Steps to Take After a Relapse

When an adult enters a rehabilitation program for substance abuse, they and their loved ones hope that their treatment will be effective and that they will be able to maintain their sobriety for the rest of their life. However, for a number of reasons, this isn’t always the case.

Addiction recovery is a journey that requires you to make choices each day and fight the urge to turn to drugs and alcohol. However, life happens, and stressors and triggers can overwhelm you to the point of relapse — but that’s okay.

Just because you relapse, it’s not the end of the world. As long as you take the right steps after a relapse, you can get back on track with your sobriety.

Common Signs People May Relapse

Reliving the Days of Substance Use

Recovery teaches you to put the days of using drugs or alcohol behind you. If someone begins fantasizing or romanticizing their past use of substances, they may trigger themselves to want to relive the falsely-positive days when they were using.

Struggling with Mental Illness

If a person’s addiction was related to mental health issues, a proper treatment program will have taught them how to cope with situations that negatively impact their mental health. However, if a person forgoes those coping methods or experiences further trauma, they may return to using drugs or alcohol to numb their feelings.

Distancing Themselves from Support

One of the most important aspects of anyone’s recovery is the support system they surround themselves with. If you start to notice that your loved one has begun pulling away from friends and family who help them stay on the right path, it may be a sign that they are close to relapse.

Experiencing Trauma

Even if someone is doing very well on their recovery journey, if they suddenly experience extreme trauma, the stress may prove to be too much, and they may relapse. This can include stressors related to divorce, an accident, loss of a loved one, or assault, to name a few.

If you know your loved one has recently experienced a traumatic event, do your best to reach out to them and help them cope so they can avoid relapse.

If You Do Relapse

Calm Your Emotions

Upon initially relapsing, you may feel a string of negative emotions, such as guilt, shame, or failure, towards yourself. While it may be difficult, do your best to gather your thoughts and calm your emotions so you can get yourself to a better situation and plan for the next steps to help you get back on track.

Reach Out to Your Support System

Even if you had created distance between yourself and your support system before you relapsed, reach out to them for help now. Whether it be a spouse, friend, sponsor, or otherwise, get in touch with someone who can help you understand the reasons why you relapsed.

Your support system can also help you make arrangements for further treatment or therapies that will help you regain your sobriety and avoid relapsing in the future.

Reflect on Your Situation

Once you get in touch with your support system, take some time to reflect on the reasons why you may have relapsed. Did a traumatic event overwhelm you? Were you in too tempting of an environment to maintain your sobriety? Did you simply not have the proper tools or support to deal with life stressors?

When you are honest with yourself about what may have caused you to relapse, you can make the best decisions for yourself moving forward.

Get Professional Treatment

While you may think that professional addiction treatment will not make a difference if you relapse — especially if you had gotten sober in a treatment facility before — that’s far from the truth.

Don’t let your own fears or doubts keep you from seeking help.

Perhaps you quit drugs or alcohol on your own the first time around or you attended a program that didn’t offer you the best therapies to address your unique struggle. In some cases, you may resist treatment if you feel embarrassed that you relapsed.

Understand that addiction recovery is a lifelong journey, and it’s not always smooth sailing. You will have moments when you stumble, and that may result in a relapse — but that’s alright. The best thing to do if you falter on your journey is to seek additional treatment through a program that best suits your needs.

Commit to Change

Upon beating your addiction, you likely made some changes in your life to help maintain your sobriety. If you relapsed even after those changes, use the advice you receive from therapists and your own self-awareness to determine what other changes you could make to steer clear of drugs or alcohol.

If you had previously cut one or two negative influences out of your life, perhaps consider leaving a few more people in your past if they also didn’t support your sobriety. If you began going to AA or NA meetings once a week, it may be beneficial to going a bit more often. Small changes now can mean fewer chances of relapsing again in the future.

Adult Addiction in North Carolina

Silver Ridge specializes in providing clinically effective addiction treatment for professional adults suffering from substance abuse issues. Our program focuses on the well-being of the whole person by providing a safe place free from the pain of addiction through the encouragement of personal exploration and therapeutic practices.

Contact us today to get the help you need!