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How Many Recovering Addicts Relapse?

Relapse is extremely common in recovery. About two thirds of people relapse within a year of leaving treatment. The good news is that the longer you stay in recovery, the longer you are likely to stay in recovery. If you make it a year, your chances of relapse fall to less than half. If you make it to five years your likelihood of relapse is less than 15 percent. That’s good news for people who can stick with it, but it still means about 80 percent of people will relapse in five years. Some estimates of alcohol, heroin, and meth show rates of relapse are closer to 90 percent.

The statistics may not be quite as bad as they seem. Many people enter treatment because of a court order or because they want to appease their families. They are not committed to staying in recovery. Although it is possible to treat someone who doesn’t want treatment, it shouldn’t be surprising that much of this group relapses quickly.

Of the people who do want to stay in recovery, many relapse because they can’t make the transition from the treatment facility to living on their own again. Making the transition smoothly requires a bit of planning and support, and if either of those is inadequate relapse is more likely.

During this transition period, and throughout the first year, many of the things that cause a relapse are the same things that led to addiction in the first place. The most common are stress, depression, boredom, and loneliness. Unrealistic expectations for recovery can also be a factor. If you expect to be more or less back to normal in a month or two but you’re still battling cravings and not taking proper precautions, you are likely to run into trouble. On the other hand, if you go into it expecting to have to work on recovery every day and take special care to go to meetings, manage stress, and avoid triggers, you have a much better chance of success.

While relapse isn’t a necessary part of recovery, it is common. Obviously, you want your first time in treatment to be enough, but for most people it doesn’t work that way. There can be special challenges associated with relapse. For example, you might be ashamed of failure, which can make it harder to try again. You may also be at a greater risk of overdose. The important thing to remember is that a relapse isn’t a permanent failure. Most people have to try more than once and the sooner you get back into treatment the better.

If you have relapsed or are trying to get sober for the first time, Gardens Wellness Center can help. We offer medically assisted detox and we work with you to figure out the best treatment options for your situation. Call us today at 844-325-9168 or email us at to learn more.