Addiction is a complex disease that is never fully cured in most people. That is because of how common drug and alcohol relapse is. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), between 40-60% of people who seek substance abuse treatment experience at least one relapse.
Relapse can be emotionally painful and disheartening, but it does not mean that you have failed or that rehab didn’t work. It simply means something went wrong and something needs to be changed. In many circumstances, going back to rehab after a relapse can help you discover why you relapsed and how to prevent future relapses. The therapy and nurturing you will receive during treatment can also lessen the shame and other negative emotions toward your relapse so you can truly embrace life in recovery.
Still, rehab is an investment of your time, money, and energy, so is it really always necessary to go back for rehab round two? Everyone’s situation is different. If you’re unsure of whether going back to rehab is right for you, our admissions counselors are available now for a confidential, risk-free assessment.
A Slip vs. a Relapse: When is Treatment Necessary?
Whether or not you need to return to rehab depends highly on the severity of your situation. For instance, some people who relapse “slip up” or “lapse” one time, then they get back on track. Others experience a full-blown return to the cycle of addiction and their old behaviors.
- “Slip” or “lapse” – A slip or lapse is a short-lived, usually single event when drugs or alcohol are used. During or shortly after this happens, people realize the mistake they have made and take the proper actions to get back on the right track. For example, someone who slips may have one glass of wine, realize the risk they have taken, and call their sponsor or start going to more meetings. Individuals in these situations may not need to go back to rehab.
- Relapse – A true relapse is far more serious than a slip. People who relapse use drugs and alcohol habitually in a similar manner as they used to before getting sober. Relapses can last days, weeks, months, and even years. During a relapse, people may avoid their sponsor, stop taking medications, forgo meetings and therapy sessions, and isolate themselves from loved ones. In the case of a relapse, going back to rehab is usually necessary.
Getting sober after a relapse can be just as difficult, if not more difficult, than getting sober the first time. Sobering up after relapsing is usually tied to a lot of guilt, shame, and negative consequences. Seeking professional support is the best way to deal with these effects.
Signs You Should Go Back to Rehab After a Relapse
If you’ve relapsed, it’s important to seek help right away. However, your judgment may be clouded, and you may be in denial that you need to return to treatment. Common signs that you should go back to rehab include:
- Inability to control how often you drink or use drugs
- Lack of control over the amount of drugs/alcohol you use
- Isolating from loved ones
- Lying to loved ones
- Wanting to stop but feeling unable to do so
- Engaging in risky or illegal behaviors
- Rationalizing your substance abuse (i.e. saying “it could be worse” or “I can control it this time”)
- Experiencing feelings of shame, guilt, or embarrassment
- Feeling as though you cannot function without drugs/alcohol
Why Didn’t Rehab Keep Me Sober the First Time?
Relapse does not mean that rehab didn’t work–it simply means a part of your treatment and recovery program needs modifications. Remember, many people who struggle with addiction relapse, and relapse is part of the recovery journey for some.
Rather than thinking you failed or that rehab didn’t work, try to shift your perspective to look at your relapse as a learning opportunity. Your relapse can make you realize what is missing in your recovery and what you need to do to stay sober in the future.
Some of the most common causes of relapse include:
- Failing to follow through with your aftercare plan
- Not going to meetings or having a support system
- Struggling with a mental health condition like depression or anxiety
- Failing to treat the root cause of your substance abuse
- Extreme life changes like divorce, trauma, or grief and loss
Regardless of the obstacles you are facing or what caused your relapse, getting additional help can be greatly beneficial.
Benefits of Returning to Rehab After a Drug & Alcohol Relapse
If you choose to go back to rehab after an addiction relapse, much of your treatment plan will be geared toward relapse prevention. Your therapist will help you process the emotions surrounding your relapse and analyze the days and weeks leading up to it. You will gain valuable insight into your recovery and your personal needs because you will recognize what led you to relapse in the first place.
Once you forgive yourself and understand your relapse better, your therapist will help you modify your relapse prevention plan based on your needs. Perhaps you need to attend more meetings, stay in a sober living home, or start medication-assisted treatment (MAT). The solution is different for everyone, but a qualified addiction counselor can help you discover the one that is right for you.
Giving rehab a second shot can:
- Provide you with more coping skills
- Refresh your knowledge about addiction and recovery
- Help you identify your relapse triggers
- Help you develop a sober support group
- Reduce painful emotions toward your relapse
- Get rid of guilt and shame
- Pave the way for long-term recovery
Since you will have experienced a period of sobriety before, you’re likely to leave rehab more committed to your recovery than ever before.
Find Support After Addiction Relapse at ARISE Treatment Center
Returning to rehab after a drug and alcohol relapse can be life-saving, and it may be just what you need to achieve long-term recovery. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction or seeking sobriety after a relapse, please contact us today. Our talented admissions counselors are available now to assess your needs, verify your insurance, and help you get back on the road to recovery. Call now to get started.