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Welcome to The Hills

A Unique Experience

What Happens If I Relapse?

What Happens If I Relapse?

Many of us lived mundane and pointless lives while in active addiction; from sun up to sun down, each day was dedicated to obtaining and using our drugs, and doing it all over again the next day. By coming to drug rehab, we decided to arrest our harmful habits and unhealthy lifestyles, and change our lives for the better. After thirty, sixty, or ninety days in a drug rehabilitation program, we successfully detoxed from all substances and gained a new, optimistic outlook on our lives. Having found our pink clouds, we expected to move forward in our recovery from drug addiction with ease, but the possibility of slipping back into old thoughts and actions is just a drink or a drug away. Rehab taught us about the dangers of drugs and alcohol and the consequences of our powerlessness to them, so what happens if a relapse occurs?

The first thing that happens in the case of a relapse is we lose our sobriety date. The sobriety clock resets as we lose the clean time we have accrued. We do not, however, lose the education we received from attending a drug treatment program. Using drugs and alcohol used to be fun, but now that we have completed a drug treatment program, attended meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous, and learned about the nature of drug addiction, we know too much, and a head full of A.A. and a belly full of booze cannot comfortably coexist.

The next thing to happen in the case of a relapse is we lose our sense of pride and accomplishment for the hard work we put into getting clean. Others may lose confidence or trust in us and redevelop the fear, anger and sadness they experienced before we came to treatment. In cases of extreme and reckless drug abuse, we experience more loss as our lives take a turn in three different ways: coming in and out of drug rehab programs, we lose our livelihoods and independence by becoming institutionalized; breaking the law and inflicting physical damage to ourselves and others, we lose our freedoms by establishing a criminal record through a series of arrests and jail and prison sentences; and in the worst case scenario, we lose our lives through our excessive drug abuse, leaving behind irreparable emotional damage to those who love us.

Relapse is a great possibility for anyone in recovery who does not put his or her sobriety first. Typical of those who stop attending A.A. meetings, working the steps, or calling the sponsor, relapse is not only likely, it is inevitable. In the 1986 study on drug addiction and relapse entitled Relapse and Recovery In Drug Abuse, research indicated that the relapse rate for those who completed a drug treatment program was 53.6% for heroin, 25.1% for other narcotics, 20.1% for cocaine, and 16.7% for non-narcotic substances. The data provided indicates posttreatment daily use following a relapse during the first year of sobriety.

As alcoholics and addicts, we didn’t need a specific reason to use-we used simply because the sun came up. To the alcoholic mind, anything and everything can be identified as a reason to use again. Physical and emotional triggers play a tremendous role in relapse. Dangerous settings, such as bars or parties, where alcohol and drugs are being used can cause a person new to recovery to relapse; stressful situations such as family feuds or emotionally-charged arguments with a significant other can be a recipe for relapse; high-stress jobs and tasks can be relapse triggers; even feelings of happiness and accomplishment can give us a reason to pick up a drink or a drug in celebration. To the recovering alcoholic or addict, relapse triggers are all people, places and things, and we must be vigilant in recognizing and avoiding these triggers.

In experiencing a relapse, we may need to reenroll in a drug rehabilitation program where we can safely detox from the substances we abuse and receive quality medical attention and psychopharmacological assessments. In the case that detoxification is not necessary, a stay in a drug rehab center can still be beneficial to the alcoholic or addict trying to achieve sobriety.

If you experience a relapse, or are concerned that a relapse may occur, you might consider enrolling in an intensive outpatient program (IOP) where you can address issues surrounding your addiction and recovery in order to prevent a relapse. In addition to an aftercare program, entering a sober living house where a healthy, sober lifestyle is encouraged and fostered can contribute to a stronger foundation in your sobriety and make you accountable to others through regular and random urinalyses, chores, and group meditations.

Relapse is a common occurrence among individuals trying to quit alcohol and drugs, but it does not have to be a part of your recovery.



Our mission at The Hills Treatment Center is to offer a unique combination of educational and therapeutic drug and alcohol rehabilitation. In that spirit we present answers to some frequently asked questions. However, don’t stop here. Our knowledgeable and compassionate admissions specialists are available to speak with you personally 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

How do I know if someone is addicted to drugs or alcohol?
Diseases of drug and alcohol addiction are complex and impactful. We encourage you to speak with your physician, or refer to the symptoms checklists offered by respected agencies in the field of addiction research and treatment like The National Institute on Drug Abuse, or NIDA .
What drug and alcohol treatment choices do you offer?
At The Hills, we offer a wide variety of treatment choices ranging from residential drug and alcohol treatment to intensive outpatient treatment, each applying the latest and best addiction treatment therapies. Plus, at every level there are counseling and support groups from which to select to maximize the process of recovery.
Is detoxification a painful experience?
Not if you’re detoxing from drug or alcohol addiction in a residential setting at The Hills, where you’re given round the clock care and attention every step of the way, safe and secure in a private room with counselors, message therapists, and world class chefs to aide and advise you in comfort.
What if your detox program doesn’t work for my needs?
That’s not possible at The Hills Treatment Center because all of our treatment plans are personalized to specifically support the rehabilitation and recovery of each individual client.
Can I receive treatment for more than one addiction?
Yes. The Hills recognizes that many people suffer from multiple addictions compounded by mental and emotional health issues. Our Dual Diagnosis program addresses all of these compounding issues.
Won’t drug and alcohol treatment put me behind at school?
We understand how important it is to achieve your academic goals, but that will not be possible without addresses the challenges of addiction. Through our Young Adults program we will develop a rehabilitation schedule that allows you to continue your education.
What happens to me after detoxification is complete?
You are not left alone after drug or alcohol detox. We offer a myriad of counseling and educational programs to support your rehabilitation and recovery including Relapse Prevention, Sober Living and Sober Companions, Family Outreach, and New Lease on Life.
Who comprises your staff?
The staff here at The Hills is led by eminent addiction expert, Dr. Howard C. Samuels; columnist, published author, television talk-show guest on the leading edge of drug and alcohol treatment modalities. Our team of experienced professionals and paraprofessionals often know first – hand what drug and alcohol treatment and recovery are all about. Our team is here to assist and support you at all times.


A guide to locating appropriate treatment, entering a rehab and more. Includes questions and answers, and a California Drug Rehab Guide.

• Family Involvement • Specific Drugs • Treatment Facilities • Financial Issues • Before Entering Rehab • After Drug Rehab • California Drug Rehab • Legal Issues

About Dr. Howard Samuels

Howard C. Samuels, PsyD is a leading drug and alcohol addiction expert. He is a licensed therapist with a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology with years of experience running two successful treatment centers, and is the founder of The Hills Treatment Center.

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