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Can Relapse Be Temporary?

Posted on April 8, 2019


Mistakenly, many people are taught that relapse is a part of the recovery process.

In order to evolve from recovering to recovered, a relapse has to be included, for one of the varying illogical reasons- to want recovery more, to become more willing, more desperate, to realize how important sobriety really is. After doing some “more experimenting” and “more research” an individual is finally ready to fully commit to being sober and giving their recovery their full attention. Having made the realization that they want to be sober, they head back to treatment or to a 12-Step fellowship like where they dedicate themselves fully, once more, to becoming a recovered individual.

Unfortunately, that isn’t exactly the way relapse works.

What needs to be understood above all regarding relapse, is that relapse is not a round-trip ticket. Even with the greatest intentions of coming back to sobriety in hand, a relapse could last for weeks, months, or even years. The disease of alcoholism and the disease of addiction are one and the same. From one period of using to the next, the ability to control or manage one’s drinking or using, and the ability to stop with one’s own volition, do not change. As The Big Book so eloquently expresses, we only get worse in our illness, never better. Relapse quickly teaches us that we are equally as much, if not progressively more, addicted than we were before getting sober. Once mind-altering chemicals enter our bloodstream once more, there is little we can do to stop the obsession of the mind, the sensation of physical craving, and the allergy to having “just one” from taking place. If we are lucky, we are brought back to humility swiftly and don’t disappear from our program for more than a few hours, a few days, or a week, at most. However, that case is rare and hopeful at best. Relapse can last for years, dragging us to the pits of hell and back until we once again reach that state of “pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization.” Like it is said in the rooms of recovery, hitting rock bottom always comes with a shovel. The end of our relapse and the beginning of our new recovery is never guaranteed. We can carry on our misery for years. Tragically, our years may be ended quickly. Alcohol and drugs are life-threatening substances – what we presume to be a round trip ticket could be a one-way ticket to the end of our life.

Relapse can be temporary, sometimes last for years, or be final. Our primary goal in staying sober is to learn how to engage our defenses against taking the first drink or drug. If we never take one again, we never have to take the one after that.


Origins Behavioral Healthcare is a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance abuse, mental health issues, and beyond. Our primary mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration. We offer renowned clinical care for addiction and have the compassion and professional expertise to guide you toward lasting sobriety.

For information on our programs,

call us today:  561-841-1296.