It’s an all too familiar tale of tragedy in drug treatment circles: a former addict walks out of rehab a seemingly new person, ready to confront the world without the shackles of addiction holding them back… only to relapse and fall back into the deadly habit of substance abuse. Rehab was supposed to help. Why didn’t it? Why, in the end, do some people not thrive after drug rehab?
There is no one answer to this question, of course. There are individual reasons for every single person who relapses after successfully completing a rehab visit, and each person’s story is unique.
Still, there are certain factors that often play into relapse more than others, and those can help explain why some addicts fall back into addiction rather than thrive.
One thing you’ll often hear in drug treatment circles is, even after drug rehab, an addict never stops being an addict. Even the healthiest of former substance abusers, decades after leaving their drug use behind, can often be one wrong move away from falling into drug abuse once more. This is the “one bad day” concept of addiction, that it continues to hold an influence over former users no matter what they do.
For many who come out of rehab, there is a grain of truth to this. Addiction is seen by non-addicts as primarily a chemical process — an addict takes a drug, gets used to the feeling it creates in them and soon craves more as their body demands that feeling again and again due to the direct effects of the drug itself on the body’s natural processes.
Under this understanding, once a user goes through detox and no longer has any of the drug in their system, they should no longer need the drug. The chemical dependence is broken.
But addiction is a far more complex process than that. Addiction is not just a chemical process, but an effect on the person that goes into social and psychological areas, as well. Addicts may associate their drug use with spending time with friends and struggle to go back to such circles where drug use may still happen and refrain. Or addicts may think of their drug use as a relief valve, a way to de-stress after a hard day at work and again struggle to find a different way to let off steam when returning to the rat race at the office.
With such hurdles facing the recovering addict, they can find the deck stacked against them. They don’t just have to stop taking drugs, but potentially rearrange their life to avoid the circumstances that contributed to drug use in the first place.
Furthermore, avoiding relapse is often seen as a matter of individual willpower. Even when the addict is involved in a group support system, with a buddy who checks in on them to try and help them resist relapse, it often falls down to the lone will to not fall back into old habits. And not everyone is able to resist the siren call of their old dependency.
There is hope, though. Good Landing Recovery approaches addiction from a Christian worldview, working to put God in the void in your life drugs once filled and believing that faith in Christ can help an addict reach true recovery and truly become a former addict, not just an addict who no longer partakes.
Give them a call and see if they can help you thrive after drug rehab.