Am I a Failure if I Have to Return to Treatment?

Oct 14, 2023

Many alumni are inspired to live happily and healthily in sobriety, hoping they will never have to attend treatment again. However, as the National Insitute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) explains, “The chronic nature of addiction means that for some people relapse, or a return to drug use after an attempt to stop, can be part of the process.” Likewise, it is crucial to understand that relapse does not indicate that you have failed in recovery, nor does it indicate that treatment has failed. However, relapse does indicate a need for you to return to treatment.

No matter where you stand on your journey to recovery, social support will play a key role in your ability to establish and maintain lasting sobriety. Fortunately, we at Renaissance Ranch provide a lifetime guarantee of recovery, meaning that we will always be there for our clients, fostering compassionate care and continued treatment, especially after episodes of relapse. One of the many ways we help our clients mitigate chances of relapse throughout long-term recovery is through our Band of Brothers. Moreover, this group helps one another understand that no one is a failure for having to return to treatment.

You Are Not a Failure: Understanding the Potential for Relapse in Recovery

If you have recently relapsed following initial alcohol or drug treatment, you may feel shameful or guilty for your actions. Perhaps you even feel like you need to start your recovery journey over completely. In times of crisis like this, it is necessary to remember that addiction recovery is rarely ever a linear process. Rather, recovery is a journey that certainly has its ups and downs. With that, you are not a failure. To get back on track, however, you must find the power within you to fully commit to sobriety moving forward.

Current Relapse Rates for SUD

As highlighted earlier, relapse can be a part of the recovery journey for some. To better understand this, NIDA compares relapse rates for drug use to relapse rates for other chronic medical illnesses, such as hypertension and asthma. More specifically, relapse rates for substance use disorder (SUD) are anywhere from 40-60%, whereas relapse rates for both hypertension and asthma fall between 50-70%. The main reason why some relapse in either case is that they stop following their treatment plan.

With that said, relapse is never something to take lightly in addiction recovery. Despite relapse being a part of the recovery process for many, relapse can pose immense – and even life-threatening – harm. For instance, if you relapse by returning to the same dose you used before you ceased your substance use, you are at risk of drug overdose as your body is no longer adapted to your previous level of drug exposure. In the same way, oftentimes relapse, and associated drug overdose, calls for emergency medical intervention.

Responding to Relapse: Do I Need to Return to Treatment?

Simply put, relapse indicates a dire need for you to return to addiction treatment. As NIDA explains:

Treatment of chronic diseases involves changing deeply rooted behaviors, and relapse doesn’t mean treatment has failed. When a person recovering from an addiction relapses, it indicates that the person needs to speak with their doctor to resume treatment, modify it, or try another treatment.

Another publication titled Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide by NIDA highlights some of the unique principles of effective drug treatment to keep in mind when considering a return to treatment. Some of these include:

  • “No single treatment is appropriate for everyone.”
  • “Effective treatment attends to multiple needs of the individual, not just his or her drug abuse.”
  • “An individual’s treatment and services plan must be assessed continually and modified as necessary to ensure that it meets his or her changing needs.”

What It’s Like to Return to Treatment at Renaissance Ranch

At Renaissance Ranch, we strive to meet our clients where they are at in their recovery journey. As you prepare to return to treatment at one of our facilities, we can assure you that we will curate a treatment plan that addresses your unique needs and goals for recovery, and it will be even more individualized than your previous treatment plan. Moreover, as you participate in our treatment program, we will guide you as you re-navigate each of the Twelve Steps and the Therapeutic Community Model as a whole.

Following your return to treatment, we will make sure you have a reliable relapse prevention plan. This plan will target not only what your internal and external relapse triggers are, but also effective coping techniques that will help you navigate your triggers and best prevent relapse throughout long-term recovery. In addition, our continuing care program will encourage your attendance in advanced group therapy sessions as well as alumni meetings through our Band of Brothers program.

Remember, relapse does not equate to failure. Use your relapse as an opportunity to bring you closer to your goal of lifelong sobriety.

Experiencing a relapse is inevitably distressing. Yet, it is important not to view relapse as a failure, but rather as an opportunity to further your efforts in sustaining sobriety by returning to drug treatment. Transform any feelings of guilt and shame that you may be experiencing as a result of a relapse into motivation for securing lasting recovery. At Renaissance Ranch, we understand that relapse can be a part of the process for some, which is why we do not judge or look down on those who experience it. Instead, we use the opportunity to curate or modify treatment plans that will bring our clients closer to lifelong abstinence. Learn more by calling (801) 308-8898 today.