Addiction is cunning, baffling, and powerful, and chronic relapse might be the proof of that. What is chronic relapsing? Chronic relapsing is a vicious cycle in which someone with a substance use disorder gets clean and sober, but picks up and falls into their addiction again – over, and over, and over.
Some people who experience chronic relapse have been through substance use disorder treatment – sometimes even many times. They may have been able to hold on to long periods of recovery, but still seem to always end up in the same place.
It can be especially painful for the person caught in that cycle – and their loved ones – to have their hopes dashed over and over, despite all of the recovery tools and knowledge they have accumulated in their recovery.
Why do people experience chronic relapse? Just like all people with substance use disorders, chronic relapsers each have their own particular version of struggle.
Some common threads include
- Not enough time spent in treatment
- Insufficient after-care
- Returning to an unsafe social environment or living situation after treatment
- Stress or life changes
- Not continuing to work a recovery program
- How can you break that horrible cycle and stop relapsing?
If you are able to pursue substance use disorder treatment, the staff can be a great resource to help set you up for success. Following their direction can be the best strategy.
To start, follow staff recommendations for length of treatment whenever possible. When treatment comes to an end, follow their recommendations for after-care, whether it may involve sober living, IOP (intensive outpatient treatment), or a program of 12-Step meetings.