relapse stop you from picking yourself back up and getting back on the wagon. If you or a loved one is in need of help with substance abuse, Call Ridgeview Ranch Today at (800) 296-1868. We’re Here to Help!

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