If I Have Been Sober For Over A Year And Relapse, Do I Really Need To Go Back To Detox or Rehab?

When you’re addicted to drugs or alcohol, getting sober isn’t always easy. Just getting through detox alone is often a challenge. And then you have to master the skills necessary to stay sober. But the truth is, the chance of relapse after drug or alcohol treatment is not insignificant. According to some estimates, your chance of suffering a relapse could be as high as 60%. And when it happens, you’ll face the difficult decision of whether or not to return to rehab for additional treatment.

It’s not an easy decision. In the midst of a relapse, you may believe yourself capable of getting sober on your own. And the longer you stay sober after treatment, the easier it is to convince yourself that you don’t need more help. But that’s a dangerous assumption to make. So, if you’ve been sober for over a year and suffered a relapse, you should know how to tell if you need to return to detox or rehab. Here’s how.

Understanding What a Relapse Is

The first thing you’ll need to know to make the critical decision of whether or not to return to detox or rehab is what a relapse really is. There are quite a few misconceptions about them. First, it’s important to know that the definition of relapse is different from person to person. It depends on the specific circumstance of your addiction and the reasons for which you initially sought treatment. So, the first and more important question you should ask yourself is: what were the conditions that determined my original treatment was successful? And most of the time, those conditions will include some or all of the following:

  • Reducing or eliminating the use of the problem drug or substance
  • Repairing your relationships with family members, business associates, and other acquaintances
  • Improving your health and eliminating the debilitating effects of your drug or alcohol abuse
  • Improvement of your mental health and wellbeing
  • Reducing your legal difficulties (pending charges, satisfying probation conditions, driver’s license suspensions)
  • Reducing the potential for injury, accidents, and the need for emergency medical intervention.

So, to figure out if you’ve suffered a relapse, what you need to do is decide if your drug or alcohol use has undone any of the progress you previously made toward the above goals. In general, if you’ve returned to regular and habitual substance abuse, it’s safe to say you’ve relapsed. But if your behavior was a momentary lapse in judgment, you may not need to return to detox or rehab. The most important thing you can do in that situation is to be honest with yourself – you’re the only one that can determine your path to long-term sobriety.

The bottom line is simple. It’s that the length of time you’ve been sober has nothing to do with whether you need additional treatment after a relapse. Your needs would be the same if you relapsed after three days sober or 300. And there’s nothing wrong with recognizing that you need more help and taking steps to get it. On the contrary, doing so is a display of maturity and personal growth that further proves your commitment to staying sober.

And it’s also important to recognize that there’s plenty you can learn from an unsuccessful attempt to stay sober. You may begin to recognize additional triggers or problematic situations that made your first attempt at sobriety harder. And you and the treatment center supporting you can use that information to fine-tune your treatment before you begin a second attempt at sobriety. That will, in turn, improve your odds of exiting treatment and staying sober for good the second time around.

But all of that starts with you making the decision to return to detox or rehab after you suffer a relapse. And now that you know how to make that all-important choice, you’re armed with the knowledge to keep your drug or alcohol problem from spiraling back out of control. So if you’re struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction – and even if you’ve been through treatment before – don’t wait. You deserve the help and support you need to get sober and stay sober. So call us today at 833-364-0736. Our treatment counselors are here to listen to you 24 hours a day and to get you the help you need.