why do addicts relapse when things are good

Why Do Addicts Relapse When Things Are Good?

Understanding Addiction

Many people will look at substance abusers or people who have an addiction and do not understand why they relapse back to their substances, especially when things are good. Many people do not realize that withdrawal symptoms and mental health come into play with addictions.

So to help people understand why addicts can relapse easily, this article will talk about the long-term recovery for people who experience substance abuse and why they relapse.

Why is an Addiction so Dangerous?

An addiction does not have to be a drug or an illegal substance. People can get addicted to many things. An addiction can even be almost anything, such as substance abuse, alcohol, food porn and even doom-scrolling on your device.

Some people find comfort in their addiction and know it's bad, but it makes them feel better about their lives. Most addictions do not get the attention they deserve. People who are addicted to them do not get the help they need, which leads to having a lifelong addiction to many things.

Why Do Addicts Relapse When Life is Good?

There can be many reasons why some people have an addiction relapse, so we will list some reasons below why some addicts relapse back to their addictions.

1. Self-Sabotage

Self-sabotage is one of the biggest reasons why addicts relapse when life is going well for them. It sounds counter-productive, but the person may feel like they do not deserve the current good situation and will actively self-sabotage their own life to prove it.

Dealing with a self-sabotage type personality can be draining for the addict, and sometimes they will give up trying to do well. This can lead them back to their easy fix for some way to feel good in life.

2. Stagnant Life

A lot of people who get an addiction often have one as they feel their life is boring, and they want to find something to fill their life. So when life becomes stagnant, and they want to spice up their life, they might go back to their ill ways.

The rush or high people get when they take substances can often give the user a thrill they can not get in their normal life. This can often lead to ex-substance abusers creating a false, romanticized idea of their old lifestyle.

3. Overconfident

Some ex-addicts may feel overconfident about their long-term recovery programs, which can lead to them relapsing. If an addict doesn't stick to their program, they may succumb to the withdrawal symptoms that many have succumbed to.

3. Mental Health

The mental health side of addiction can often be overlooked, as many people only see the substance abuse side. But many people who suffer from mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and other problems will often start using drugs or get an addiction.

How to Spot if Someone is Relapsing

You may think that you can easily see if someone is relapsing back into an addiction, but unless you do know the signs, you may have a difficult time spotting them.

So to help spot if someone is on the verge of relapsing, here are some signs to look out for.

1. Emotional Lashing Out

If someone is on the verge of relapsing, their emotional state may not be great as they are struggling not to go back to their addiction. They will often lash out in anger at people for small little things or have a rollercoaster of emotions as their body is struggling.

They will also hide away as they believe the world is against them and nothing is working for them. During this time, they will often have high levels of anxiety and be under a lot of stress.

2. The Mental Battles

As they are experiencing high levels of anxiety and do not feel as if anything is right, they will then start to romanticize their old life with their addictions. They will feel as if their life was better off with the addiction and it won’t be an issue to take part in their addiction action.

This can be seen as the final stage. You can try and help the ex-addict from fully relapsing, as after this stage, they will turn back to their addiction if they do not get the support.

3. Relapsing Back Into Their Addiction

This is the part when they will proactively go back into their old habits of substance abuse. Often, the addict will feel shame and guilt for relapsing. This may cause them not to feel that they are worthy of getting the help they desperately need.


Hopefully, this article explains why some ex-addicts will relapse when life seems good and how you can spot signs of an upcoming relapse. The most important thing to do if someone is relapsing is to be there for them, offer help and not make them feel ashamed in their struggle.

If you are struggling with an addiction, contact your local addiction center or head to the American Addiction Centers website to seek help.