Why It’s So Hard to Stay Sober and So Easy to Relapse
Relapse is one of the greatest fears of people receiving treatment for a substance use disorder. It is hard to stay sober. Rehabilitation facilities often expect relapse. Most people who complete a treatment program will reuse at least once within the first year after rehab.
Whether you’re treating substance abuse as an individual problem or coping with it on top of another mental health disorder, staying sober is difficult. Sometimes, those suffering from addiction may even want to give in and relapse.
Know this: Relapse does not mean they have failed beyond repair. Sobriety is a journey, not a final destination.
Common Reasons People Relapse and Why It’s Hard to Stay Sober
There are many different causes of relapse, some technical and others personal. The truth is that no one can say who will relapse and who won’t. Many people who have every hurdle imaginable stacked against them manage to quit cold turkey. Others who undergo treatment at the most luxurious facilities will be back on their drug of choice within a matter of days.
Understanding the potential causes of relapse can help you or your loved one become more aware of the potential triggers that exist in life. These examples are by no means exhaustive. However, they do lay a robust framework that will help suffering individuals take the best preventative actions toward health and sobriety.
Lack of Follow-Up Care
It is extremely hard to stay sober, making continued treatment vital to long-term recovery success. Mental health is a lifelong journey, and one can’t expect to “cure” addiction and transform into the most capable, happy, and resilient person in a matter of months.
Many rehabs stress the importance of attending outpatient programs and support groups. These recommendations should not be taken as mild suggestions. Initial addiction treatment can be lifesaving, but the quality and consistency of follow-up care are what can enable someone to give life meaning again.
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Lack of Confidence
People who believe they will use again typically do. Recovery is not for the faint of heart. Achieving sobriety requires coming face-to-face with the personal demons previously faced and why drugs or alcohol was used to escape from them. Many people find themselves overwhelmed by the pain they experience following treatment, and they turn back to the most powerful coping mechanism they know – drugs.
Working with a professional therapist to build your confidence is crucial. Those in recovery may even want to enlist the help of a sobriety partner who can help keep them on track, manage their toughest days, and guide them toward the right path.
Once rehab is finished, now what?
Sheer boredom can drive many people to relapse. Most people’s lives were rooted in their addiction before they received treatment. When there was nothing to do, there were always drugs available. The initial periods of sobriety can be wildly isolating and disorienting. Essentially one must rebuild their entire life and identity from the ground up.
It’s tough work and staying busy is the best thing you can do for yourself. Therapy is one activity to add to the list. After rehab, those in recovery should become invested in other activities, preferably ones that get you out of the house and around other people in healthy settings. Examples include volunteer work, exercise classes at the gym, or signing up for night classes.
Seeking Help to Stay Sober
What matters is that a plan is put into place. It may not be known precisely what the long-term goals are. But it’s enough to focus on the day-to-day and know that every moment is a choice to stay sober and to do something better than using drugs.
Remember that the recovery journey doesn’t have to be taken alone. If you or someone you love is suffering from drug or alcohol addiction, contact your local hospital or contact one of our professional counselors at Desert Cove Recovery. Reaching out can help someone stay sober by connecting them with the best professionals and resources in your area.