Relapse can feel defeating but it is not the end of the world. It does not matter when it happened or how it occurred, the best thing to do in such a situation is to get back up and move forward. Recovery following relapse can lead to important self discoveries if some action steps are taken to avoid relapse again in the future.
When relapse occurs, it helps to focus on some actionable steps a person must take to start over. Try the following steps to get started:
Accept relapse happened
A common problem for people who relapse is to stubbornly refuse to accept reality. A person who wants to blame others is less likely to stay sober long term than a person who accepts responsibility and seeks to avoid relapse in the future. Mistakes happen, it is OK to accept this without putting too much blame on oneself. A sober, healthy life-style is possible.
Following relapse, the problem may feel compounded if action is not taken immediately. The first step is to get in touch with a 12-step sponsor to update the person on what has happened. As soon as relapse occurs and is realized, the sponsor will likely not be surprised as meeting attendance may have dwindled prior to relapse. It will be hard, but necessary, to make the call and put away any shame to ask for help.
Think about detox
A supervised detox program can help a person get back on track safely and effectively. Medical assessments are available depending on the person’s medical history and evaluation of past use. Many times, effective detox will minimize discomfort of withdrawal while increasing chances of successful recovery.
Family and friends in the close circle will be most affected by news of relapse. A good recovery ‘team’ will notice changes and not be so surprised by the turn of events. Facing family and friends can feel difficult but the team will love you unconditionally even if emotions run high. Accept support from the group to re-embark on the journey to recovery and reassure everyone it is time to get down to business this time around.
Come back stronger
Everyone loves a comeback story with a great success at the end. Recovery is a series of faults and successes, ups and downs. It is not paved with gold and is definitely not an easy road but it is up to the person in recovery from relapse to work towards being stronger this time than last time. It helps to learn what triggered the last relapse so as to avoid it the next time and put boundaries around an individual’s life in order to set up oneself for success in recovery down the road.
Relapse is not the end of a recovery road. It is only the beginning of a fresh start. If you are looking for a fresh start, call the Villa to help you get back on the road to recovery after relapse.