Perhaps because many of us have seen or heard of addicts repeatedly relapsing, there's a misconception that once you relapse, you'll never be able to beat your addiction. It's true addiction is a chronic disorder. And as such, someone who becomes addicted must work hard to stay clean and sober every day for the rest of his life. But one relapse (or even two or three or more) doesn't mean you're doomed. Sometimes when an addict delves into the reasons behind a relapse, it makes him stronger and better able to prevent future slips [source: White].
It's critical that addicts know relapses don't mean it's impossible to become clean. If this is what they believe, some may stop trying. Or this false belief will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. It's also important for addicts to know that while relapses are OK, they're not always part of the process. If they believe a relapse is typical or normal, they might only work half-heartedly at their recovery, basically waiting for an opportunity to relapse and get it over with [sources: Alcohol Rehab, Carise].