Quick Question...Is It Okay If I Relapse?

relapse Feb 16, 2023

It is not unusual for people to experience a relapse or a lapse, especially during the early stages of recovery. Research shows that between 40-60% of those in recovery will experience a relapse or lapse at some point.


While this statistic may appear jarring, it signifies that the process of recovery is not linear and by no means simple. If someone has experienced a lapse or relapse within their recovery process, it does not suggest that they have failed in their recovery efforts. Instead, it implies that each lapse or relapse serves as a moment of learning and development. Lapses and relapses can be perceived as valuable opportunities, providing useful insight into deeper issues and challenges that need to be addressed, reviewed, and amended to enrich the maintenance of long-term recovery.


While there are a number of factors that can contribute a relapse, developing a strong support team, devising effective management tools, and enhancing one’s coping skills to overcome these factors, can assist in the reduction or even prevention of a relapse.


Recovery requires continual effort and dedication. This means that consistent considered proactive steps to avoid complacency and the potential for a relapse is needed to overcome addiction and maintain the goals that you have set. A relapse does not mean that someone in recovery has to start from ground zero again and that their efforts in the meantime were wasted. It simply means that further introspection is required to uncover what factors led to the lapse or relapse. It is important that through this process, those in recovery who have experienced relapse or a lapse, continue working towards maintaining recovery and stay connected to those within their team and have the right guidance to support them through this quite often trying process.


It is common for people who have been in recovery for years to experience a lapse or relapse when they are not mindful of their words, thoughts, actions, sensations, or early warning signs. This again does not mean that they have failed, it simply means that complacency has slipped in at some point and active work in recovery has dropped off. Recovery involves a shift in the style of living. Shifts in thinking, behaviours and lifestyle choices result in improvements in health, relationships, well-being, and productivity as well as engaging in healthy behaviours that are acted through choice rather than mindless or habitual engagements.


Relapses can happen at any point within the recovery process and is not deemed as a flaw in one’s character. By perceiving relapse and lapses as a learning opportunity and a moment of reflection to develop in one’s recovery means that you can do things differently moving forward. It is okay to experience a lapse or relapse, what you do with that after determines the trajectory of your recovery and your life overall.