There’s no such thing as a flawless recovery and seldom does a person accomplish perfect sobriety with ease. The process of getting clean from drugs and alcohol is just that, a process. The transition won’t happen overnight and it won’t happen alone.

Relapse, job loss, the death of a loved one, broken relationships, life stress, financial difficulties and more can all impact our recovery. With the right treatment, recovery is much more attainable, but there are bound to be challenges on your path.

Relapse as part of the journey

Some schools of thought in addiction science posit that relapse is an essential part of the journey, adding fuel to the desire to get clean. While relapse is not inevitable and many people are able to achieve long-term sobriety without a single instance of relapse, it is a harsh reality that affects many who struggle with addiction.

In fact, many of those struggling with addiction will experience relapse one or multiple times. Between 40 and 60 percent of patients recovering from substance use will relapse according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Relapse is not a sign that treatment has been ineffective, just a sign that the addiction still has a large amount of control over someone’s life. If anything, relapse should be an indication that treatment is more important than ever. Most substance use programs place a large focus on relapse prevention, giving you the best shot at success.

Relapse isn’t the only potential setback in recovery, either. There are many losses that could affect your recovery even if you don’t turn back to substances. The irritability that comes with withdrawal could drive you to fight with a family member. Your anxiety could result in being fired from a job, or you could experiment with other harmful ways of coping. Regardless of the failures that occur on your road to recovery, these experiences can provide meaning and hope for the future.

Here are three benefits to experiencing failure on your journey.

1. You’ll grow through your mistakes

Everyone has experienced failure at some point in life, it’s part of the human condition. While failure is inevitable, it isn’t a permanent condition. Every error is an opportunity for change and a chance to decrease the likelihood of failure in the future. We have the potential to turn our mistakes into lessons if we remember to apply what we’ve learned.

The trick to overcoming failure is our mindset. When we are able to view errors with the perspective that we are able to grow from them, we can become stronger and more capable people, and even use our past to help others with their presence.

2. You’ll be able to reflect

While bumps in the road might shake us up emotionally, it’s important to remember that these feelings are only temporary. When you break free from an addiction, you’ll be able to start thinking rationally instead of emotionally because your mind isn’t fogged by drugs. When you are able to look at things from a logical perspective, you’ll be able to reflect and make positive changes for the future.

When you reflect on failure, you’ll also be able to notice improvements and make greater strides in the future. Failure gives us a hopeful lens to look through and even connect where mistakes have worked out for our betterment.

3. You’ll be more motivated to stay on the path

Every setback is a chance to recommit to what you’re working towards. When you make a mistake or your circumstances take a crummy turn, you’ll get a reminder of the life you’re trying to leave behind. 

Remember that your past habits resulted in failures and your future is filled with hope when you can say goodbye to those habits. While the old you might dwell in those negative feelings, the new you is tough and motivated to work for your future. Difficulties can remind you that the life you’re building is too good to give up.

4. Failure makes us mentally tough

When you’re confronted with your mistakes, you have the chance to become mentally strong, think creatively and grow more resilient. There are countless stories throughout history of men and women who have faced seemingly insurmountable odds and conquered their battles.

The errors in our life fuel us to become tougher. Growing tougher doesn’t mean losing your heart, either. Often the setbacks we face teach us to become more compassionate and sympathetic to others. This kindness is true strength.

Let failure drive you to make a better life for yourself

If you’ve faced challenges in your recovery before, you’re not alone. At Real Recovery, you can find camaraderie and support in your recovery journey. Use your failures to motivate you in treatment and call 855-363-7325 to get started today.