Relapse is if someone has made the decision to quit using drugs or alcohol and during their recovery they start using again. It can be a one-time slip up or it can last for years. It's almost a part of recovery. Addictive substance reach and stimulate parts of our brains that are so deep and primal, they can light up like Christmas trees before we even have time to think about consequences.
I would say that yes, if you do relapse, you'll probably go pretty hard. I don't think this is a brain thing necessarily, more of a psychological thing. I know if I was going to blow my sobriety from alcohol, I'd want to get rip roaring drunk and have an epic night, and that is totally psychological.
Relapse.. personal experience (Shmeggo was right on with her explanation)
I stopped smoking few years back. decided I would 'just try one for old times sake (found one in the house actually). Smoked it. Went out and bought two packs. Smoked them. Wnet out and bought THREE packs, smoked them. All just a trip down Memory Lane. Sure was. Here I sit with an active habbit again.. a cancer survivior with an active smoking habit. I am trying to gear up to stop and it has to be cold turkey. Cold turkey for The taper Queen.
To say it is harder the second time around is like saying hot fudge is just a little bit fattening.
This is what drug relapse (nicotine included) is.
As kind as I want to remain in my life, the truth is that relapse is a defiant, knowledge filled choice. Love the person, hate the choice. That's me, that's drug relapse in any form.
Relapse exists and can happen to anyone. I don’t know what drugs your son is referring too, but a drug is a drug is a drug. Most people I know whom have relapsed have passed on to the other side. They had substantial amounts of clean time and now they are in heaven. There are others I know of, who don’t look like the same person; they have lost their shine from their sobriety. There are others who relapse with the thought they can control their using and their lives become constrained and unhappy, a living hell under their feet. I did the control thing for years. When I relapsed, I od'd, my heart stopped beating and was saved by 911. So yes, for me it definitely did get worse. I nearly got dead, a few times over. For me, my using was an escape from the life that I did not want to fulfill. Life was always difficult. I was always avoiding and loosing by default. I think the relapses for me have helped me realize that I must overcome my fears and confront to what life opens up for me. And finally, greatly relieved to say, I am going to be ok.
The RE in Relapse doesn’t have to be a mandatory part of the recovery journey. A lot of relapses happen because we haven’t come to terms with what we are to accomplish with our life or vision. (well, for me, anyway.) Or we didn’t learn something and we must go back to get it. A lot of addicts loose sight and meaning in their lives and relapse to the only thing they know of that will give them power because they haven’t found the power within. ~ The Higher Power ~ They are greatly discouraged to realize and choked to admit ( If some is good, more is better) is a downright, dirty dehabilitating big fat lie….. Then we get better.
i think that a huge part of what makes us relapse is the fact that we are not ready to fulfill life. in rehab they teach you that a relapse begins months before you pick up your drug of choice. most of these signs are typical depression signs...feeling isolated, overwhelmed, stressed, sad, etc. a depressed person is an at-risk person. going back to drugs and alcohol are pretty easy copouts when you don't want to face life.
and yes, a huge risk factor is not coming to terms with your addiction, esp if it seemed easy to stop. i guess (for me anyway) i have to remember that ANY voice in my head that says one day i can drink again is not rational nor a part of my logical mind, it is simply the primal addiction voice and it must be regarded as such and ignored at all costs. basically, i can NEVER forget that i am an alcoholic, no matter how "well" i feel. that voice will tell you anything to get you to drink again because it thinks you will die without alcohol...it is stronger than the urge to eat or have sex!!
All your posts are great, makes me think, I like that, it puts me in your shoes and I can relate. Bottom line is he was lucky, he spiraled out of control and in a jiffy he hit rock bottom but this was a quick rock bottom, lot's of harm but he didn't dwell there and reached out for help, so somewhere there is hope he doesn't want to be an addict.
I am a former smoker (quit with chantix 10/06) and recently I went away with a chain smoker, I was witchy the first few days because I wanted a smoke so bad but I refused to give in because I knew I was an addict and would go back whole hog if I did. I guess I got over the hump, that's what every addict needs to get past. When you know you will never return.
As my son said I used my freedom of choice not to smoke. (He is a smart kid, just not always with himself).
If you relapse you don't ALWAYS go harder than before, though a lot of people do...I think it's because you're mentally used to using whatever it is (it's familiar to you), and you tend to go right back to how you were using (the level, amount, frequency, intensity, etc) you were doing when last you used, except it FEELS like more because you're NOT used to it physically and it actually IS more, because you've missed it and you're sort of "relieved" or whatever to "be back", but also because maybe the reasons that have caused you to relapse in the first place are causing you to go harder than before...?