Relapse as Part of Recovery
A relapsing person may see the desire to return to their old behavior as a failure of willpower. However, relapsing is far more complicated. Scientists today know that addiction has a significant impact on the brain, resulting in certain structural and functional brain alterations that can persist even after sobriety. Due to its effect on the brain, addiction is considered a brain disease.
Recovery does not happen overnight. It is an ongoing process that involves the patient making mistakes along the way. It is through these mistakes that the patient learns how to navigate their recovery path.
For instance, by experiencing relapse a patient may learn that they can no longer spend time with an old friend or in an old environment. They may discover that they are battling with an underlying mental health issue that must be addressed. It is always recommended to have a relapse prevention plan in place to avoid falling back into bad habits.