Is relapse a part of recovery? The answer to this question is – absolutely, relapse is a part of recovery, and also – absolutely relapse is not a part of recovery. How can it be both you ask? The term relapse implies a disease exists in regards to addiction, when in fact, no disease actually exists. However, should you be a believer in the disease mythology, then relapse is an expected part of your recovery from said disease. In contrast, if you are not a believer in the disease of addiction myth, then both relapse and recovery from addiction are meaningless terms – they literally do not apply to anyone’s habitual use of substances or the reduction of use or abstinence from them.
Let’s pull this apart so you, the reader, can decide which side of the fence you want to be on.
First, a lot of talk goes into the false narrative that if you don’t jump on the “addiction is a disease” bandwagon, then you are a compassionless monster who is saying the addict or alcoholic is just a “bad person.” This narrative is a fascist method used to guilt people into believing in the disease nonsense. Simply put, if you don’t become a disease proponent, you are a monster. Somewhere along the road of convincing the masses that addiction is a disease, the treatment-centered propagandists pushed this false dichotomy: you are either a compassionate disease proponent, or you are a judgmental, compassionless person who views all substance users as bad people who destroy themselves and the lives of those around them. This narrative has been repeated so much, that to be a person who does not view addiction as a disease, you are maligned and put into this ill-fitting box. Unfortunately, this type of fascist propaganda is a distraction to the real argument that needs to be made, which is – is the disease of addiction real and therefore is relapse or recovery real?
Is it compassionate to brand a perfectly healthy person with the label of being a cancer victim? Can anyone really say that doing such a thing would be a model of compassion? Of course not! Basically, to do such a thing would be ridiculous, and if pushed, would be seen as unethical and even illegal in the medical field. In this same vein, is labeling a perfectly normal person (who happens to have some destructive habits), with a lifelong diagnosis of substance use disorder, somehow ethical, useful or even helpful? I cannot see any way in which saddling someone with a false, incurable disease in the name of helping them, is ethical or productive. This of course assumes you believe the truth; that is, that addiction is not a disease.
So we see once again that we are dealing with the debate on whether addiction is a disease or not, and that the rest of what surrounds this argument, such as the guilt shaming described above, is just a distraction used to make sure people do not ask that simple question. Don’t be someone who stops asking questions because the treatment industry shames you when you ask. You are not compassionless because you question the disease of addiction mythology. Rather, you are a critical thinker that is asking the right question! The Freedom Model for Addictions addresses every different angle being used today to attempt to legitimize the disease myth, and exposes those myths directly. Suffice it to say, the disease model is outright bunk! Once you read the book, and you are provided ammo that refutes it, you can then easily see that relapse is not a part of recovery, because there is nothing to recover from – there are just choices to be made in regards to habits we choose for ourselves. For those who live in the mythical world of false disease beliefs, relapse will be a part of your battle with addiction. For those who leave the myths behind, and learn the truth, you will never relapse nor will you need perpetual recovery because you will be free to choose your path and your preferences. There will be no battle, there will simply be conscious choices to be made – will you choose heavy use, will you moderate, or will you abstain? The choice is yours and always has been.