Why Considering Relapse as a Failure is more Dangerous than the Relapse Itself

Relapse isn’t a step backwards but a phase of recovery. A slip-up can be a moment to grow rather than a complete breakdown. Relapse is sometimes a necessary stepping-stone, which can make someone even more determined to fight for sobriety.

Why Relapse Is Not a Sign of Failure

It’s easy to see relapse as a sign of failure. After completing treatment programs and the hours of therapy, it’ll feel like it was all for nothing.

Take a step back; look where you started and where you’re now.

Relapse is a learning experience to give that extra push to fight for sobriety. A bump in the road can sometimes make all the difference in how hard someone wants to fight for their recovery.

A Failure Mindset

Whatever you believe about yourself, whether true or not, can be the deciding factor. Recovery is no different. If you’re overly critical of yourself and your failures, you’ll have a hard time getting back on track.

Here are are some typical reasons for a relapse:

  • being overconfident about the recovery process
  • not going to support groups or therapy
  • being negative about the recovery process – thinking it doesn’t work

So, believe in yourself and that you’ll be successful. A growth mindset looks at relapse as a teachable moment rather than a complete loss. By treating failure with compassion, a growth mindset can help patients better handle setbacks.

New Beginnings

If you’ve experienced a relapse, know that you’re not alone. A relapse can cause feelings of guilt and shame, leading you to consider throwing in the towel altogether.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse has found that between forty to sixty percent who are in recovery can find themselves having at least one Relapse. It isn’t uncommon for someone to have not one but several relapses before a successful recovery.

Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind about relapses:

Setbacks do Happen

When a setback does happen, it can be easy just to quit and give up. When these feelings creep in, the best thing is to deal with them.

So, go to a support group, sign up for therapy, or talk to your sponsor when life throws you a curveball. Dealing with these negative feelings head-on gives you a fighting chance as you recover.

Find Support

Surround yourself with your support group and you’ll find that more than one of them has faced the exact same situation that you have.

Relapses do happen. Knowing you have a strong support network can make the hard times more manageable. If a relapse occurs, contact an addiction counsellor or recovery coach to schedule a face-to-face meeting right away. Admitting to yourself that relapse is just a slip-up can be the best thing for your recovery.

See Your Loved Ones

This tip may be the hardest but the most helpful. Confronting your family and friends who were hurt can be painful, but their support is crucial. Discussing your relapse can show your loved ones that you’re honestly trying to recover.

Open and honest communication can reignite your resolve to stay sober. Relapses, like addiction, can make people feel isolated and ashamed, so racing out to friends and family is vital.

Think About Entering Treatment

Depending on how severe the relapse was, entering a treatment program might be a good idea. Remember that every addiction is different, just like the path to recovery. If your setback leaves you feeling like your resolve has weakened, seeking out the support for a treatment center just might be the right step to take.

Aspen can Help

Taking the first step into treatment for drugs or alcohol dependence can be scary if done alone. Let our team of medical professionals and recovery experts guide you as you begin to learn how to handle the stressors of a sober life. Our team is ready to help you every step of your road to recovery and to help change your life for the better. Contact the Aspen Behavioral Group to learn how we can help.


My Loved One Is


How Do I Get Them


24/7 Confidential Helpline

Have Any Questions?


Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on email