There are so many reasons why people relapse, and the reasons can be as varied and unique as our experiences with addiction. There are some common themes that can help us to understand why we relapse, which can be a very difficult experience, especially when we want so badly to get better.
For many of us, the answer lies in the fact that we simply don’t believe in ourselves yet. We don’t believe we can recover and stay sober, and this belief totally limits us and holds us back. The beliefs we carry greatly influence our energy. If we’re telling ourselves on a regular basis that we won’t be able to do something, chances are we won’t be able to. Our subconscious mind stores our emotional information, and very often we’ve adopted limiting beliefs about ourselves and our potential that can greatly hinder our progress. To shift these beliefs, we can start to take notice of how we’re thinking and feeling, and work to develop more positive and encouraging beliefs. “I believe in myself. I am strong enough to get better. I can heal. I have faith in myself.”
Another common reason many of us relapse is we haven’t gotten the necessary support. Some of us require professional help to get better but we don’t take advantage of the resources available to us. This often has a lot to do with fear. We’re afraid of asking for help. We’re afraid of going through withdrawal. We’re afraid of doing the hard work to recover. If we’ve already been in treatment, we can feel filled with so much shame and disappointment that we don’t want to reach out for help again. These feelings are natural and normal, but instead of moving through them, we allow them to hold us back from getting the help we need.
Some of us relapse because we haven’t done enough to change our lifestyle or environment to reflect our goals of sobriety. Some of us are still living with an addict who is actively using, for example, and it can be an uphill battle to try to stay sober while someone close to us is still in the grips of addiction. We might have friends, coworkers or family who don’t support our sobriety and who derail our progress in different ways. Perhaps they continually invite us to drink with them, or bring drugs or alcohol around us, or try to convince us that we can be social drinkers and that we don’t actually have a serious problem. Often these people are struggling with their own addictions and are in denial themselves.
Relapse is common but not inevitable. There are resources and support available, and we can help. Call 888-570-7154 for more information.