Yes, it is easy to say I will come into recovery and stay there, but oh (!) how hard it really can be. Those of us in this community, whether we are the addicts or the support staff, we know just how hard it is.

Multiple relapses are common and expected. It is rare indeed to have a success at the first try. Rare, but not unheard of!

The reasons for relapse are as varied as there are people who relapse. Normal human reactions to everyday situations are responded to quite differently if you are an addict. The non-addict handles anger, disappointment, frustration, even happiness without these feelings being reminders to use. Not so if you are the addict. The way of coping for you has been to use through a wide range of feelings. And because we all are always feeling one way or another, you, the addict, has a multitude of reminders causing cravings. Just the thought of using has been shown to have measurable physical effects!

Some addicts are just not able to fight off an onslaught of reminders, therefore the relapse rate is huge.

Difficulties, no matter how tough, do not mean that recovery is unattainable; they are just an indication of the really tough battle you face as an addict. Each and every one of my clients has told me that relapse is so easy. Even in the face of multiple relapses where there is tremendous sadness about choosing to relapse, it is not unusual to see relapse happening over and over. The urges truly can seem uncontrollable. Especially when things are not going well in an addict’s life, getting high is welcomed and incorrectly accepted as worth it, even though addicts acknowledge that getting high has not solved anything. All the facts, all the experience, all the hopes and dreams just fade away in light of the seemingly irresistible urge to use. I say seemingly irresistible because the urge can be fought off. For sure, easier said than done, but nonetheless doable.

No one ever said recovery is easy. And no one ever said that relapse is better than recovery. But these are just words, words, words. As an addict, you must have a strong desire, a strong determination, and a strong discipline. You have to have support. Lots of support. You cannot do this alone. Recovery is not a walk in the park; it is tough, but not impossible, not unattainable. Remember that.

If you have relapsed, remember that no failure is a final failure. Try with all your might to make a relapse a slip and get right back on track. There is no limit to the amount of times you can ask for help and receive help.

Those of us that serve you welcome you each and every time that you want to come into recovery again. We understand the enormity of this battle. Just remember, we await you, we understand you, and we are always here for you. Come to us.