Contributor: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC, Special Projects Coordinator at Eating Disorder Hope
For many individuals in recovery from substance abuse, the journey involves several ups and downs, challenges and obstacles, hopes and joys. While there may be expectations for a recovery journey that is free from difficulty, the reality is that the process of breaking free from addiction is defined by struggles and breakthroughs alike.
It is not uncommon to suffer a relapse episode or fall back into the patterns of an addictive lifestyle. Relapses do not indicate that one has failed in their attempt to recover or that they will no longer be able to find healing. Like other diseases that are chronic by nature, substance abuse is complex in that both physiological and behavioral components are constantly being addressed and modified.
Relapse Is Common
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the rates of relapse among patients who are recovering from drug addiction is common and similar to other illnesses, such as diabetes, hypertension, and asthma1. Approximately 40 to 60 percent of patients may experience a relapse episode in their recovery and treatment for drug addiction1.
If a person has experienced a relapse into their addictive patterns and behaviors, this is typically a good indicator that adjustments are needed in the treatment approach or perhaps, that other treatment methods should be attempted.
Addictions are powerful diseases by nature that involve an individual’s biology, genetics, as well as other behavioral/environmental components. With the complex nature of addiction, treatment approaches may also be varied and multifactorial.
Dealing with Frustration and Setbacks
If you or a loved one has been recovering from an addiction or substance abuse, you may find the journey wearisome at times. You have likely experienced frustration from setbacks you have possibly encountered or uncertainty that you will ever find the freedom from addiction that you have been fighting for.
How can you continue on in the journey set before you when you feel as though you have lost faith in your ability to recover?
Finding Support: It Exists Out There
There is power in community and within support systems. If you find yourself slipping and unable to continue forward, do not allow yourself to isolate or stray away from the people who are supporting you in your life and in your recovery.
Even if you feel that you that you do not have anyone in your life that you can turn to and share your struggles, there is amazing support to be found within the addiction community itself. Find a free support group within your area that you can become involved with. Having other people to relate to about your journey can be the encouragement you need to keep going. By connecting to other individuals in the addiction community, you can find support through your journey, especially when you feel like giving up.
Other sources of encouragement to help keep you motivated during a difficult time of your recovery include a church support group or a mentor/pastor/counselor.
Perfection Is Not Required: Hope Is
Wherever you may find yourself in your recovery journey, it is important to believe that there is always hope. Do not expect perfection in your recovery and realize that every effort is progression towards healing. Even relapse episodes and setbacks, as difficult as it can be, are all part of the journey to freedom and recovery from addiction.
Staying connected to the people who love and care about you can give you the motivation you need to keep going, even when you have lost faith in our ability to recover. There are people as well as a community who will stand behind you and help carry you, especially when you feel you are unable to continue on.
You do not need to travel this journey alone, and hope can sustain you to carry on. If you are in need of addiction resources or would like to connect to a support group, check out the directories available on the Addiction Hope website!
Community Discussion – Share your Thoughts here!
Have you been through the recovery journey from substance abuse? What has encouraged you to maintain your sobriety and fight for recovery during periods of times that were difficult?
- “Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction”, National Institute on Drug Abuse. http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/treatment-recovery Accessed 09 April 2015.
Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on May 1st, 2015
Published on AddictionHope.com