In a now widely adopted treatment philosophy; relapse is best defined as a series of setbacks along the way to recovery1. From this perspective, mistakes or lapses are considered part of the recovery process, not a failure to recover2.
Relapse is common and normal and happens to a lot of individuals in recovery from drug and or alcohol addiction. Some individuals will have one or more relapses. While relapse is a normal part of recovery, for some drugs, a relapse can be very dangerous-even deadly. If a person uses as much as they used to before quitting, they can easily overdose because their bodies are no longer used to having the same amount of drugs in their system.
If you or a loved one have relapsed get help soon. Seek treatment again. There is no shame in relapsing. Florida Center for Recovery offers a specialized inpatient addiction treatment program for chronic relapsers.
1.Hendershot, C.S., Witkiewitz, K., George, W.H. & Marlatt, G.A. (2011). Relapse prevention for addictive behaviors. Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy, 6, 17.
2. Marlatt, A.G., Donovan, D.M. (2005). Relapse Prevention, Second Edition, Maintenance Strategies in the Treatment of Addictive Behaviors. (1-50).