When considering treatment for chronic alcoholism or drug addiction the term: relapse is sure to be encountered. It arises when the effectiveness of therapy or treatment is the subject for discussion. It’s a legitimate concern and certainly one that applies in many situations. Some professionals consider it a symptom of addiction and dependency on chemical substances including alcohol.
Counselors at The Beachcomber with more than 125-years of combined experience in alcoholism and addiction treatment are familiar with the dangers of relapse. They’ve found that those seeking help have experienced various routes to a cure and consequently have found themselves, or a loved one repeating some aspects of their search. In most cases counselors have found treatment for substance abuses successful and all efforts rewarded. Statistics have generally set a pattern that’s been predictable:
One third of those treated respond immediately. Another one third goes through multiple treatment experiences. The remaining third are constantly facing encounters with relapse and then temporary sobriety. In this later group a small percentage never accumulate enough sober time to overcome relapses tied to physical compulsion.
As with many serious illnesses our treatment team warns that statistics can help or hinder. One underlying truth is that the majority of alcoholics and addicts will be likely to remain clean and sober as their abstinence times accumulate. In other words, if the patient works at the sobering process then recovery will almost surely come about.
Some former residents at The Beachcomber have encountered relapses before gaining long-term sobriety. With over 40-years in residential treatment, the oldest program in Florida, most counselors agree every individual has to want to be clean and sober. Long-term recovery results when an accepted support system is put in place to back that desire.
Treatment for alcoholism and substance abuse will succeed in almost every case if determination is part of the process. Understanding by a caring network is of primary importance and one reason why counselors urge after-care contacts. They also encourage participation in Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous since these twelve step groups have proven their importance time-after-time.
AA & NA work best if friends and family members are supportive. Very often treatment programs, like The Beachcomber, provide family members and concerned friend’s special orientation meetings. These professionally presented classes point out some of the danger of relapses.
In after care sessions the warning signs of relapse are discussed and the importance of self-help programs is explained. Many of the myths and misunderstandings concerning AA & NA are clarified for some who may doubt their importance after following a course of treatment either in-patient or out-patient.