In general, there is a notion that after treatment or rehabilitation, if anybody relapses, it means that the treatment was non-effective or it has failed. The money has been wasted or the trust is broken. But in reality, relapse does not prove any of these. Rather relapse is a process and a part of recovery. As we know that addiction is an incurable disease yet it is treatable like any other disease. Just like cancer is a relapse prone disease, similarly, addiction is also a relapse prone disease.

The mere fact is that if one stops the medication, he/she can possibly relapse to his/her medical condition. Similarly, if a person during recovery fails to follow the directions, as suggested during his rehabilitation or treatment, can relapse on his addictive condition. In such cases, often the person or the family blames the medical institutions. But most significantly, relapse is a choice, not an accident. One chooses to relapse. It is never forced on. Thus, the person is accountable for his recovery and relapse.

There can be many possible reasons for relapsing:

1. The treatment was not taken seriously rather was done reluctantly or perhaps to please others.

2. Taking recovery lightly and becoming overconfident about it. 

3. Returning back to denial patterns.

4. Returning back to ego-centric and self-willed behaviour.

5. Not taking medication as prescribed by the doctors, especially when the person in recovery is suffering from dual diagnosis or comorbid condition. Here, one relapse precedes the other relapse.

6. Desire to test boundaries by practicing self-control behaviour over the drug of choice.

7. Not going for fellowship meetings as suggested by the counsellor.

Relapse to drugs clearly indicates that the individual was not well prepared to take the recovery and thus need to resume his treatment, understand the relapse dynamics with the help of a mental health professional especially addiction counsellors and start working on recovery again. 

As it is now clear that relapse is a part of recovery, hence it can be prevented through follow-ups, counselling sessions, going for fellowship meetings, practicing relapse prevention plan, and seeking help from mental health practitioners immediately whenever needed.

It is essential to recognize that the process of recovery is actually unending and is one step forward and probably two steps backward. It needs to be considered on the basis of one day at a time or one moment at a time.

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