Gambler Therapy: Is Relapse Really a Failure?
When people relapse they often feel like they are failures. Twelve step programs stress the importance of being totally abstinent from Gambling. So a relapse in the twelve step community means that the person now has to start all over again. Many times the person who relapses picks up a one day chip showing their renewed commitment to remaining gamble free.
Now if someone relapses and goes back into full blown addiction then the story might be quite different. Further treatment might likely be necessary. But to turn our back on either really isn’t what recovery is all about. Whatever the case may be I once heard someone say the following, “you are not a failure until you give up!” What a profound statement and it gives one a message of hope. I am certainly not saying that relapse is okay because in so many cases it can lead to death and so many other serious problems. This is why I understand any type of gambler therapy would definitely promote total abstinence as the way to go.
But relapse is certainly not the end of the world if it happens. As long as the person tries to live on the straight and narrow then that alone is progress. It might be discouraging or disappointing for the addict. It also can be very concerning for their loved ones. But as long as there is honest communication about this and continued support then it is more likely that the person will live a successful life.
One recent article discusses the dangers of calling a relapse a total failure. The article also encourages readers to keep an open mind about the progress of the individual rather than focusing on all of the gloom and doom of a relapse. This is the time when the person truly needs all the love and support a family or friend can offer. If we can look at recovery in this way then maybe we will have more success stories to focus on!