- Is relapse part of the recovery process?
- What role do relapse behaviors and other setbacks play in addiction treatment?
Episode 18: Is Relapse Part of Addiction Recovery?
Dwight Hurst, CMHC: Hi, everybody, welcome back to the Waismann Method podcast, I’m your co-host, Dwight Hurst, joined here by Clare Waismann and David Livingston. We’re going to be taking a look at your questions about addiction, dependence, recovery, treatment. Today’s question is actually quite a classic one. Is relapse a part of recovery? It’s an old saying that has been kicked around for a long time. And I personally, as I’ve been involved in treatment and therapy with people, I find that sometimes the old phrases that we know really well are problematic because nobody knows what they mean anymore, you know? So when we say, oh, relapse is part of recovery and I’ve had so many people who are like, what does that mean? And the answer is, I don’t know, what does that mean? And is it even true?
Clare Waismann, RAS/SUDCC: I think relapse is part of life. We relapse on so many decisions we make every day in the morning. But think about that, right? How many decisions you make and throughout the day you think, “Hey, I’ll do it tomorrow.” You relapse. Right?
David Livingston, LMFT: It’s like saying, is failure a part of life? Right. Right. People learn from it and people don’t learn from it.
Dwight Hurst, CMHC: Is it is interesting the things that we confront on a day-to-day basis like that that aren’t going to result in a big confrontation, a big label. No laws were broken. Certainly, things that we fail or relapse in that are a lot less public than things that have to do with intoxication.
Clare Waismann, RAS/SUDCC: It’s a behavior, right. So behavior that leads to an action. So was every other behavior that we do that can lead to a negative action.
Dwight Hurst, CMHC: So where do we see the stigma start to come out then, do you think, or where do you think that comes from? When we treat things with substances and addiction, we treat it so differently than like the thirty-third time that I’ve said I’m going to do A, B and C to get in shape. And we go, oh, yeah, we just kind of accept that that’s an ebb and flow and that there’s this relapse is there. But when addiction comes into it, all of a sudden we have to have a whole other level of shame and everything. What is some of that come from?
Clare Waismann, RAS/SUDCC: If you ask me, came from one point, from the misunderstanding of it. I think at one point when we didn’t have brain scans, when we didn’t understand why people repeated such, you know, harmful behaviors, they actually sat in a room, held each other’s hand and prayed to God that they could survive that day because nobody could understand the same way we did with people that were depressed. They were so depressed, we didn’t understand why they were so sad and why do they want to take their life, so we locked them in facilities, shocked them, tie their hands. We are in 2021. We can see our brains. We can see what effects, what reactions we have. We have a tremendous amount of science that can reverse a lot of these conditions. What is holding on to those words that are harmful and create a permanent state? We can do better than that because we don’t need to hold each other’s hands anymore. Like David said, it’s a lot easier to treat something we understand we can identify. So we can identify the effects of certain conditions and we can scientifically reverse it, including a lot of substance dependence, including mental health.
Dwight Hurst, CMHC: Historically, when we couldn’t really when we didn’t understand the organ failure, right, we didn’t understand the brain and those things, that’s where you go back in time and people were just locked up and eccentric and weird or whatever. And then they did understand that. And like you put it, we could do better than that now because we know I feel like there’s still a hang-up when the condition affects our actions and our thoughts and our feelings, because I think we use those three things, actions and feelings and thoughts to judge people, to judge ourselves. Right. To take the assessment.
Clare Waismann, RAS/SUDCC: Yeah, I think mental health has such a stigma itself that a lot of people end up suffering from addiction because they did not get the help they needed for their mental health issues. I was actually listening to a doctor on TikTok. Somebody showed me in my office. He has a tremendous amount of followers and he is actually an MAT doctor, so he prescribes Suboxone, Subutex drugs and things like this. Somebody asked him who are addicts and he is saying they are these wonderful, caring people with tremendous empathy that just cannot handle, you know, a horrible world. And they are intelligent and they are. And I’m thinking of myself. Why is he grouping everybody that has a condition with the same personality? I mean, why is he undermining the intelligence of these people? So he finished the TikTok saying, but they have this chronic disease that they can never get well from. Now, by the way, he’s selling the drug to keep this person with this chronic disease dependent on this drug the rest of their lives. So I think there is a financial reason that makes a tremendous amount of profit on leaving people believing they have a chronic condition. They call it a disease, not a condition. They call it a chronic disease.
Dwight Hurst, CMHC: I, I think I’d feel more comfortable hearing someone say something like, you know, people who are highly emotionally reactive are sometimes at greater risk for addiction than those who are more underreacted. Like that would make me feel a lot better than if I hear someone say, like you just said, well, addicts are this way and that’s why they’re addicts. And so, therefore, addicts, they’re so closely aligned that you can almost get away with it. But, man, I could have warned him that Clare wasn’t going to like that TikTok if he would ask.
Clare Waismann, RAS/SUDCC: Right, is just for me. And then it again, it does not just with addiction or recovery. I think when we put people in buckets by religion, by color, by social level, by medical conditions, it’s not a good idea. Individuals or individuals with different makeups, different thoughts, different reactions, different emotions. And we need to start looking at the person behind the condition while we’re trying to create the conditions. A lot of people get forgotten. And I think that is the most harmful factor on treatment nowadays. We often treat the condition and the patient feels unseen, unheard.
David Livingston, LMFT: Right. Right. And it said that at the end of successful psychotherapy, what’s present is you have successes in work, successes in your relationships. You have the ability to play and you can accept your dependencies. The fourth one is significant when you deal with people who are struggling with substances. And speaking to what you’re saying Clare, is that without getting to know somebody, really getting to know them and what is what’s going on in their world or seeing them, well, can we trust our dependencies and think of verbiage in that statement? Dependency means, well, eating is a need, right? If we don’t we will become or if we don’t drink will be we will be thirsty and we will become compulsive, the most overlooked, misunderstood aspect of our culture. And it’s no wonder there’s a lot of addiction. So what happens is when you begin to see a person well and you see the complexity of their needs and who they are, and I can’t tell you how many times and I’m not maybe this sounds like I’m bragging, but I don’t mean it that way. How many times in getting to know someone and really trying to understand what it is they’re meaning, they say nobody’s ever said that to me. And they’re like, it’s it’s not even that hard. It’s it’s that the process is different. It’s not about sort of putting something on someone as much as it is allowing someone to unfold and see them. And then you will see what they need. They’ll tell you if you’re listening
Clare Waismann, RAS/SUDCC: And often what they need is to be heard.
David Livingston, LMFT: That’s a huge part of it. And to be seen. That’s right. And see if you just tell them this is what you are, this is who you are. This is where you know that, then you see nothing.
Dwight Hurst, CMHC: And we’re going to leave that there for today. We are moving from this question into next week’s exciting question, which is going to be, does trauma lead to addiction? And what is the relationship between trauma and addiction?
Dwight Hurst, CMHC: You may or may not have noticed yet. We have a new name for our podcast that is more complete and describes a little bit more what we are doing here. It is a Podcast to Answer Your Questions on Addiction, Recovery and Mental Health by Waismann Method® Opioid Treatment Specialists and Rapid Detox Center. So it’s a name that we wanted to throw out there so that you would know exactly what it is that we’re trying to do here. We’re trying to get these questions out there and get them answered. I always say at the end of each show that you need to have questions and if you have questions, you lead answers and it helps you lead to hope. So we are being very question-focused if you want to know more about the way we’re doing this. Or if you have questions for us, please, please send them to us at opiates on Twitter is how you can contact us that way or just email [email protected], go to opiates.com to learn more about Waismann Method. As always, our show features the song Medical by Clean Mind Sounds. The show is produced by Popped Collar Productions, which you can learn more about at poppedcollar.net. Get your podcast off the ground and start it up like we’ve done here. I’ve already used my award-winning catchphrase about asking questions and finding answers. And so for now, I’ll just say that for Dwight Hurst, Clare Waismann and David Livingston, stay curious and we will be with you again real soon. Bye-Bye.
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