Is relapse part of recovery? It is one of the most common misconceptions out there about drug and alcohol treatment.
Relapse is not a part of recovery—at all.
Why Do People Ask, “Is Relapse Part of Recovery?”
People ask, “Is relapse part of recovery?” because they heard someone say that it was. This usually happens in a group or a meeting, usually in an effort to help ease the unwarranted shame of someone who recently went back out, failed to drink or use like a normal person, and came back to try to get clean and sober once again.
The worst part is, there is no shame in an addict or alcoholic going back out.
That’s what addicts and alcoholics do.
That’s the thing, though: relapse is the exact opposite of addiction recovery. If a person needs to go back out and test the waters again to be absolutely sure that they are an addict or alcoholic, then so be it. If that improves their chances of staying and gives them a better idea of where their disease will take them, then it is worth it.
However, no part of getting sober and then going back out and using or drinking has anything to do with recovery itself. There are plenty among us who stay clean and sober after our first meeting or group.
Relapse does not mean we throw in the towel, throw up our arms, say “Oh well,” and just languish in our disease thinking we are beyond hope.
Is relapse part of recovery? No, but it can be instrumental in attaining long-term recovery afterwards.
With the better understanding and full comprehension of how utterly doomed we are in the face of alcoholism and addiction, we have a hope of a better tomorrow, especially when it comes to drug and alcohol rehab and recovery. If we don’t have that understanding, though, then it is likely that we will test the waters again. That is where the idea of relapse and recovery having a relationship has a minor tinge of validity.
Think about the last time you drank or used, and then recall the time directly before that. What was the difference between that last run and the run prior? Would you still be clean and sober if you hadn’t had that last go of it?
We shouldn’t confuse relapse as a part of recovery, though, because you can only learn from your experiences if you survive them. The worst part is that in many cases, addicts and alcoholics don’t get that opportunity.