Relapse isn’t unusual and it can happen to anyone. The National Institute for Drug Abuse estimates that 40 to 60 percent of people in treatment for alcohol addiction or drug addiction will relapse at least once. Chemical dependency is a chronic, lifelong disease and some people relapse several times before giving up drugs or alcohol for good. Some even manage controlled intake without further harm.
Relapse doesn’t mean that treatment has failed, that the afflicted person is back at square one, or that the person lost what was gained during recovery.
However, knowing that relapse is a normal part of recovery for many people doesn’t make relapse less devastating for friends and family. If your loved one has relapsed, remember that it isn’t the end of the world, even though it may feel that way. Don’t panic. Instead, think about how you can help to regain his or her footing and return to recovery.