This article is intended to be used by the general public for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be used as a reference for educational research papers, nor is it a reflection of the services available through our Rehab Program in Thailand.
Relapse – Those recovering from drug or alcohol addiction will have regular thoughts about returning to their substance of choice.
While this is natural, if allowed to overpower you, relapse will become inevitable. Here are some thoughts that are most common for those going through recovery and how they need to be dealt with.
Remembering only the good times:
It is easy to remember those weekend parties, the binges that were a laugh from start to finish and the general ‘fun’ you had while hitting drugs or the bottle far too hard.
It may not be so easy to remember the many negative aspects of your substance abuse, but remember them you must. Tell yourself why you entered rehab in the first place and remind yourself of the health and social problems encountered while addicted.
When you weigh up the good against the bad you will see exactly why returning to substance abuse is the wrong route to take.
I can re-start use without falling back into addiction:
If only! The truth of the matter is that having just one drink, or a quick ‘toot’ will lead to one thing, and one thing only; rapidly increased use. You will be back on the substance trail before you know it.
Remind yourself that compulsion is a very big part of the chronic condition you have, and this compulsion will gain momentum the moment you allow your guard to slip.
If these thoughts enter your head it is imperative that you remind yourself just how far you have progressed to date, and that you really do not want to slide back into those old ways that have caused yourself and others so much angst and despair.
Combating growing cravings:
If cravings for your old substance of choice become more constant you need to discuss this with your councillor or sponsor, but some things that can help reduce thoughts and cravings are:
Sudden shifts in behaviour and attitude:
This last point often signals that a relapse is imminent. These changes must be addressed. If you are on the verge of abandoning your recovery, or feelings of depression and loneliness are overcrowding your thoughts, please do not keep these to yourself.
It is imperative that you realise feelings of disappointment, frustration, depression, anger, sadness and embarrassment that may have been triggered by rejection or hurt need to be dealt with in a positive way.
Use a mindful approach to understand exactly why these thoughts are so strong. Talk to yourself and others to get to the bottom of feelings that must be understood.
One final thing to bear strongly in mind. These negative emotions and uncomfortable feelings will still be there once the substance wears off, and this makes such a relapse pointless.