For people who don’t suffer from addiction the treatment for it seems easy enough. You go and get help. You stop abusing the substance you’re addicted to. You go home and stay sober. It seems straightforward enough.

That isn’t the case though, not for many people. Sure, there will always be those magical few who can manage it in these easy steps. But for the majority, there’s a lot more to it.

It is not unexpected for people to relapse after recovery. It shouldn’t be seen as a weakness of character or a flaw. People relapsing once they’ve been in recovery for the first time is more common than not.

Between 70 to 90 percent of people who complete addiction treatment will have at least one relapse before maintaining sobriety.

It Can Be Normal, But

Relapse is indeed a regular part of the recovery process. This is often said within treatment itself. The whole point is to make sure that people don’t give up entirely if they’ve relapsed. There needs to remain a hope that they will succeed.

Some people seem to think that claiming relapse is normal can just encourage that cycle. So which part is true?

When talking about addiction and recovery, relapse refers to returning to the use of drugs or alcohol.

Sobriety is the state of not being intoxicated or under the influence. The absence of drug or alcohol use.

Saying that relapse is ordinary, okay, and expected can have unintended consequences. Does it do more harm than good to reassure people?

It might make more sense to describe relapse as an unfortunate section of recovery. That way it doesn’t seem like there is approval or expectation for relapse.

Saying relapse is normal can make addicts use it as an excuse to do so. Here are signs that may predict an oncoming relapse:

–    Not making sobriety the most important part of their day. This means that they need to rearrange their lives and focus on sobriety. Without full commitment, a relapse could easily happen.

–    No support system means that outside of what they want for themselves and addict might not have a reason to stay sober. They need a support group to help hold themselves accountable.

–    Not wanting to quit for yourself. If they don’t think they have a problem and just stopped for.