The term “addiction relapse” is both widely used in the field of addiction treatment and embedded into the minds of most drug addicts or alcoholics fortunate enough to enter some form of addiction treatment in the US for chemical dependency. The “treated” person or drug addict is informed that with chemical dependency, addiction relapse can occur at any time and that from moment to moment one must be alerted to the “triggers” that may cause this trip back to the hell of addiction relapse and addiction. “One day at a time” and, “you are only an arms length away from your next drink” become the motto and reverberate through twelve step addiction treatment programs and AA meetings across the country. As and attempt to help the concept of addiction relapse is associated with the idea that chemical dependency or addiction is a disease leaving many to “white knuckle it” through each day.
Addiction Relapse & Success Rates…
While this approach has helped some achieve sobriety and probably saved an untold number of lives, unfortunately it will only achieve, at best, a 20% success rate for alcohol addiction. With street drugs the success rate appears to be much lower and ranges between 2-8%, with the remaining 92 -98 percent of the folks suffering addiction relapse and never achieving complete addiction recovery. Thousands more lives could have been saved had they had a better understanding of addiction and all the components that cause addiction relapse.
In the effort to explain or justify the inability of the drug or alcohol addict to resist the temptation, addiction relapse is blamed on the disease concept. Sure no one person caused the drug or alcohol addict to use again but as the addict continues to experience addiction relapse, suffering loss after loss, he falls farther and farther away from ever achieving complete recovery.
Understanding all the components that cause addiction relapse will reveal the need for a more comprehensive addiction treatment. Use this analogy; try attempting the climb up Mount Everest with no real knowledge of the terrain, any training, or even owning a pair of snow shoes.
Most often those suffering drug and alcohol addiction made an uninformed decision to use drugs or alcohol at a young age with their buddies. This turned into drug or alcohol abuse and the layers of addiction began being applied. As a drug or alcohol addict travels the path of addiction and the subsequent addiction relapse, more layers are added causing the need for more barriers to be uncovered.
The biggest layer and cause of addiction relapse is the physical component associated with drug or alcohol addiction. If one were able to observe someone suffering alcohol, opiate or benzodiazepines addiction withdrawal it would be easy to determine the short term physical effect the drugs or alcohol has on the drug or alcohol addict. Most addiction treatment programs do not consider the long term physical effects that greatly contribute to addiction relapse.
Addiction Relapse – Understand the Effects
An understanding of how drugs and alcohol effect the body long term and can contribute to addiction relapse years after a person has attained sobriety. Unfortunately traditional twelve step programs do not approach this aspect of addiction while the medical model addiction treatment program actually promulgates drug use in the means of more prescriptions, therefore burying the underlying mental emotional component that causes addiction relapse under “medications’ or other drugs.
There are several layers a drug or alcohol addict will need to peel back to find the underlying cause of addiction relapse. Programs that focus on healing the body first have the highest chance of reaching the top of the mountain, giving the person the best chance of avoiding addiction relapse. Addiction recovery is possible; thousands have achieved it and do so the first time around. Achieving happiness is possible and the sense of accomplishment achieved is enormous. It takes an understanding of the mountain you have to climb, by achieving an understanding of addiction you CAN avoid addiction relapse forever!