What Should You Do After Relapse?

Legacy Healing Center Blog

When Dealing With A Relapse, Alter Your View of Yourself

If you or someone you love has recently relapsed on drugs or alcohol, you are likely experiencing a wide range of emotions.  First, it is imperative to understand that relapse happens.  Relapse does not equate failure, and you should not view yourself as such. The National Institute on Drug Abuse has found that “relapse rates while in recovery are 40-60%,” so you are not alone in your struggles.  This is simply a road bump in a journey to a more fulfilling life. Below are four areas to focus on after a relapse happens.

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Whatever you are feeling whether it is guilt, shame, defeat, etc., use those feelings as motivation to continue forward on your road to recovery.  You are capable and deserving of a life free from the restraints of addiction.  It is important to take time following a relapse to reflect on the event and what lead to the substance use.  Additionally, was this an isolated incidence or have you fallen back into more regular use?  Where their specific triggers that led to your use?  Are you surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals who value sobriety?  Assessing and reflecting on all aspects of your life can help you determine what your next steps should be.

Get Support

Getting the support you need is a crucial step in your success moving forward in your recovery journey.  It may be difficult to admit that you’re struggling but it is important to have people in your life who can support you and hold you accountable.  Support may be an addiction counselor, friends or family, or a sponsor.  Regardless of who you reach out to for support, do so as soon as you are able.  Having this difficult conversation can be humbling and trying, but having the support of someone you trust can make a great difference in your recovery.  Some people find the connections made during AA meetings to be very beneficial.  Is there a supportive group you’ve been a part of in the past that has helped?  Reach out to those people and let them know you are struggling.  There is NO shame in asking for help when you need it.

Go Back to Treatment

The road to recovery is a long and challenging one, undoubtedly filled with challenges and uncertainty.  Many times, relapse is an indication that you need more support from your treatment.  Deciding to go back to a treatment program can feel daunting and scary, but it can significantly increase your chances of success.  If possible, do not view going back to a treatment as a failure, but as a chance to improve coping skills and learn new ways to remain sober.  Remember when you learned to ride a bike?  You likely fell down time and time again, but that did not deter you from continuing to try.  Recovery is much like learning to ride a bike, view treatment programs as the training wheels of your life.  They are there to support you and help you grow.  Use the support you have called upon to help decide what level of treatment you need to be successful.

Make Changes and Forgive Yourself

As stated before, your relapse does not define you or your path to recovery.  Use this experience as a learning opportunity and a chance to grow.  Use this time to reflect on what led up to the relapse and identify areas in your life where you need more support.  Perhaps you need a more intensive treatment program or a more involved sponsor.  Be honest with yourself and those around you about what you need to succeed.  The American Addiction Centers recommends a three-phase approach:

  1. Acknowledge the relapse.
  2. Identify necessary changes and implement them.
  3. Let go of negative emotions surrounding the mistake.

In the meantime, use this time to develop healthy habits such as getting enough sleep, eating a well-balanced diet, and using your support system.

How Legacy Healing Center Can Help

The holistic healing methods and supportive community found at Legacy Healing Center can help you on your way to recovery. Our programs and staff have set the bar for behavioral health care. The tools you learn and resources available will set you up for success in your recovery. To learn more or to speak with a treatment specialist, contact us today by calling (888) 534-2295.