“The high rate of lapse (or relapse) isn’t unique to Alcoholics. People with chronic depression have a relapse rate also at 50-80 percent. High blood pressure patients only have to keep taking their meds—a really simple task compared to staying clear of alcohol—and their rate of non-compliance is as high. Patients with seizure disorders: Same thing. Diabetics? Ditto . . . high rate of relapse/non-compliance. Asthmatics are even worse. Relapse is a part of having a chronic disease. “Bill,” a man I’ve come to appreciate and respect over the years, relapsed four times in 20 months.
A lapse or relapse doesn’t mean the end of your recovery. Your life doesn’t return to the previous chaos just from one lapse or relapse. Recovery is stability, stable psychosocial status to which you can return even after a lapse if you promptly correct it and not let it turn to loss of control. You don’t go all the way back to the start just from a lapse once you begin recovery. That’s the fatalistic thinking that dooms a thousand recoveries a day."
...from Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud: Relapse and the Symptoms of Sobriety, page 22-23.
“Bill,” by the way, relapsed four times, but tried for sobriety a fifth. He is Bill Wilson, who went on to co-found the 12-step giant, Alcoholics Anonymous. This isn't an AA book, but his relapse experience is worth noting.