Feeling discouraged after a relapse is completely normal, but it’s important to not wallow. The most important thing you can do for yourself after a relapse is to pick up where you left off in your recovery. Recovery is a journey, and every journey has speed bumps; in recovery, these speed bumps are typically relapses. The good news is that it’s relatively simple to incorporate relapse prevention strategies into your daily life.
After a relapse, you’ll want to get back on track in recovery as soon as you can. To do so, keep a few things in mind.
Face the facts. You’ve relapsed, and you can’t un-do what happened. Stop thinking about the “what if”s, forgive yourself, and move forward. Relapse is not a failure, but a setback. Remind yourself of this as you stand back up.
Your relapse is about you. You may feel like, in relapsing, you’ve disappointed others, but the fact is that your relapse is about you and only you. At the end of the day, no one is watching you that closely. The lives of the people around you go on. This may seem harsh, but it’s a good reminder that your recovery journey is for and about you— and your sobriety.
but you can’t do recovery alone. One mistake that you do not want to make is letting yourself believe that you can do recovery on your own. You need a support network to be successful and to maintain long-term sobriety. A solid support network should include:
- Friends and family
- Your sponsor
- Your counselor/therapist
Don’t be afraid to reach out after a relapse. The people you love and trust want to see you do well. Asking for their support is not a sign of weakness and does not burden them, so don’t allow yourself to feel that way. It’s also important to not isolate yourself, and talking to someone who understands what you are going through— like your sponsor— can help you to feel less alone.
Revisit your treatment plan. In treatment, you should have created a recovery plan with your counselor or therapist. This plan probably included a relapse prevention component. What part(s) of the plan did you not adhere to? What suggestions made in the plan can you incorporate into your life now?
Your plan might include a list of ways to manage dysfunctional thinking or a list of positive activities to turn to when you are feeling down or unmotivated. These things can not only help with relapse prevention, but also can help you to get back on track after a relapse.
Adjust your lifestyle and goals. Lifestyle changes and setting new goals won’t— and shouldn’t— happen over night, but once you’ve had time to face the facts of your relapse, reach out to others, and revisit your treatment plan, implement new habits and routines and set new goals for yourself.
New habits and routines post-relapse might include attending more meetings, maintaining more frequent contact with your sponsor, or taking up a new hobby. Setting new goals can inspire you to keep moving forward and to realize your visions. Make sure you are being realistic, however; when you set a goal, have some sort of achievement plan in place to help you take the right steps.
At Royal Life Centers, we understand the thoughts and emotions that come along with relapse. We are a network of full-service drug and alcohol detox and treatment facilities, and our holistic approach to treatment addresses the roots of substance use disorder to effect lasting changes in the lives of our guests, including giving them the tools they need for relapse prevention.
We treat dependence on alcohol, benzodiazepines, cocaine, methamphetamine, and opioids. Our admissions team is available 24/7 at (877)-RECOVERY to answer any questions you may have about our programs.