The Beauty of Relapse – 3 Points to Consider

Whenever beauty is mentioned, we think about pleasant things, places and experiences, women. People do not refer to anything unpleasant or undesirable as beautiful, at least as far as I know.
Concerning the word ‘Relapse’, What do we think of when it is mentioned? Let me know in the comments.

What does it even mean in this context?

Relapse in relation to substance use disorder simply means that, an individual who had stopped drinking or using drugs for a period has returned to a total state of using, which has started to affect every area of their life and thus is causing them not to function optimally.

So, you would be wondering, what could possibly be beautiful about relapse? It depends on what you choose to see. The Beautiful or the not so pleasant side?
Let’s look at some of the beauty in it.

1. The Individual is Willing to Make a Change

For someone to be said to have relapsed, the person must have been abstinent for a period. That is good news! It means that, the individual thought carefully about his/her life and realized that it was not going in the right direction and therefore, made the decision to get into treatment.

This fact is a good foundation to build on. Now the individual has experienced ‘life in active drug use’ and ‘life in active abstinence’, and has the ability to assess both situations. This assessment when objectively done sometimes with the help of a professional or a loved one, will highlight the benefits of ‘life in active abstinence’, (examples are improved health and well being and others which may differ for each person), which will eventually serve as motivation for someone to go back into treatment.

2. It is Not as Disappointing as it sounds

Yes, exactly, it is actually very kind of common in all chronic diseases.
If you are not new to my blog, you would know by now that substance use disorder is a chronic disease.
As a matter of fact, the statistics on relapse for substance use disorders are not as gloomy in comparison to other chronic diseases like Asthma and Hypertension. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), percentage of clients who relapse for substance use disorder ranges from 40% – 60%, for Asthma and Hypertension, relapse is likely to occur in 50% – 70% of patients.
Relapse in persons with substance use disorders should be seen as a need to offer another round of treatment, just like it is done in other chronic diseases and not seen as a failure in treatment.

3. An Opportunity to Try Something New

Substance use disorder is a very complex disease. It does not only affect an individual’s physical body, or brain. It affects the individual emotionally, mentally, socially, spiritually and in many other ways that can not be imagined.

This is generally so because, the reasons why people may start using substances may be borne from a need to satisfy certain physical, mental, emotional, social, spiritual needs.
These factors, in addition to the fact that, every individual has unique needs and therefore needs very specifically tailored treatment means that, an initial treatment plan may become inadequate or redundant when initial needs with which the individual entered treatment changes.

Instead of looking at relapse as a failure of the individual or the treatment program, it should be seen as an opportunity to try out new techniques and coping skills to address current needs.

After a storm there may be flooding, there may also be a beautiful rainbow. The storm of a relapse is no different!

Author: Esther Asiome

Hello! My name is Esther Asiome (ICAP II). I am an Internationally Certified Drug Addiction Counsellor. I created Recovery Aid to provide tips for people with Substance Use Disorders and for anyone who may be interested in learning about the disorder. I hope you find it useful. Let me know what you think.

4 thoughts on “The Beauty of Relapse – 3 Points to Consider”

  1. Relapse should not be seen as a failure but a stepping stone to the recovery process because, at this point, the individual in question has tested two sides of life, leaving with and without the usage of drugs or alcohol.

    All along I was thinking relapse was a bad thing
    Thanks for the insight

    Liked by 1 person

  2. For me, relapse is a choice. Having tasted both sides of life,why would you decide to go back to the life you once were which didn’t helping you. I believe one has to rather make something meaningful with his or life instead of going back

    Like

    1. Thanks for your comments Charles. This material is not encouraging relapse, it is just looking at how it can be used to get individuals back on track. Thank you for taking time to read it.

      Like

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