Why do Alcoholics Relapse?

While many people have the misconception that addiction is a choice, that is simply not the case. It is true that alcoholism and addiction may begin with the choice to drink or use drugs, but after a certain amount of time, addiction becomes a chronic illness. Like other chronic diseases, alcoholics and addicts are likely to experience relapses.

Studies have shown the 40-60% of people will relapse throughout their treatment. Many people believe that relapse is a part of recovery. For many people, it is a necessary part of the road to recovery. If you are an alcoholic or an addict who has relapsed, you don’t need to despair or beat yourself up. Today is a new day, and you always have a chance to turn your life around.

It’s not a surprise to hear that some substances are more addictive than other substances. You also need to be aware that different drugs are going to have different relapse rates. The highest rate is for people who are addicted to alcohol or heroin at 86-90% whereas hallucinogens and inhalants have the lowest relapse rate of 40%.

Many people hear these statistics and feel discouraged. But you shouldn’t give up hope. These are just numbers. Ultimately, you can decide if you become another statistic or not.

So what can you do to avoid relapse?

There are a few warning signs you can watch out for that may mean that a relapse is possible:

  • feeling nostalgic about the days of substance abuse
  • starting to feel like you would be able to drink or use drugs responsibly
  • reconnecting with old friends who are bad influences
  • resenting people who are trying to help you

If you find yourself experiencing one or more of those things, you should be aware that a relapse could be on the horizon. If that is the case, now is the time to increase the amount of meetings you are going to or to increase the recovery program that you are currently in. If you stay vigilant, you can avoid relapse. And if you do relapse, it’s not the end of the world. Just know that you can always pick yourself up and start over tomorrow.

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