There’s a saying in addiction recovery that “we’re only as sick as our secrets.” Even after completing drug addiction treatment, some people continue to keep long-held secrets and/or act out in unhealthy ways. Much to the dismay of concerned family and friends and despite their best attempts at healing, some men and women may find themselves relapsing repeatedly on drugs and alcohol, even though they’ve tried counseling, 12-Step programs and drug rehab.
Is the chronic relapser doomed to a life plagued by addiction? Was drug rehab a waste of time?
Chronic relapse has varied causes. For some, ongoing stressors such as family dysfunction and major life transitions can trigger a return to drug or alcohol abuse. Others may stop using drugs only to “transfer” their addiction to other substances or behaviors that stimulate the reward circuitry in the brain, such as gambling, spending, overeating or sex. In some cases, an unrecognized and untreated sex or love addiction may contribute to the relapse cycle.