January 18, 2024

‘Don’t Give Up’: Chronic Relapsers Who (Finally) Achieved Long-Term Sobriety Give Words of Encouragement

Some people develop a drug or alcohol problem, get help, and stop. And they stay stopped. Then there are people like me.

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Contributors & Editors

Megan Krause

Recovery Writer and Advocate

Last Update on January 18, 2024

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Overcoming Chronic Relapse: A Path to Recovery

Some battle substance abuse, seek assistance and manage to quit once and for all. They may have accessed various resources – detox facilities, rehabilitation centers, 12-step programs, spiritual guidance, counseling, medication, or a combination thereof. What’s important is that they found something that worked for them. Once they chose a path of recovery, they adhered to it, maintaining sobriety since their first acknowledgment of the problem.

However, not everyone’s journey is the same. Some, like me, have a different narrative.

The Struggles of a Chronic Relapse

Chronic relapses, as we are often labeled, are individuals who have made multiple attempts to attain and maintain sobriety. Our paths are strewn with countless sobriety dates, a trail of well-intentioned yet disappointed loved ones, and painful losses – children, jobs, and homes. We’ve jumped from detox to rehab to halfway house and made endless promises, only to break them repeatedly.

And yet, with each promise, we meant every word.

This updated article aims to speak directly to you if this sounds familiar.

Understanding the ‘Why’ of Chronic Relapse

It remains perplexing that some people achieve lasting sobriety on their first attempt while others continue to grapple with it. The reasons remain elusive.

Addiction, a deeply stigmatized disease, is defined by reports such as the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Harvard Medical School as a medical disorder influenced by both biological and environmental risk factors. It’s not a question of willpower or a moral failing but a chronic neurological condition that eludes our control.

Yet, when we find ourselves ejected from sober living, dismissed from work, or taking a newcomer chip – again – it’s hard not to internalize the feeling of personal failure. The repeated struggle makes us question, Why persist? Why continue trying?

Hope in the Face of Relapse

On March 14, 2012, I tried one more time. It wasn’t always easy, but I’ve remained clean and sober ever since, and my life is now marked by genuine joy. I am liberated. This can be your narrative too.

Advice from Those Who’ve Been There

Remember, you are not alone if you’re wrestling with achieving and maintaining sobriety. Many have walked this path before you and found hope on the other side. It might be challenging but never lose hope.

Reaching Out: Seeking Help for Addiction

If you’re ready to break the cycle of chronic relapse, Cornerstone Healing Center is here to help.  A happy, sober life is not just a possibility – it’s a future you deserve.

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Author & Reviewers


Megan Krause

lionel estrada lisac clinical director
Lionel, a Licensed Independent Substance Abuse Counselor (LISAC) with over 4 years at Cornerstone. Passionate about helping those with addiction, he has trained as an EMDR therapist  adopting a trauma-informed approach to treat the underlying issues of addiction, providing an empathetic approach to addiction.

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