What Do I Do If I Relapse?

 In Recovery, Relapse, Treatment

It is always there in the back of your mind — doubt. Fear. What if you relapse? Have you failed in your battle over addiction? These are common questions, especially if you have relapsed in the past. However, they should not stop you from living your light to the best of your ability.

Steps To Take Following a Relapse

Relapse is not a sign of failure. It means you need more help. Something in your aftercare plan did not work as expected. Part of what you will do is identify what that was and fix it. Other steps you will take include: 

  • Notify Your Sponsor and Support Network: One of the first things you will do following a relapse is to let those in your support network know about it. The purpose here is not to snitch on yourself but rather to let them know where you are in your recovery and how they can support you. If you end up back in treatment, this is especially important because they might be trying to reach you. You never want to scare your support network by disappearing on them. 
  • Determine If You Need Treatment: Your support network can help with this determination. You may need to seek a professional assessment to determine if a return to treatment is necessary. If it is, remember this is self-care. You are doing what you need to do to take care of yourself. The primary determinant on whether you need treatment is the severity of your relapse. Severity entails the length of time involved, the substances involved, and physical outcomes.
  • Learn From Your Relapse: It is recommended you view every mistake you make as an opportunity to learn. It is how you should approach life if you want a positive experience. What can you learn from your relapse? How did it happen? The most typical reason for relapse is that you did not follow the golden rule in recovery. You did not change “people, places, and things.” Instead, you kept your old friends, visited old haunts, and kept things that reminded you of your using days. All are known triggers to people in addiction recovery. 
  • Initiate Recovery Steps Again: Other steps include making amends to anyone you harmed. Harmed, in this situation, includes violating trust by using substances again. It would help if you did this as soon as possible. Otherwise, you may get stuck in guilt and self-pity. It can be difficult for you to choose to stay in recovery if you do not return to your recovery process immediately. 

These summarized steps provide actions you will take following a relapse. They focus on understanding your addiction relapse, getting you treated, and back on your recovery path. You can then focus on the pain you caused yourself and others.

Emotional Recovery After a Relapse

If you relapse, there is no reason to feel ashamed. By holding yourself accountable as soon as possible, you prevent matters from getting worse. Return to your recovery process as quickly as possible to avoid another relapse. Then you can spend time on your emotional recovery as that can be worse after relapse than during initial healing.

  • Stop Self-Blame: You hold yourself accountable. Leave it at that, or you will not be able to move forward. At this point, guilt will only get in the way of your recovery. It does nobody any good. Do what you have in the past when you first went through treatment and ended self-blame.
  • Manage Stress: Do what you need to keep your stress under control. The need to use increases when you are unable to keep your anxiety under control. You can find things to do to take your mind off whatever is causing you stress.
  • Be Honest: Self-accountability is everything in recovery. You do not have to beat yourself up if you relapse. However, you do have to be honest with yourself, your support network, and treatment staff. Without honesty, you are setting yourself up for another relapse.
  • Allow Yourself To Be Human: We all make mistakes. View relapse as that so you can move forward in your recovery. Just because you are in recovery does not mean you will not slip up now and then. 

These steps can help you avoid another relapse. Spend time on self-care and on thinking about what happened. Do you still want the same things out of life? Take another look at your aftercare plan. Change what is no longer effective. Strengthen what is weak. Make it work for you. Let your light shine through your aftercare plan.

You relapsed. It is the end of your try at sobriety. Or is it? Like everyone else, recovering addicts make mistakes. There is no reason to give up your chance at recovery because of a relapse. You may experience several relapses before you reach long-term sobriety. Suppose you look at your relapse as a mistake that is fixable. In that case, you are in a better frame of mind to continue with your recovery. You might need to return to treatment, but there is no reason to feel shame. Continue to allow your light to expose the darkness of your addiction until it is gone. Mountain Peak Recovery offers individualized and holistic addiction and mental health treatment options in a scenic setting. Our goal is to help you discover your light within so you can see your pathway to lifelong sobriety. If you have relapsed and need to speak to a treatment professional, call us at (801) 824-8829 for assistance.

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