Imagine working on something for an extended period of time, something that means so much to you and your success as an individual. Now imagine you get your whole family and some friends on board, while along the way making new connections with people. Finally, consider the financial contributions made. Then, in one brief moment it’s over, you stop working and fall into negative patterns which impede the progress of reaching your goal. Although this example is an oversimplification, it gives some perspective into the feelings of an addict who has had multiple attempts at treatment. How do they come to terms with themselves and their support system that treatment just did not work and they need to go back? These feelings of uncertainty in treatment and failure can prevent individuals from getting the help they need through further attempts at treatment.
The key to addressing uncertainty in treatment for those who have had multiple attempts is reassurance. Addiction is a disease and relapse is an unfortunate but common occurrence. Any disease, no matter how vigilant towards treatment, can result in relapse. In fact, most people have at least two attempts in treatment prior to achieving long-term recovery. Whether it takes two attempts or ten, each time in treatment provides the person seeking recovery with an opportunity to learn and grow, as well as continue to find things that will benefit their journey into recovery.
Even if the person doesn’t maintain sobriety after treatment, there was still value in it. Subsequent attempts allow individuals to build a strong foundation for recovery as they can pick and choose what things they feel to be beneficial to them. No two attempts at treatment are the same, even within the same facility.
It can be frustrating to witness someone do well in recovery, but then succumb to their addiction again. Some may have success with recovery while in treatment, but fall quickly back into their addiction upon leaving. Either way it is imperative to be supportive and optimistic for those who have had multiple attempts.
Making the decision to enter treatment is difficult. The addict seeking treatment faces many emotions, perceived obstacles, conflicting opinions and influences both internally and externally. Regardless if it’s their second time or tenth, everyone deserves the opportunity to recover, and everyone deserves support and guidance to reach their goal to be free from addiction no matter how many times they have tried previously. If the desire for change is present, it must be encouraged no matter how many times they have tried before.