Why Men Seem to Relapse in Recovery (and How to Change the Stats)

Men who struggle to remain sober from alcohol and drugs relapse eventually. There are many reasons why this happens, and it is often a complicated mix of things leading up to relapse. The challenge for men and their loved ones is to recognize the signs and build awareness so they can work on prevention and support when it happens.

Men Refuse To Budge

Sometimes men are stubborn. Like anybody else, they are not willing to make changes necessary to keep their sobriety at the forefront of recovery. To achieve sobriety, you need to give up things from the past, including people, places, and things. Eventually if you hang out with a barber in his shop, you will get a haircut, as the saying goes. The fact is men who go to old haunts will be triggered, their friends may encourage them to do drugs or drink with them, and even someone who is in recovery for years may be weak in that moment and let his guard down enough to fall off the wagon.

Mental Health Conditions

Oftentimes, men don’t realize they are struggling with a mental health condition that is undiagnosed. More than half the people struggling with drug addiction suffer from a co-occurring mental health disorder like depression, anxiety, bipolar, or other personality disorder. These issues cause feelings to arise for the person with addiction. Self-medication may be the only way he or she learns to cope, by ingesting alcohol and drugs. The potential for drug addiction relapse is high.

Stress of Life

Some of the life disasters that come our way, including job loss, loss of a loved one, even depression or anxiety can trigger a negative feeling. Joyous events can trigger a desire to pick up. Men are more likely than women to relapse because of these positive emotional states. The real relapse culprit is a lack of social support network. Men are often not willing to participate in group therapy and 12-step meetings because they want to try doing things on their own. Women in recovery are typically less likely to relapse than men because they are more likely to engage in group counseling to work out their issues. That is not to say men will not do that but it takes pushing themselves to get over the idea that it is not safe to be vulnerable or talk about their issues with others. In fact, it is very healthy and good to do that.Being vulnerable enough to pursue leaving behind an image of yourself that includes not talking about problems, not budging, and not taking care of yourself takes time. It is not an adjustment made overnight. It is one made with the idea that you will be healthier if you choose to tell others what is going on, share and work to change the stats on relapse for your own life.

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.