Many people think that if someone returns to rehab, it’s a sign of failure. Instead, it might be more beneficial to consider it an opportunity to learn more methods for healing. When properly treated, substance use disorder (SUD) and alcohol use disorder (AUD) can be managed effectively for life. But there needs to be a significant mindset shift to move forward after relapse.
How to Manage a Chronic Illness
This is a challenging riddle to solve, as each case of SUD or AUD is different. But let’s allow for a simple comparison.
The medical community agrees that, as brain diseases, SUD or AUD are chronic illnesses, similar to asthma, diabetes, and hypertension. During inpatient residential treatment, an individual learns how to manage sobriety with methods designed to address their specific needs. These tools allow them to recognize the severity of their condition and do what they can in recovery to understand and avoid certain triggers and live healthfully. This awareness is similar to someone with diabetes who may have to monitor their blood glucose, take medication daily, eat healthfully, and exercise.
Conversely, diabetes isn’t a brain disease, and isn’t known to contribute to or result in maladaptive behaviors like SUD or AUD usually does. Certainly someone who doesn’t manage their diabetes well could develop additional severe health complications, but it’s unlikely they’ll suffer consequences such as relationship and employment difficulties, financial or legal challenges, or more compounded emotional, mental, and physical health issues that often present with addiction.
The common element in successful chronic illness management is learning all you can about your condition, accepting contributing factors, and developing a wellness plan with professionals. This is especially true when building a stronger SUD or AUD recovery. And if you’ll have a better chance by returning to rehab, so be it. An individual managing diabetes has regular checkups and routine tweaks to their care program. As someone striving for better sobriety for life, you might benefit from a few adjustments as well.
Why Didn’t Rehab “Work” Before?
A relapse doesn’t mean you’ve failed, or that rehab is futile. However, it’s often an indicator that a different or more thorough treatment approach is necessary. In fact, the National Institute on Drug Abuse stresses that “relapse serves as a sign for resumed, modified, or new treatment.” Further, it identifies relapse rates: SUD and AUD (40–60 percent); asthma (50–70 percent); and hypertension (50–70 percent).
Substance detoxification, understanding risk factors for addiction, and recognizing and adapting deep-rooted behaviors are only the beginning of a recovery journey. Then, there are layers of understanding your individual reasons for substance abuse and learning how to prevent relapse in the future. Depending on the severity of your condition, your first—or even second—rehabilitation treatment might not be enough. It takes time and perseverance to become a more authentic, healthier version of yourself.
It’s also possible that you were resistant to treatment before, especially if you entered rehab after an intervention. It’s only natural to feel a bit resentful at first over the whole process. But now, with some clarity, you’re ready for sobriety on your terms.
Maybe you even tried moderation in recovery, believing for a while that an occasional drink or edible wouldn’t be a big deal. Unfortunately, it was.
Committing to Another Form of Rehab
Fortunately, there are any number of ways to revisit more comprehensive treatment. Many addiction rehabilitation centers, such as Willingway, are often quite accommodating in their programming. So, let’s say you initially tried a 2-week detoxification program at a local hospital, but now realize you need more substantial care to move forward with your sobriety goals. You could:
- Enroll in an intensive outpatient services program.
- Enter a residential treatment center away from home.
- Try a longer residential stay, such as 30, 60, or 90 days.
- Stay in gender-specific sober living accommodations for 6 months to 1 year.
- Look for a more focused treatment program, such as one specifically for veterans.
Ultimately, the sooner you reinvest in your health, the better you’ll feel. And remember: there are numerous recovery tips, and maybe it’s time to learn about others that could prove to be advantageous when you return to rehab. We have a few additional articles you may find useful:
- Preventing Relapse During the Holidays
- How to Cope With Cravings
- Overcoming Loneliness in Sobriety
- The Power of Routines and Rituals for Recovery
- Staying Busy During Recovery
Benefit From Willingway’s Continual Recovery Support
There should never be any judgment about returning to rehab. Period. As long as you’re dedicated to sobriety, one of our comprehensive treatment programs in Statesboro, Georgia, is bound to advance your efforts. Each one provides extensive recovery and relapse prevention resources, and our continuing care community groups give you reinforcing support. One of our admissions team members will be happy to explain how it could all work for you.