After several years or months of sobriety, many addicts find themselves, once in a while, going back to their old ways. Drug and alcohol relapses are very deflating and may be devastating to a person’s morale. Having feels like losing several years of progress in one instance and may lead to feelings of guilt and regret. However, all is not lost. What you do after the relapse is more important than the relapse itself. It determines whether you make your relapse a stepping stone or a stumbling block.
What to do to make your relapse a stepping stone:
1. Understand That Relapses Are Common
One in every two recovering addicts will relapse at least once in their journey to recovery. Statistics show that 40-60% of addicts under rehabilitation relapse. You are not alone. Contrary to popular belief, many people have several setbacks before they recover fully. In addiction recovery, the number of times you stand up is more important than the number of times you fall.
2. Get Back On the Road to Recovery
Only this time, come up with a different plan. After accepting responsibility, it is essential to make a few changes and improvements moving forward. Moving forward with the same failed plan can lead to a revolving door of relapses that may bring your sobriety to an end. Making minor adjustments on your goals, timelines, interactions, and attitudes goes a long way to reducing the chances of the next relapse.
3. Redefine Your View on Relapse
Always view your relapse as a minor detour on the long road to recovery and not a reroute. Relapse will always be a minor setback and not a major failure. Things will always get better at the end, and if they are not getting better, then rest assured it’s not the end.
4. Reflect On The Causes of Relapse
One of the most critical steps to take in times of relapse is to understand what caused the relapse. Some relapses come unexpected, but most of them are always a long time in coming. Most relapses start even before the drug is consumed. Understanding the mentality, thought processes, feelings, and conditions that caused the relapse is crucial in reducing the chances of the next relapse. Knowing the triggers that cause relapse is vital so that you can flag them and get help the next time.
5. Get Help
It is unhealthy to bear the burden of relapse on your own; its weight can be crashing. Now more than ever, you need to reach out. Speak to someone, maybe from your AA, your patron, or your friends. Surround yourself with positive influences instead of self-medicating with drugs and alcohol. Though the clouds of shame and the feelings of betrayal may be overwhelming, you may need to speak to your loved ones. No matter how devastating your situation is; help will always be a phone call away.
6. Resume Treatment
After a relapse, resuming treatment should be a consideration. Depending on the severity of the relapse, you may have to go back to rehab or an inpatient facility. If you have developed the habit of relapsing frequently, going to a strict treatment program should be a consideration. You can get professional help and advice on how best to move forward.
7. Don’t Be Overconfident
After years or months of sobriety, addicts may start to build confidence, which is positive by all means. Staying sober is not an easy task, and one should be proud of every effort made in that direction. However, most relapses are caused by overconfidence and the mentality that after staying sober for so long, one drink won’t do any harm. Even after years of staying clean, it is crucial to understand that that staying sober is a one day at a time recovery.
8. Develop Healthy Habits
After a relapse, it is crucial to make lifestyle improvements and changes. Make staying fit and exercising a priority. Abide by the rules of HALT, avoid being hungry, angry alone, and tired. Furthermore, avoid places and influence that trigger drugs and alcohol and purpose become closer to your sobriety community.
Dealing with relapse can be a draining task without professional help. Here at First Steps Recovery, we are an Addiction Treatment Center dedicated to holding your hand and providing a shoulder to lean on as you find your way through your relapse. Based in Fresno, California, we have a loving community ready to walk with you through your recovery from addiction.