Kicking a drug habit can be very hard, and those who manage to do so will have to spend much of their life maintaining their sobriety. The risk of relapse is always going to be present for recovering addicts, but many get to the point where they become complacent in their recovery, which can be very dangerous.

Many things can cause a relapse, and even those who seem quite stable in their recovery could be in danger of having a slip-up if they are not extremely vigilant and careful about temptations and triggers.

The Dangers of a Slip-Up

A slip-up can be extremely perilous for some recovering addicts as it can put them at risk of overdose. Abstaining from some drugs can dramatically decrease the person’s tolerance for the substance. This means that should the individual decide to use again, he or she would risk an overdose by taking the same amount of the drug that they were taking before getting sober.

Many recovering addicts fail to realise that their body can no longer handle the same amount of drugs that it used to, and this can lead to a fatal overdose. This is what appears to have happened to Gary Cattanach from Dundee.

His family said they had been left in limbo after he was found dead at his home on June 16th (2016).


Cattanach had recovered from a drug addiction and was trying to help others overcome their addictions by sharing his experiences. However, the results of the toxicology report on his body showed both methadone and gabapentin present, which it is believed could have caused a seizure or heart arrhythmia.

His mother Maureen said, I wasn’t expecting him to have methadone in his system, he must have had a slip. They said that it could have been a seizure or heart arrhythmia, but they couldn’t say for sure. There are still some unanswered questions, but I don’t think I will get the answers. He was doing so well; maybe he had a bad weekend or something like that. I just can’t get my head around it because he was doing so well. People have slips and maybe he had his.

Maureen said that she thinks her son’s body was not able to handle the drugs because he had been sober for a long time. However, she is glad that he did not suffer.

Maintaining Sobriety

Maureen wants Gary’s story to help other recovering addicts stay vigilant to the dangers of relapse and is encouraging them to use the services available to them to make sure they do not have a slip-up. She added, There is always hope, don’t give up, there are people that care and will help you. Okay, there may be a slip, but there is hope for everyone. Gary might have had a slip, but I am glad that he managed to do so many positive things before.


After Gary’s death, speculation in Dundee was rife that he could have been abusing Valium. The family said that there was a black mark against his name as many thought he had taken fake Valium, which had been linked to a number of other deaths in the city.

Gary’s sister Wendy said, He will always be remembered, and he will always be missed. I was glad when the report came back because now I know that he just fell asleep and wasn’t in pain. He would have wanted us to remember him the way he was and I was gutted that his memory was sullied with people speculating that it was down to Valium.


  1. Family finds closure after Gary Cattanach death report (Evening Telegraph)