Why Do Men Relapse in Recovery?
Men struggle in recovery for various reasons. They may struggle to remain sober from alcohol or drugs following relapse. There are many reasons why men relapse in recovery. It has nothing to do with not having the will to stay sober. The fact is, addiction is challenging and recovery is hard. Triggers, cravings, and old feelings can crop up. Learn more about why men relapse in recovery and how to support a loved one struggling with addiction.
Refuse to Change Social Circle
A person’s social circle is key to recovery. Holding onto old relationships, friends, and others who seemingly do the same behaviors that the person left behind in rehab can be triggering. A man in recovery can achieve lasting recovery, but he has to be able to give up three parts of the past: people, places, and things. The drugs and alcohol are right ther, so it can be triggering to just want to enjoy it one last time, do it with friends, or just not feel left out because everyone else is doing it. It is best to refrain from using all substances or even talking about it. Eventually, many people in sobriety are able to socialize with people who drink and use but usually not in the first year of recovery (or even the second).
Undiagnosed Psychiatric Disorder
More than half the people struggling with drug addiction suffer from a co-occurring mental health disorder like depression, chronic anxiety, bipolar disorder, or other personality disorders. These issues can cause uncomfortable feelings, which they may decide to self-medicate with substances. Co-occurring disorders need to be properly diagnosed and treated in order for men to be able to move forward in recovery.
Stress, challenging events, and even great success need a support network. Men are susceptible to life’s changes like getting fired, getting a divorce, and depression. These trigger a desire to pick up. Joyous events like getting promoted or getting married can create a strong desire to ‘celebrate.’ men may relapse more often based on positive emotional states. Men need group therapy, 12-step groups, and a strong community. They may feel it is not ‘masculine’ to share feelings, but it is okay to need others and be emotionally vulnerable so they can be able to develop support networks.
Getting into romantic relationships early in recovery is not a healthy thing to do. If the relationship goes astray, the loss can be devastating. Until the person with addiction has new coping mechanisms for stress release in place, there is a risk for relapse every time a connection goes wrong.
Being drawn into unhealthy relationships, being triggered, or not having enough community to support recovery are all challenges that can be overcome with the right focus on healthy living in recovery. Relapse can still happen but it is not the end of the world. A man can own up to his mistake, take it as a hint to grow stronger and continue working to build a healthy, long lasting recovery with the help and support of others.
The Last Resort provides a safe, supportive environment for men in a retreat-like setting. Nature is an important component of recovery and healing. We strive to provide a place of enrichment that cultivates the inner as well as the outer journey of recovery. However you find your way to the Last Resort, we endeavor to provide a haven where you can journey through recovery feeling like your life and story have meaning and a purpose. Call us to find out more: 512-750-6750.