When someone becomes addicted to alcohol or a drug, the addiction can become chronic, or ongoing. In fact, addiction is defined as a chronic brain disease by the American Society of Addiction Medicine. This means that the person who is knee deep in addiction doesn’t have some character flaw or lack of will power.
It means that their brain’s reward center has become addicted to the substance and because of this, that part of the brain desires more and more. And, when it doesn’t get more, it goes a bit haywire, throwing the body into a state of withdrawal, which can produce uncomfortable physical and emotional symptoms.
Why Do I Relapse?
Perhaps you’ve become addicted to alcohol or a drug like cocaine, heroin, pain pills, or some other drug. Chances are you’re aware of your addiction and you’ve likely tried to stop using that substance more than once.
You may have even stopped for weeks at a time, but eventually, you fell back into using. Perhaps you thought you could control your intake, but sooner or later, the addiction was in full blast once again.
You’re left wondering, “Why do I relapse?” Surely, you want to stop the addictive behavior, but you just keep falling back into it.
More often than you think, relapse is a part of recovery. Most people that desire to get free from addiction don’t just one day decide that they’ll get sober or clean and that’s that. If only it was that easy!
Rather, many people go through stages of addiction, as well as stages of recovery. And, the stages of recovery may be marked with a number of relapses.
The Stages of Addiction
Let’s briefly discuss the stages of addiction. Full-blown addiction to any drug doesn’t normally happen overnight. You don’t start drinking one day and become addicted right away. You don’t start taking pain pills and become addicted to them in a few days.
Granted, some drugs you can become addicted to quite easily, such as heroin or crack cocaine. But generally, addiction progresses in the following stages:
Stage 1: Initial Use – You start drinking or using a drug.
Stage 2: Substance Abuse – You start using or abusing the drug regularly.
Stage 3: Tolerance – Your body starts getting used to the amount of the drug you’re using, building a tolerance. This means you have to use more of the drug to get the euphoric or numbing effects you want to feel.
Stage 4: Dependence – Here in this stage, you’re becoming more and more dependent on the drug. You might try to quit, but it’s challenging because you enjoy the way the drug makes you feel, or you feel awful when you don’t continue to use it.
Stage 5: Addiction – When you’re addicted to the drug, you have to use the drug regularly. You may have to drink every day or pop a certain number of pills every so many hours. You don’t want to keep using, but you do. The withdrawal symptoms may be horrible as well, so you feel you have to keep using.
Stage 6: Relapse – Not everyone believes relapse is a stage of addiction, but due to the sheer volume of people in recovery that do relapse, it has merit.
The Cycle of Recovery and Relapse
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, it’s not uncommon for over half of men and women in addiction recovery to relapse at least once along their recovery journey. If you are struggling with an addiction and you’ve walked the recovery path before, you can probably relate to the recovery/relapse cycle. You want to stay sober and/or clean, but various factors have caused you to pick up that drink or drug again.
Understand that just as addiction is a process, so is recovery. Those in early recovery are most prone to relapse, as well as those that don’t have a solid support network.
If you have a loved one who has relapsed, you may or may not be so understanding. It’s challenging when a loved one promises to stay sober and then relapses. You may be tempted to think they’re not trying or it’s a willpower issue, but addiction experts say that that’s not necessarily the case.
Just as there are stages of addiction, there are stages of recovery. Relapse is part of those stages for some people, but the good news is that the relapses can stop at some point. When they can get the right addiction treatment for themselves and work hard at recovery, they’ll be able to break that cycle of recovery/relapse.
Interrupting The Recovery/Relapse Cycle
Professional addiction treatment, preferable at an inpatient or outpatient treatment center, is a great way to interrupt any recovery/relapse cycle that’s been going on. Reaching out for expert help can introduce you to addiction specialists who are trained to help people overcome or manage addiction problems – and reduce the chance of relapsing.
Just like you’d go see a physician for a chronic disease like diabetes, you can see an addiction expert for help to manage the chronic disease of addiction. They may treat you with a combination of treatment methods, such as medication, individual and/or group counseling, support groups, recovery classes, and more. They can certainly help you interrupt any recovery/relapse cycle that’s been going on.
You’ll also want to learn what your triggers are so you can combat them if and when they arise. If driving by the liquor store triggers you to want to stop in to get some alcohol, don’t drive by it anymore. If your drug dealer calls you on the phone checking in to see if you want anything, block their phone number. Triggers do just that – trigger your thoughts to start ruminating about using again, so do your best at finding out what they are and steering clear of them.
Help For Addiction Recovery Relapses
If you’re struggling with an addiction to alcohol or a drug, consider reaching out for help today. You don’t have to continue to struggle, as there are professional substance abuse experts who will come alongside you to help you manage or overcome addiction once and for all. No more having to hide the addiction or feel shame about it. No more having to isolate or hurt loved ones due to the addiction.
Reach Out For Help
There is a way out of addiction, and here at iRecover Treatment Centers in Alberta, British Columbia, and Newfoundland, we’re here 24/7 to assist you. Give us a call at 877-387-4155 and get started on your recovery journey now.
iRecover is extremely proud of Alumni Nancy still going strong and doing a great job 8 years after attending our program! This is what she had to say:
"I attended the Serenity Ranch in Tees Alberta in July-August, 2011 I very much gained the necessary tools to use when I finished there. I still use them today. I enjoyed the new circle of friends and staff. I loved to work out in the gym, food was amazing. I highly recommend this centre as it is out of nowhere and got you grounded. Wish I could visit there as a visitor or helper as I am a very much loving sobriety"
Well done Nancy, Keep up the good work!
We are extremely proud of Alumni Natasha for working hard at her sobriety and achieving this wonderful milestone. This is what she had to say:
"Celebrating one year sober today!! I was addicted to pain medication for over a decade and couldn’t
see any other way to live until I came to IRecover treatment centre I was taught a new way of life.
Thank you IRecover!"
We wish her the best for the next sober years to come!
“That’s it. I’ve had enough of the booze (or drug) and I’m quitting!”
If you’re like many who struggle with an addiction to alcohol or drugs, you’ve probably said that a time or two. However, it might not have been as easy as you imagined to give it up for good. After all, your brain has probably become quite used to the “hit” it has gotten from your drug of choice and doesn’t really care for the thought of not getting it anymore.
It is likely your decision to quit drinking or using drugs is one you’ve probably been weighing for a while now. Perhaps one of the following applies to you:
You’ve Put The Drink (Drugs) Down:
Now What?The thing about quitting drinking or drugging is that quitting is just the beginning of your recovery. Sure, getting through any detox symptoms counts for something, but recovery goes beyond that.
It is likely that you’ve got some other issues to work on in addition to addiction recovery. There have been many people who put the booze down or stopped relying on a drug to “chill out” that continued living a life marked with anxiety, depression, anger, unstable relationships, and more.
One of the reasons is that they didn’t really do much beyond quitting the addictive substance. In other words, they didn’t really “do the inner healing work” that had the potential to bring radical change into their lives for the better.
Ever hear the term “dry drunk”? Basically, it describes someone who has stopped drinking, but carries on with the same emotional or behavioral patterns as when they were drinking. Examples include erupting in rage when spouse doesn’t do what is expected, being incredibly mean to others, or engaging in reckless behavior. They’ve simply put the bottle down, but don’t do any “inner work” to address emotional or behavioral issues.
It is Time To Start Digging
Addiction specialist Gabor Mate says that in all his years of working with those struggling with addiction, most of them experienced some sort of past trauma or abuse as a child. No doubt the chronic stress associated with traumatic experiences impacted their emotions and mental health.
Therefore, just putting down the drink won’t magically heal those traumas. They’ll still be somewhere in your subconscious slyly infiltrating your life likely in a negative way. Some call this your shadow – or that part of you that’s lurking in the dark recesses of your psyche, sitting there hoping you’ll start digging to find it and set it free.
Quitting drinking or drugs might feel daunting. Even though you want freedom, there’s that part of you that’s freaking out at the thought of abstaining.
However, perhaps if you look at it as an opportunity to dive in to dig up things that you’ve been hiding from emotionally – to face and heal – you won’t feel so reluctant. Or afraid.
You might even get a little bit excited!
How Addiction Treatment Can Help
Quitting drinking or drugging will put you on a path toward truly facing reality. Maybe you’ve been numbing out or running from inner pain. It can feel scary to feel such strong emotions, for sure. However, when you stop the addictive behavior and use a supportive person or network to help you sort through that inner pain, you’re well on our way to experiencing healing and freedom.
This is why addiction treatment centers are so important, as they employ addiction specialists and therapists that can help you begin digging through layers you’ve piled up over the years. Layers like trauma, abuse, grief, anger, fear, and so on.
Committing to a time period in an inpatient or outpatient treatment center allows you to learn how to heal such emotions and begin coping with life and all its twists and turns – sober. You’re surrounded by caring and compassionate people who can help you:
Whether you’ve already decided to quit drinking or drugging, or if you’re contemplating it, know that you don’t have to go at it alone. You might feel alone, but there are many professionals in your corner rooting for you. They’re ready and willing to help you stop the addiction and begin healing what may need healed inside. They’re able to help you learn how to navigate life without running, numbing, or living sad, miserable, angry, or hopeless.
You simply have to take that first step and reach out for help. That first step might feel scary, but it is well worth it, as you’ll be met by loving and compassionate people who will help you get through to the other side of addiction – freedom!
Reach Out For Help
There is a way out of addiction, and here at iRecover Treatment Centers, we’re here 24/7 to assist you. Give us a call at 877-387-4155 and get started on your recovery journey now.
iRecover is delighted to welcome Dr. Aulakh to the iRecover Treatment Centers family. Dr. Aulakh will head up our dual diagnosis team and will be looking after the psychiatric needs of participants at iRecover. iRecover prides itself in taking a holistic approach to treatment and adding the psychiatric component to the existing medical and psychological care we provide, makes iRecover Alberta the ideal recovery center for all. iRecover Alberta was also recently licensed by Alberta Health in accordance with new legislation taking effect on Nov 1st, 2019. More about Dr. Aulakh below:
Dr. Avininder Aulakh, MD, FRCPC, DABAM is duly qualified psychiatrist and addiction specialist. Dr Aulakh is fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada as a Psychiatrist and Diplomate of the American Board of Addiction Medicine. Dr Aulakh has served as Section Chief of Addictions for Alberta Health Services North Zone till Sept 2019. Dr Aulakh is the Medical director of Savera Medical Centre clinic that has focus on addictions in South Asian community. In addition he has served as the Medical Lead for various addiction related programs in Edmonton. Dr Aulakh is also the President and Founder of non-profit organsation NASHAA raising awareness about addictions. Dr Aulakh is a Clinical Lecturer in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Alberta and teach residents and medical students in areas of addiction psychiatry.
iRecover is proud to announce that we are now licensed as a residential addictions treatment provider by Alberta Health Services and the Government of Alberta as per the new regulations taking effect Nov 1st 2019. We will continue to provide our world class private treatment program to our participants as we have continuously done for the last 13 years making us the longest operating private recovery center in Alberta. We will continue to proudly serve Alberta and we are in proximity of the following major airports. Edmonton, Calgary, Red Deer. For a complete list of licensed providers, please click the link below
We are very honored and proud that Alumni Mike W came all the way to the place of his original recovery to celebrate his 1 year clean and sober date with us. Mike has done an incredible job maintaining his sobriety and attributes his success to working on his recovery every day. We are sad to say that due to unforeseen technical difficulties the follow up video we filmed with Mike was lost, but his original message to those struggling is available below. Mike says that he enjoys a normal life now with his family and he can be part of his kids life in a meaningful way. He enjoys having normal job and feels great. Mike was accompanied by his beautiful wife, Jenna, on this special occasion where he expressed how she has stood by him and supported him on his road to recovery. Mike's message to those still struggling was: "There is help out there. Get involved in your community, see what treatment center you can get to. iRecover was great and without them I would not be here". We are incredibly proud of Mike and his achievements, keep up the good work Mike!
Participants at iRecover Alberta just got a brand new ride. iRecover has acquired a 2019 Dodge Grand Caravan for the recovery center located in Tees, Alberta. Particpant outtings and off-site meetings form a regular part of the program at iRecover Alberta. With this new vehicle participants will be able to travel in a bit more comfort and style when partaking in these trips. Participant comfort and safety is a high priority for the staff and management at iRecover Alberta and therefore this new vehicle is a welcome addition to the fleet
By utilizing current technology and providing respite in the rural farmland of central Alberta, Canada, iRecover Alberta brings traditional, proven drug addiction help into the 21st century. In a relaxing residential program that offers each individual a private single room, iRecover Alberta drug addiction treatment center and alcohol rehab program provides tablet computers to all its clients as a means of equipping them with educational materials, workbooks and videos needed in recovery. The tablet computer also serves as an aftercare tool after completing their treatment program.
iRecover Alberta offers medical detox, dual diagnosis treatment and 4 and 8 week recovery programs followed by the lifetime aftercare program that utilizes the tablet computer provided.
One of the most daunting aspects for many people when thinking about treatment is the detox. Detox can be the source of a lot of anxiety, especially is a person has attempted it on their own in the past. The experience may have been , painful, uncomfortable or even caused an unmanageable amount of anxiety for the person. There is a better option though. iRecover Alberta provides a detox service as part of both our 4 week and 8 week treatment programs that is medically assisted by our Nurses, Nurse Practitioner and Psychiatrist. Below is a short video on what to expect from detox at iRecover Alberta.
Well done to Alumni Caspra who came back to iRecover Okanagan to Celebrate her 2 YEARS of sobriety! We are extremely proud of you!
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