Chronic relapse occurs when an alcoholic or addict has partially recovered, but then constantly falls back into his or her addiction.

What is Chronic Relapse?

Relapse occurs when an alcoholic or addict has partially recovered — usually from a 30 to a 90-day treatment program — but then falls back into his or her addiction.

Almost all chronic relapsers need long-term treatment that will help them transition back into society. (Read “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly” to learn if your loved one has the characteristics of a Burning Tree Ranch client)

The reason is that addiction is a chronic disease. This “falling back into addiction” happens continuously. So much so family members, loved ones, and friends can lose hope that this person will ever recover or find a solution.

Thirty-day treatment for this type of addict or alcoholic usually doesn’t work. Often a chronic relapser will go into treatment for 30 days, leave the facility, and immediately get high or drunk. It’s a cycle many families struggle with and do not understand.

“Why won’t they just stop?” is a common question among family members. Chronic drug addicts and alcoholics could have a great life if they could just stay sober.

“The most common phrase uttered by almost all family members is that their son or daughter has so much potential,” said Jay Staples, a national business representative for Burning Tree Programs. Staples is also an alumnus of Burning Tree Ranch and has been sober for more than 10 years.

“These family members see that everyone who knows their son or daughter talks about what a great person they are, but they just can’t stay away from drugs or alcohol.”

What Are the Common Signs of Chronic Relapse?

While everyone’s addiction and relapse journey are different, there are a few symptoms of chronic relapse that should never be ignored. Some of the most common include:

  • Sobriety is a constant struggle, which makes getting sober seem like a hopeless endeavor
  • Your loved one is a treatment technique pro
  • Your loved one has only chosen to complete a rehabilitation program to appease or please you
  • Your loved one has been through many rounds of treatment but failed to complete rehabilitation in its entirety
  • Your loved one refuses to face underlying issues in their life that make it difficult to recover
  • You as a family member are worn down by multiple relapse experiences and failed expectations

Another important hallmark of chronic relapse is dishonesty. Chronic relapsers are dishonest with themselves, their addiction counselors, and their family members.

Breaking the cycle of chronic relapse may seem impossible for some. But with the right duration of treatment, it is achievable.

Addiction and Alcoholism are Chronic Diseases

Addiction is a chronic disease. You (or your loved one) will experience relapse if you do not continue to treat your addiction.

The American Society of Addiction Medicine states that addiction is a “chronic disease of the brain.” It has similar relapse rates as other chronic illnesses like hypertension and asthma.

The bottom line is that if you are a chronic relapser and you do not continue to treat your addiction, then you will relapse.

What are the Characteristics of a Chronic Relapser?

Numerous Treatment Experiences

Chronically falling back into addiction means that the alcoholic or addict will seek help multiple times with little success of sobriety. To avoid relapses, many clients at Burning Tree Ranch have gone to inpatient treatment, sober living, support groups, drug rehab centers, and sought mental health solutions.

However, the addiction treatment and rehab programs didn’t work and many Burning Tree clients tried them many times.

Family members are worn down & hopeless

Chronic relapsers have gone to treatment so many times, families begin to doubt whether their loved ones will ever stay sober.

They are wrought with worry while their loved one is on their latest bender. They’re also worn down by the exhaustion of their loved ones’ manipulation and lack of honesty.

The baffling thing for families is that their love — and the love the addict has for his or her children or parents — do not have the power to keep them sober.

Treatment technique Pro

The chronic relapser is a charming manipulator who tells his or her listener everything they want to hear. They know how to appear like they “got it this time” only to immediately leave their drug rehab and go on a spree.

See also: Who is a Burning Tree Client to better understand the psyche of an addict: Who is a Burning Tree Client?

Treatment for Chronic Relapsers

Even though Burning Tree Programs promotes three other treatment centers, its flagship substance abuse treatment facility is best for chronic relapsers.

“I have not found any other solution that can help alcoholics and drug addicts with relapse prevention like long term inpatient,” Staples said. “When we find a chronic relapser, we really want to help them find the right solution.”

The National Institute of Drug Abuse states that long term residential treatment provides care “24 hours a day, generally in non-hospital settings” with planned lengths of stay between 6 and 12 months.

Burning Tree Ranch, a long term drug and alcohol treatment center outside of Dallas has more experience than any other treatment center in Texas with long term care. It’s among a small handful of treatment centers in the United States that does true long-term residential treatment.

As a substance abuse treatment facility, Burning Tree Ranch has helped families and chronic relapsers find long term recovery since 1999.

If you or someone you love is struggling with chronic relapse, now is the time to reach out for help. At Burning Tree, you will find knowledgeable and compassionate professionals that structure treatment to fit individual needs, including the identification of co-occurring disorders.

Through accountability and commitment to the 12 Steps, each client will develop the tools to create a sober lifestyle and find lasting recovery. We help chronic relapsers. With the right support, you can experience real and permanent healing. For more information, call us now at (877) 389-0500.

Continued Treatment for Chronic Relapse

The good news is that there are options to help you break the cycle of chronic relapse. The first is long-term rehabilitation. The second is Continuum of Care, which involves enrolment into a transitional home or treatment facility, after rehab.

It’s also important to establish a chronic relapse prevention plan. Before long term rehab is completed, a relapse plan should be outlined. This prevention plan should include the following:

  • An assessment of substance abuse
  • A step-by-step action plan outlining what will happen if a relapse takes place
  • A list of support contacts to reach out to if relapse feels imminent
  • A list of objectives on how to achieve a healthy, sober lifestyle

Burning Tree Ranch is the only program in the country with a transition program designed for chronic relapsers that lasts a year after residential treatment.


Burning Tree Programs – Since 1999

Burning Tree Programs offers long and short-term treatment for adult men and women struggling with addiction. A national leader in long-term treatment, Burning Tree Program’s flagship program, Burning Tree Ranch, offers 8 to 14-month, long-term residential treatment for adult men and women who struggle with chronic relapse.

Call our admissions team for any questions you might have and to determine if you or your loved one is a qualified client for Burning Tree Ranch.

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