It is common for those who are struggling with addiction to make attempts at recovery only to relapse. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism indicates that there is significant evidence to support that almost 90% of alcoholics will relapse sometime during four years after treatment. Some may think that relapsing is an unavoidable occurrence but the truth is that relapse is something that can be avoided. 

If you understand the process of relapse, you may be able to recognize the signs and symptoms and get the help you need before you get back into those unhealthy habits. There are generally 10 stages of relapse that any recovering addict should familiarize themselves with to better equip themselves for success after a treatment program

Stage One: Denial

After completing rehab you may feel like you are cured, but triggers and environmental stress factors can act as a means to throw you back into your addiction. When you have an internal feeling of uneasiness, you’re concerned about your decisions and your health, or if others are voicing concerns it is common during the early stages to shrug these red flags off. You may believe that they aren’t indicative of an impending problem, and deny the instincts that are trying to warn you of danger.

Stage 2: Avoidance and Defensiveness

As you convince yourself that you are fine regardless of the red flags, you will try to reduce any attention on you and your situation. You will be defensive in response to anyone who engages you about your behavior and experiences. And you will begin to retreat from others so that you don’t have to be confronted with reality.

Stage 3: Inconsistencies

As you become consumed with your behaviors and fears of returning to addiction become overwhelming. Mild depression and chronic negative feelings can develop. As they do, you will be inconsistent with your behavior and often miss group activities, or just fail to make plans altogether.

Stage Four: Immobilization

The negative feelings lead to pessimism. You begin lacking the confidence to stay sober and happy, and so you retreat from engaging in activities and acts that will keep you sober. You believe you have no hope. 

Stage Five: Confusion

You become hostile, volatile, moody over everyday situations, and you may even have moments where you are overly confused.

Stage Six: Depression

As the feelings intensify, your negative feelings and depression worsen and daily activities are affected, such as eating, sleeping, and interest in life.

Stage 7: Behavior Spiralling

You become resistant to outside assistance and you reject support. The feeling of helplessness overcomes you and you simply disconnect from your life.

Stage 8: Self-Pity

As you believe you have no hope you were losing your ability to hold on to willpower and control. You believe that nothing you do will have repercussions and any self-esteem you have is lost.

Stage Nine: Anger

As the loneliness, depression, and stress increase you will feel resentful about everything you are experiencing and lose all control.

Stage Ten: Relapse

With everything feeling at an all-time low and having secluded yourself so much you are broken down. You convince yourself that you cannot be helped and you give in to temptation and fall back into a relapse episode. Guilt and shame ensue, but unless you seek help you will continue to use.

Help Before Relapse

Stages Of Relapse DefinedThe medical detox and addiction treatment center alternative at Discovery Place can help you with your long-term success. Our center alternative is ideally set in the beautiful rolling hills of Tennessee for a soothing environment to support your recovery.

Discovery Place’s Tennessee addiction treatment center alternative is here to help you with your journey to sobriety. Our Tennessee detox treatment center alternative’s support team is available to talk with you 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-725-0922.


  • Discovery Place was the answer for my son. He did the 90 day and then the step down program and sober living. We give this organization 10 stars. They met my son where he was …emotionally, mentally, physically. They helped him put his life back on track. Discovery Place employees care about their guests. If your son, brother, nephew, grandson or husband needs excellent supportive care THIS is indeed the facility.

    Kim Morton
    Alumni Parent
  • I have remained sober and it is because of DP. DP is the best place there is, hands down. I keep everyone there in my prayers, and I encourage everyone there to take what they are practicing and do it in their lives, after.

    Roy Mantelli
  • Over the past year, I’ve been putting into actin what Discovery Place taught me, and I have experienced a complete perspective change of the world, and the people in it. I get to be a man of service and love today, and for that I am grateful to Discovery Place.

    Matt Kassay
  • Discovery Place means the world to me. They showed me the tools that I’ve tried to use everyday in my life to think less often of myself, and more frequently of others. I am learning to lend a hand when I am able and to have a honest and humble relationship with God and the people around me. Not only am I clean and sober, but also I am happy and fulfilled.

    Tommy Parker
  • Discovery Place and the men who work there made recovery attractive, and more importantly, fun. There is strength in the struggle. I am forever grateful for my time at Discovery Place.

    Creed McClellan
  • When I got to Discovery Place my whole life was in shambles, but I didn’t know it. I spent 6 months in their programs, participating in all three phases, and was met with kindness and love all along the way. It is unbelievable to me, where I am now relative to where I was when I arrived at DP.

    Lance Duke
  • I can never say enough good things about Discovery Place and the people who work there. Before checking in to DP, I was out of options and out of answers. Fortunately, Discovery Place has a solution. Taking suggestions from the staff at DP saved my life, and as a result, I’m now more content and hopeful about life. I’m grateful for Discovery Place showing me how to live a healthy life so that I can become a better man and help the next guy.”

    Tyler Buckingham

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