It has been reported today that Paul Gascoigne has sadly relapsed and has returned to rehab. Whilst it is always sad to hear when someone goes through this situation, it is worth remembering that sometimes relapses can be blessing in disguise and so I just wanted to focus here on what a relapse can mean.

Firstly, there is a difference between lapse and addiction relapse. A lapse is a one-off occasion where the person uses their substance (or behaviour, depending on the addiction), but immediately seeks help and is able to get their recovery back on track. A relapse is something that is more severe, and is often accompanied by denial, with the person still feeling that they are able to stop when they decide they want to. In either case, if the person gets to the point where they seek help again then relapses can be positive.

I say this because a relapse reinforces to the person the fact that they are not in control; they are powerless over the substance. It will also show the importance of regular maintenance, so attendance at fellowship meetings or regularly seeing a counsellor, whatever works for the individual. It is complacency that is a major cause of relapse, and it can be helpful for a person to see they are never going to be “cured”. They can stay in recovery for the rest of their life, but it will take work on their part.

Addictionhelper are thinking of Paul Gascoigne and pray that he manages to get through this and achieve a successful recovery. Has an addiction relapse been an eye-opener for you or a loved one? We want to hear about your experiences.