Why Do Addicts Relapse When Things Are Good

Why Do Addicts Relapse When Things Are Good?

A Personal Relapse Autopsy Guide for Returning to Recovery

Why do addicts relapse when things are good? There is no single answer that can explain this. Addiction is such a complicated issue and usually involves many different factors. I’ve relapsed several times as a result of my drug abuse, and really did not ‘see’ any of those relapses coming.

I tried multiple rehabs, but it wasn’t until I went to Icarus Behavioral Health before I finally was able to sustain long-term recovery.

The recovery process is complex and looks different for everybody. People often think a relapse occurs when something bad in your personal life happens. It must take something going wrong for an addict to go back to their substance abuse. This is not always the case. Many addicts relapse when things are going good if not great. It is just the nature of this chronic disease.

Keep reading to learn more about my story, and learn about the path I took at Icarus to find long-term sobriety (at last!)

All Aboard the Recovery Rollercoaster

Struggles of Early Recovery

Recovering from active addiction is a rollercoaster. It takes a lot of work to live a healthy life when are trying to overcome substance abuse. Addiction relapse is very common in the recovery world. A lot of addicts relapse multiple times before they finally attain sobriety. A lot of addicts fall back to their old ways during the early stages of recovery.

Why does relapse often occur during early recovery? Why do addicts relapse when things are good? I will lay out my personal experience with relapse and try to paint an accurate picture of what you can expect. Because of my time at Icarus, I am alive to help walk you through how these events can occur.

The Struggles of Early Recovery: Why do Addicts Relapse When Things are Good?

I began abusing opiates following a car accident. The painkillers I was prescribed were a life-saver at first. Having suffered nerve damage, it’s hard to imagine getting through something like that without medication. Around this time, I was already dealing with a growing alcohol dependence. Using alcohol and opiates together is a dangerous game, and I was more than willing to play it.

The first time I tried to get clean off of opiates, the withdrawal symptoms made me go right back. I suffered from intense cravings, hot and cold sweats, and on overall sense of depression and anxiety. I didn’t have any other coping mechanisms beyond my drug abuse. The negative feelings associated with coming off of opiates are all-consuming. I couldn’t think of anything but getting high.

24 Hour Addiction Rehab Hotline – Call Now!

Addiction Treatment and the Pink Cloud Effect

When I tried rehab the first time I only lasted about two weeks before I went back to my old ways. Interestingly enough, I was supremely confident that I could kick my habit. When I got out of the rehab center, I thought I was cured. I didn’t think I had to do much more to sustain my recovery. I went a couple of weeks without the drugs and I had overcome the withdrawal. I thought I was all set. I really thought I’d never have another drink or pill.

This is what many addicts refer to as the pink cloud. The pink cloud refers to the initial recovery period. You may feel overly hopeful and confident. You believe you are cured. It’s extremely difficult to maintain these feelings. Life happens, and eventually, you will be challenged. Some addicts don’t see a relapse coming before they are right back to their substance abuse.

Riding The Wave of Addiction Recovery

Support Groups

Just like with the highs and lows of drug addiction, there are many highs and lows associated with sobriety. Just because you are sober doesn’t mean all of your issues go away. There are usually some external factors at play when it comes to substance abuse.

In my case, my mental health was never great. I’ve always suffered from depression in some form, and this has always made my addiction issues worse.

To achieve recovery takes a lot of work. Not many people maintain sobriety by not constantly working at it. This is why you will see people in support groups who have been sober for years. A routine is key, and holding yourself accountable makes a huge difference. Substance use disorders are right there under the surface, and the emotions associated with them never completely go away.

Resisting the Many Triggers in My Everyday Life

I often get asked what my triggers are. Anything can be a trigger for me, and I’ve heard this from many other addicts. Oftentimes, addicts don’t develop healthy coping strategies. Life is going to test us all no matter what. If we don’t have the tools to overcome these tests, we often fall into negative thought patterns and look for external sources to bury our issues.

As a person actively battling addiction, the triggers can pop up out of nowhere. When I go out and see people drinking, I often feel triggered. The addict’s brain is wired to negotiate. I could be out at a restaurant having a nice time, and seeing a person nearby drinking would make intrusive thoughts come into my head.

The Lies I Told Myself and A Way Out

I’d tell myself that I could have one drink and just chill out. If I had that one drink, it always became two. Eventually, it would be three or four, and then I was right back into my substance use disorder. My low self-esteem would often be another reason why I fell back into drug abuse. All it would take was one weak moment where I was down on myself.

This is where a solid relapse prevention plan finally put me ‘over the top,’ in terms of being able to see the ways I would set myself up, and gave me my deeply personal answers about ‘why do addicts relapse when things are good.’

Get Effective Detox and Rehab Options – Call Now!

Starting And Re-Starting the Recovery Process

I was constantly starting and then re-starting the recovery process, and it became exhausting. A drug or alcohol addiction feels like it is a part of you. This is often something that addicts struggle with. You feel like you are losing a part of yourself by giving up drugs or alcohol.

You convince yourself that this is the way you are and that’s that. Almost everyone I’ve spoken to in recovery has felt that.

A lot of addicts relapse if they don’t have a strong support system. This is why sponsors are so important in recovery. Going to meetings and talking to a mental health professional goes a long way, but it’s in those solitary moments when the urges can make you slip up.

Having someone just a phone call away can make all the difference.

Healthy Boundaries are Crucial to Thrive in Sobriety

Healthy Boundaries are Crucial to Thrive in Sobriety

Establishing boundaries and keeping a distance from triggering events is very beneficial. One of the hardest things for an addict to do is walk away from people who may be bad influences. It still hurts me that I had to cut certain people off, but I knew I had to do it to survive and thrive. Associating with the wrong people makes your recovery journey much more difficult.

A few of my relapses were because of being around people who were unhealthy influences. Peer pressure is a real thing and it doesn’t just occur when you are growing up and getting into the wrong crowd.

This is another reason a relapse can occur when things are going well. You feel like you can handle things that you cannot. I felt like I could maintain certain relationships and not be influenced negatively. It never worked.

How To Avoid Relapse and Sustain Recovery

Battling alcohol abuse and addiction is a personal process, but definitely requires outside help at an effective rehab facility. When I got to Icarus, my mental health was not good. I had tried and failed at recovery multiple times. The more this happens, the harder it is to convince yourself that you can do it.

The staff at Icarus was upfront and honest with me through the whole process. They made it clear that I needed to fight harder and develop better coping and life skills if I was going to achieve lasting recovery.

I gave it everything I had. I hung onto positive emotions while trying not to cling to the negative ones. Through therapy, I was able to change my attitude. I was able to recognize the self-sabotage that existed in me and developed ways not to feed into it. The treatment plan they came up with for me played a huge role in my initial recovery.

Understanding Addiction Is a Lifelong Process

I had to learn quickly that I would probably be battling addiction my whole life. I had been avoiding this realization for many years. I wanted to believe that I wasn’t a classic addict. I wanted to believe that I could move on from this and not have to think of recovery every day.

It finally sunk in that this wasn’t going to help me. I have much more self-awareness these days, and ultimately I know that I am always at risk of relapse, even when things are going well.

Avoiding relapse is a big deal for me, but I also understand that if I do relapse it isn’t the end of the world. I don’t have to go so far back into drug abuse if I slip up. I have a great support network, and that is what I fall back on.

I also know that the people who love me aren’t going to make me feel bad if a relapse occurs. People in recovery are some of the most understanding, thoughtful individuals you will ever meet.

Fighting Negative Emotions is a Constant Battle for Me

Fighting Negative Emotions is a Constant Battle

As anyone who’s gone through a relapse knows, it’s easy to be hard on yourself. This is especially true if you relapse when things are going good. When I’ve relapsed before, I’ve been my own worst critic. I’ve become frustrated with myself in many ways. Frustrated over my emotional vulnerabilities, frustrated at the timing of it, and just overall frustrated with the way my brain works.

This is very normal. The trick is not to let it get you down too much. Of course, a relapse is tough to deal with. There’s no sense in making it tougher. One of the great things I’ve learned through Narcotics Anonymous is not to talk down on yourself. Even being a little bit self deprecating can create issues and plant seeds of doubt. You need to be your own cheerleader sometimes.

Have a plan in place always. I assume that a relapse is right around the corner, and I have a good idea of what to do in order to get back on the right track. Don’t panic. Even though it feels like you may be throwing away all the progress you’ve made, it’s not always the case. If you’ve had any period of sobriety, you did it because of what you’ve learned and practiced.

Up To 100% of Rehab Costs Covered By Insurance – Call Now!

Get Prepared to Overcome Relapse Before It Happens at Icarus

I learned many great skills because of my stay at Icarus Behavioral Health. I recognize the signs of a relapse much more than I used to. I know what triggers me, and I know when I am falling into negative thinking. I talk it out when I am feeling weak. I don’t act impulsively.

When negative emotions occur it doesn’t mean you have to act on them right away. Think it through and take it easy.

I wouldn’t have as much recovery time as I have if it weren’t for the things I learned at Icarus. They helped give me my life back, and I intend to live every day to the fullest. I owe it not only to myself but all the great people who have helped me along the way.

If you are in a similar situation or know someone who is, reach out to Icarus now and learn about all the ways they can help you get your life back!

Share this post

Call Now (505) 305-0902