Why Avoiding Relapse Is So Important


It’s probably safe to say that anyone entering into alcohol rehab in South Africa will have every intention of succeeding the first time around. By contrast, it’s unlikely that anyone would enter into a treatment programme with the intention or expectation of suffering a relapse. Nevertheless, given that relapse is a reality that many recovering addicts will face during their own recovery process, it is something that should not be overlooked or ignored.

One of the few similarities among all addiction treatment programs is the fact that when it comes to relapse, ignorance isn’t bliss. It shouldn’t be ignored, but at the same time should not be viewed as something of an inevitability. After all, if you reside yourself to the fact that you are going to relapse, chances are it’s going to happen.

Avoiding relapse means not only acknowledging it in the first place, but learning how to control the various triggers that increase its likelihood.  Triggers will always vary significantly from one person to the next, but include things like loneliness, boredom, poor physical health, tiredness, isolation, relationship issues, financial problems and so on. The better you manage your own personal triggers, the less likely you are to relapse.

Contrary to popular belief, relapse doesn’t necessarily spell the end all the failure of the treatment program.  Instead, it represents a setback – perhaps even a severe one – that nonetheless one that can be overcome with a proactive approach. Nevertheless, there are various reasons why it is important to make every effort to avoid relapse in the first place, rather than simply allow it to occur where it could have been prevented.

A More Difficult Process

For example, one of the most important things to bear in mind when it comes to addiction treatment programs is that things have the potential to be even more difficult the second time around. The reason being that if you attempt a course of treatment and relapse along the way, it is inevitable that your confidence and motivation will suffer as a result. As such, when you then begin or continue the subsequent treatment program accordingly, you may already have it in your head that you are weak, unable to cope and therefore more likely to relapse.  Once you get into this mindset, it is very difficult to get out of it. While it’s not to say that the second, third, fourth or any other attempt to treatment cannot be 100% successful, the more times you fail, the more difficult you may find it.

Health Implications

Addiction to any harmful substance will inherently have its own detrimental effects on your physical health. When you go through the addiction recovery process, this will likewise take a significant toll on its body. Reducing or halting consumption of the substance itself combine with medication and various other approaches to treatment can have any number of health implications.  However, should you then falter along the way and go back to using the previous substance, the health implications you are likely to suffer may be even more disastrous. This then has the potential to lead into something of a downward spiral, given the way in which it becomes even more difficult to successfully complete a course of treatment as your health deteriorates. Certain health implications and side effects are inevitable as part and parcel of the treatment process. Nevertheless, those that go hand-in-hand with relapse tend to be significantly more severe.

Faith in You

Last but not least, it’s also important to take into account the feelings and opinions of those around you. If you are fortunate enough to have a strong support group of friends and family members to help you through the process, you need to remember that your treatment and recovery are not only about you.  Instead, you are doing what you are doing for yourself and for those around you. While the vast majority of those who are realistic about things will not expect miracles, it’s important to acknowledge the fact that every failure on your part may make it more difficult for them to believe in you. Each time you relapse, it becomes more and more difficult for those around you to hold onto the belief and motivation required to support you along the way. Sooner or later, even those who had your best interests at heart may lose faith in you. So while it’s not to say that it’s a case of no second chances, it is at least of critical importance to do absolutely everything you can to avoid relapse along the way.