Relapsing is one of the greatest fears of those who are recovering from substance abuse, though it’s actually a very common occurrence in recovery. In fact, many would argue that it’s an important step in establishing your commitment to sobriety.

Whether you or someone you know has recently relapsed and are worried about what this is going to mean for their (or your) recovery journey — or maybe you’re just informing yourself about what happens post-relapse — you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, we’re going to break down if relapsing means that the person needs to go back to a sober living home, as well as what the options are if they don’t have to.

Relapse meaning

Simply put, a relapse is when someone who previously had a substance use disorder returns to their substance-using ways. 

Some would argue that something as “minor” as a one-time use of the substance would constitute being a relapse, but most would agree a relapse is when someone consistently begins using again, and typically in a lack-of-control way.

There are different causes of relapse, and for many people, a variety of factors play a role in their re-development of a substance use disorder. We’re going to share with you the most common causes of relapse.

Causes of relapse

While there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to the root causes of relapse (because every individual is different, as is their circumstances), there are five primary triggers that have been recognized to cause people to relapse. 

Boredom, which typically stems from isolation, is frequently listed as the number one cause of relapse. In addition to a substance use disorder bringing a consistent high into someone’s life, it often spurs an individual to engage in risky behavior. Taking risks, while dangerous, typically bring a rush of adrenaline, which can also be a form of addiction. Once your body is removed from this state of fight or flight, sober living can feel boring, so substances are reintroduced.

Environment plays a very large role in someone’s ability to choose sobriety day after day; the people you surround yourself with, the locations where you spend most of your time, these are all factors that can play a role in relapse. 

When someone embarks on their journey to sobriety, it often requires them to let go of previous people, places and things that fueled their addiction — but not everyone does this, and fewer people do it as soon as they should. Continuing to surround yourself with these temptations not only puts the individual at a disadvantage, but it heightens their chances of relapsing.

Mental health is regularly a major underlying cause that led someone to develop a substance use disorder in the first place, and habitually plays a role in relapsing as well. Mental health, whether there is an official condition or not, is a long-term form of care we all need to practice; it affects every area of our lives. This applies (even more so) to those recovering from addiction.

Discomfort can also be a leading factor in relapse. Addictions often develop as a coping mechanism, a way for an individual to avoid some sort of pain, grief or trauma in their lives. In sobriety, you no longer have access to substances that can distract or numb you; you have to face them head on. 

While some people use their sobriety as an opportunity to finally acknowledge and heal from their wounds, others find the process too overwhelming, and so they return to substances as a way to avoid their pain.

Relapse treatment

The most important thing for you to realize in this moment is that you’ve gone through recovery once, and you can do it again. You achieved sobriety before — and you will do it again.

Many think that if they relapse, they will be automatically “sent” to another sober living home; while this is an option, it isn’t the only one available. 

Treatment for a relapse can vary based on the severity of the relapse as well as other personal factors, so the first step you’ll need to take is determining whether or not you need to go back to a rehabilitation center. You can ask a trusted family member or friend to help you discern this.

Depending on the nature of your relapse, you might need to be formally enrolled in another addiction recovery treatment plan, sober living home or inpatient facility — or you may be able to get on track by getting a therapist, or enrolling in an outpatient program.

If you don’t know which is right for you, we’re here to help you figure that out.

Seek professional support

We know it can be scary if you or someone you know has recently relapsed, but rather than see relapsing as a failure and give into despair, reach out to us.

Our team here at Silver Ridge are just as passionate about helping you achieve and maintain sobriety as you are; our mission is to help you be the happiest, healthiest version of yourself.

We offer a variety of proven-to-be-effective treatment programs and clinical services, each of which is thorough, educational and thoughtfully designed for your unique recovery journey.

To speak with one of our admissions navigators, submit a form or call us today at 855-945-7788.