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Relapse: Your Questions Answered

There are many definitions of the term relapse, but one of particular interest refers to someone dealing with addiction. Relapse for those in recovery means to return to a bad condition or negative form of behavior. This really sums up its meaning, but there are still many unknowns when it comes to relapse. Below, please find some common relapse related questions answered.

Does relapse mean I failed at recovery?

No, relapse is not indicative of failure. It means you have room for improvement and it means you need to re-evaluate your recovery. Consider the factors that allowed the relapse to occur. Was it specific people or an environment that poorly influenced your decision-making skills? Was it an emotional response to someone or something? Or, was it an inability to say no? Some of these situations may mean that you need additional support in your recovery or perhaps you need to learn some life-skills to ensure your recovery success. Don’t be alarmed. These are all normal. The important thing about relapse is that you learn from it.

For an alcoholic, does one drink mean I relapsed?

The answer to this question varies depending on the individual. For some people that have dealt with alcoholism for a very long time, one drink can definitely mean you’ve relapsed. People dealing with alcoholism often can’t stop at just one drink, so having even that first drink can be hugely detrimental. For someone with a much milder issue with alcohol, one drink may not always mean a relapse. Much of it depends on the mental state of the individual. Was the single drink a moment of weakness which refuels a deep-seated attachment to alcohol? Was that drink the result of peer pressure or giving in to a craving or trigger? In these situations, that drink likely indicates a relapse.

Do I have to tell people when I relapse?

You most absolutely need to tell your mentor, therapist, counselor, or support system. It is critical that you acknowledge the relapse and determine what factors contributed to the relapse. These are indicators of what is missing in your recovery and what you need to do to ensure your recovery is more successful.

Relapse doesn’t mean you are a failure and it doesn’t mean your recovery is over. If you recently experienced a relapse, please call Villa Tranquil at 866-697-7573 to speak with an addiction expert and get the help you need to get back on track right away.