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What is a Relapse? And Should I Go Back to Treatment if I Have One?

By: Rhea Rosier, Palm Partners Recovery Center

December 27th, 2011

In recovery there is always a chance for what is called a relapse. A relapse in recovery means that a person has been clean or has stopped using drugs and alcohol for a certain amount of time and then begins drinking or using again.  Relapses are scary and are one of the hardest things to deal with and face within recovery. Relapses are filled with guilt and shame. Alot of the times the person who begins using drugs or alcohol again doesn’t know why it has happened. Even someone who really wanted to stay sober can relapse and at the end up be hitting their head against the wall, saying over and over again, “why?, why?, why?”. This is a reality for anyone with the disease of alcoholism or addiction. Relapse doesn’t have to be a part of anyone’s journey getting sober but it can happen and it is always best to know what to do if it does.

The main thing to do if you or your loved one relapses is to get them straight back into treatment. Going back to treatment if you or your loved one has a relapse may seem counter productive or even futile in the light that they just went to treatment and now have begun  using again. The reason you or your loved one should once again attend treatment is because when a relapse happens it is unknown when that person will stop. Relapses are scary in the sense that it’s during this time overdoses are more likely to happen and with progression of this disease relapses always get worse never better.

Going back to treatment if a relapse happens is not only the safest option but it is also the smartest option. Recovery is a journey and just because a relapse happens doesn’t mean a person will never get the gift of a lifetime of sobriety. So it would make sense to never give up on the option of learning something you may have missed at treatment the first time. Going back to treatment after a relapse is something many addicts and alcoholics do. Sometimes these addicts and alcoholics who go back to treatment after a relapse end up getting it and stay sober for the rest of their life. We never know what the journey of recovery may hold and for some people it holds one or more relapses.

If you or someone you know has relapsed and needs to go back to treatment please dont hesitate to call: 877-711-HOPE(4673) or go to


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