Relapse is a real possibility. Getting sober is not as hard as staying sober. To pursue recovery, one has to put in protective measures against relapse. This requires a daily focus on recovery such as meetings, support groups, counseling and other activities that compete with use/using behaviors.
Relapse can take different forms: some relapses (or “lapses”) are short. The person scares themselves after one or several episodes of use and then climbs quickly back onto the beam of early recovery. In other relapses, the episode of use (re)opens the floodgates to further use and the desire for sobriety ends for the time being.
Relapsing is the trial and error of recovery. Patience and understanding are needed.