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Relapse Makes These Experiences Way Worse

No matter how you slice it, relapse is a drag.

Making the decision to quit wasn’t easy. Your life hadn’t been going in the right direction for a while. A lot of things were going wrong, and most of them were because of drugs, alcohol or other addictive behaviors. The people in your life were starting to resent you and think you were nothing but trouble, and you know what? They probably weren’t wrong.

You finally made the right decision for yourself and for those around you, and you got clean. You looked different, you felt different, and the people in your life that mattered were proud of you.

Then you relapsed.

Relapse isn’t part of recovery for everyone, but it is extremely prevalent. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, relapse rates for all substance use disorders, including alcohol, is 40-60 percent.

If you’re one of those people who quit drinking or using and never looked back, good for you. You’re an inspiration to a lot of people and you should be proud of yourself.

But if you’ve relapsed, don’t give up. You’re in good company. And what you’ll realize is that once you get clean and relapse, it just isn’t nearly as fun anymore. Sitting at the bar and getting hammered feels different; doing a line feels different; waking up in the morning broke as a joke feels different. I mean, even having a huge piece of cake feels different.

Here are 10 disappointing side effects of relapsing:

1. Two-Day Hangovers

If you drank all night–or worse, all day and night–and think that your hangover doesn’t seem all that bad, you’re probably still drunk. Hangovers just aren’t as cute the second time around. While you used to consider yourself a professional drinker, now that you’ve relapsed you know you’re just some idiot that drank too much, blacked out and acted the fool. You now have to wait a whole day before you feel even somewhat human again. That’s if you’re lucky. The two-day hangover seems to be related to age as much as it is dependent on how much you drink. Day one is when your head pounds like a heartbeat and your mouth feels like the inside of a box of triscuits, while day two is when you’re just tired and missing 40 points from your IQ.

2. Letting People Down

Oh hey, people weren’t actually counting on you, were they? Get ready for some super awkward conversations. When you first got clean, a lot of people were proud of you. It could have been your significant other, your friends, or your coworkers A lot of them were probably even people that you didn’t think noticed that you had a problem. That felt good. You had some pride, and for once could hold your head high. Now that you relapsed you couldn’t feel more stupid. Because when you quit you admitted to everyone that you had a problem and you were trying to fix it. But did you? Nope.

3. Partying Feels Like a Job Now

Remember back in the day when you first started partying? It was beautiful then, or at least some of it was. The scenes you were a part of were fun and celebratory, and there was an anticipation in the air like something good and amazing was going to come your way? Or maybe it was just a feeling you were chasing, and when you drank or used you finally felt okay. Yeah, well, once you relapse those days are gone. Whether you’re heading on down to the bar or getting ready to shoot up, you’re pretty much on the clock. Partying now is like strapping on your hard hat and going to work.

4. Ruined Relationships

Back when you first started using you didn’t even think that your addictions would affect your relationships. Maybe you found someone that partied just as hard as you do, or maybe you found someone that wanted to fix you and take care of you. Then as you moved through life you started seeing the failed relationships pile up. When you relapse, you aren’t kidding yourself anymore. You totally know your addiction is going to mess everything up but you do it anyway. It’s more just a matter of long you can pull off the con before you get busted.

5. Hanging with People You Don’t Like

When you were partying all the time you had all sorts of friends. Then when you stopped you noticed most of them vanished. But it didn’t matter because you also noticed that you didn’t like them a whole lot anyway. Like, seriously, why were you hanging out with that dude? This becomes way more obvious after you relapse. You know that your crew is a cadre of wastrels, scammers and con artists, but you keep hanging with them anyway because anyone else might call you out on your behavior…

Check out five more experiences that are worse when you relapse in the original article 10 Experiences That Are Way Worse When You Relapse at The Fix.

Relapse Makes These Experiences Way Worse

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APA Reference
Guest Author, P. (2019). Relapse Makes These Experiences Way Worse. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 25, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jun 2019 (Originally: 9 Jun 2019)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jun 2019
Published on Psych All rights reserved.