Home / Am I A Chronic Relapser? 7 Signs That You Are One


Am I A Chronic Relapser? 7 Signs That You Are One

October 19, 2021

The road to recovery can often be harsh. Progress isn’t always linear and relapses are almost always guaranteed. Relapsing once is common and it is something that you can easily recover from. However, if you are a chronic relapser, then you might need to take a step back and reevaluate your healing process.

What Is A Chronic Relapser?

A chronic relapser is a recovering addict who has broken sobriety on multiple occasions. There is no fixed definition for this but anyone who can maintain sobriety for a few days or weeks and then falls back to their old ways is a chronic relapser.

It is a vicious cycle that does not have any real positive impact because the patient gets stuck right where they are. Thankfully, there are remedies for this. If you are a chronic relapser, you may need to get readmitted to inpatient rehab so that you can recalibrate. Another option is to increase your outpatient therapy sessions so that you will be kept under a close eye to maintain accountability.

It is very important to break the cycle of chronic relapsing before it rolls back into a full-blown addiction. Here are the signs that you might be a chronic relapser.

Signs That You Are A Chronic Relapser

  • You feel like sobriety is an impossible goal. As such, you feel hopeless all the time and you struggle to maintain it for more than a few weeks.
  • Your family members are suffocating you with their treatment techniques to the point of helplessness and immobility.
  • You only completed the inpatient treatment program to please your loved ones and you left too soon even if you aren’t fully ready yet.
  • You have been to numerous rounds of treatment but you fail every single time.
  • You refuse to acknowledge that you have a serious problem. As such, you live in a state of denial that prevents you from facing your issues head-on.
  • Your family expects you to relapse after so many failed attempts in the past so you are just leaning into the narrative.
  • You are dishonest about yourself, activities, thoughts, and feelings.

Why Do Patients Relapse?

There is no single reason as to why someone might relapse. Some of the reasons include:

  • Being exposed to the same environment and people that enabled the addiction in the first place
  • Being unable to cope with daily stressors
  • Lack of insight into addiction
  • Inability to change your perspective of drugs
  • Lack of accountability or safety nets
  • Inability to follow preventative measures
  • Post-acute withdrawal symptoms

Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms

Patients experience primary withdrawal symptoms during inpatient rehab. This is the first time they are completely rid of the addictive substances in their bodies and the symptoms may feel extreme. PAWS refers to the secondary withdrawal after the patient has left the addiction treatment center. This can cause other issues like inability to sleep, anxiety, depression, irritability, and more. 

How Can You Solve Chronic Relapsing?

Extend The Initial Treatment

The mere fact that chronic relapsing happens means that the initial treatment may have been insufficient. Maybe the program was too short to develop long-term habits or for sobriety to stick. The usual 28-day to month-long inpatient treatment might be too short. As such, the patient must be readmitted and the duration of their stay should be extended.

Attend Family Therapy Sessions

Family therapy is highly beneficial because it mends the relationship and trust between the addicted member and the rest of the unit. This is important because the family serves as the primary support system for the patient. They also serve as accountability buddies that can keep the patient in check.

Family therapy improves every member’s ability to communicate so that everyone can become expressive of their feelings and needs. In this way, the patient can seek help and attention instead of slipping back to their old ways.

Create An Accountability System

Chronic relapsers get away with relapsing because of the lax system surrounding them. With no one to supervise them, they can easily call their supplier and break sobriety.

Accountability systems may be sponsors in support meetings, therapists, accountability buddies, or counselors. Just remember that addicts do not like being forced to report to anybody so find a way to seamlessly integrate communication with these accountability systems as part of their daily routine.

Impulse Control

The patient may need to work on their ability to control impulses so that they can resist temptation better. They can hone their impulse control skills by attending support group meetings, being aware of their harmful patterns, and being conscious of their thoughts. They should do their best to avoid the mental pathways that lead them to obsess over their addiction. 

Recognizing these thought patterns allows them to break them as early as possible so that they won’t relapse.


Medication may be necessary for dual diagnosis and managing withdrawal symptoms. Take these as prescribed and always follow the doctor’s orders.

Chronic relapse is a vicious cycle full of its ups and downs. It is emotionally and mentally exhausting to always cave in and then wake up with a renewed sense of resolve to stay sober, only to have it broken a few weeks later. Chronic relapsing means that you are stagnant, if not regressing.

Thankfully, it is very much preventable. Remember to seek help from professionals for better relapse prevention.

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