Drug addiction can occur rather easily and steadily over time, with an individual’s initial choice to consume drug substances slowly becoming an unavoidable compulsion to continue taking them no matter the consequences. It can be very disquieting and upsetting to an individual to discover that the choice to stop their drug use does not easily result in the lasting sobriety they desire. Some may even believe that since they cannot simply choose to become sober and do so, it must mean that true sobriety is actually impossible. Fortunately, they are wrong. The truth is that obtaining and maintaining one’s sobriety is possible. Taking the first difficult step toward full and lasting sobriety by admitting that one has a problem with drugs and needs help to resolve them can set them on the path to recovery. However, they will have to remained dedicated and determined throughout the long, difficult journey in order to meet with success.
Relapse After Rehab
While first acknowledging that not all rehabilitation treatment facilities or programs are created equally, the basic purpose of any rehabilitation treatment program is to restore an individual to the ability to live a healthy, happy and productive life. The concept may be simple, but the execution is quite complex. The individual will not only have to address the immediate physical, mental and emotional effects of drug use that are interrupting their ability to live a normal life–such as intense cravings for more drugs–but they will also have to dig down to the root causes of their drug use, resolve these, and learn the basic life skills necessary to prevent a future return to drug use.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse indicates that rehabilitation treatment is most successful when it lasts for a minimum of ninety days. However, the bottom line is that effective treatment is not actually measured in time. It is measured by the individual’s own recognition that they have fully addressed and resolved their addiction problems, and are ready to move forward into a healthier future. A fully recovered individual normally feels a great sense of relief and a great hope for a better future. They are excited about what lies ahead, and not at all interested in re-introducing drug substances to their life. That said, relapse can still occur.
When an individual relapses back into drug use after completing rehabilitation treatment, they can feel strong emotions of disappointment or helplessness. For many, they worked so hard for their sobriety and enjoyed it so much for whatever period of time it lasted that a relapse can be quite disheartening and can adversely affect their delicate self-esteem and self-confidence. Fortunately, a relapse does not mean that the individual cannot achieve long-term sobriety, or that something is fundamentally wrong with them. It simply means that they require further rehabilitation treatment.
Relapses normally occur for a few very exact reasons: the individual never actually wanted to recover but attended rehab to appease a family member or friend, the individual experienced strong cravings for drug substances, the individual encountered some life situation they were unprepared or unwilling to address or resolve, or the individual forgot why they wanted to be sober and returned to old, familiar habits, routines, environments or acquaintances. Where an individual tried rehabilitation treatment to quiet family members or friends, it should not be surprising that they relapse back into drug use. An individual will need to discover for themselves the reasons they want to establish and maintain sobriety since trying rehabilitation treatment simply because someone else made them is not reason enough for them to work through the many challenges required to achieve full recovery. Where an individual continues to struggle with drug cravings, they will need to complete a full detoxification program that helps to eliminate all drug residuals from their body. Where the individual is turning to drugs in order to avoid difficult life situations, they will need more support from family members and friends, and more life skills in order to confidently address and resolve these problems. Where an individual has dismissed their reasons for sobriety and returned to dangerous old habits, they again need support from family members and friends as well as more guidance along how to make the choices in life that lead to happiness and satisfaction. In each and every case, however, these situations can be addressed through further rehabilitation treatment.