Two Top Causes of Relapse
1. Returning to the Same Environment
Having been an addict for over 20 years, and a professional interventionist for 17, I’ve seen and experienced quite a few patterns. One pattern I’ve seen over and again has been around the reasons I, and others, relapse. And there are really just a few major culprits; perhaps the most common one is when—after graduating successfully from treatment—a person returns to his same environment.
After seeing other programs fail miserably in this respect, choosing Narconon can help you avoid this. I am proof of this. The success rate for Narconon graduates is many times higher than other mainstream programs.
One tool for success I learned while at the Narconon program when I was a student back in 2001 was not to return to the same environment where I had been living in Los Angeles.
At first, it may seem like a too-difficult or insurmountable challenge, but you must pick your battles carefully, especially during the first year of recovery, no matter how bullet-proof you may feel upon graduating.
Many people do not appreciate the power an environment can have over a person. If a person is using and drinking at a bar that is down the street from where he lives and he moves back to that same location, not only will driving or walking by the bar re-stimulate his memories of drinking, but so will the street signs, the adjacent buildings, his old apartment, even the local grocery store where perhaps he would buy food after getting drunk. Being around these things can greatly lessen a person’s chances of success. So, take it from a Narconon graduate, success rates are not the responsibility of the program by any measure, they are also the result of the student making sensible decisions after he graduates.
It’s a common trap that a newly-minted program graduate and his family can fall into; the person graduates successfully, in terrific shape, arguably the best shape he’s been in in years. His family is elated. They decide to reward him, or perhaps they incentivized him to go in the first place by agreeing to help him by financing his own apartment—to live on his own. Usually, this takes the form of, “We’ll agree to pay your first and last month’s rent, but then you’re on your own.” The program graduate, confident he can do exactly that, may even insist that he deserves such a new start.
As enticing as this may be for both graduate and family, it is often the paving on the road to tragedy. There are two basic reasons for this: first, as responsible for his life as he may have become during the program, to immediately interrupt that by offering to take responsibility for his life for him, you slightly destroy the reason he went to the program in the first place, which is to become responsible. Second, a fresh program graduate should not isolate himself or live alone in my experience.
It’s not so much a question that he needs to be policed, but it is a question of added accountability, especially during the first year of recovery which is critical to long-term success. Living with others is a good idea, living with several others who are clean and sober is a better idea, and living with several others who are working with purpose, perhaps at a treatment program or other on-purpose position is the best environment by far.
Jobs that are isolating, like working the graveyard at a tire factory, or mowing lawns, or simply working alone can be another form of isolation, and this can lead to introversion, where the person is continually looking inward, which is not a good condition for someone who is fresh out of a program.
The first year is the most critical, so whether it is under protest or not, I strongly suggest you take the more uphill road, the more difficult road and do things like making sure he does not isolate, which can ensure your loved one’s success.