You thought you had successfully beaten addiction, but then you had a relapse. While you may feel alone, you’re not. In fact, research reveals that it’s common for relapse to occur in the first 12 months of recovery.
What To Do After A Relapse
Despite being common, relapses occur less as you continue in sobriety. It’s up to you to get yourself back on track, and you should act immediately.
The first step you must take is accepting responsibility. According to Hamrah.co, We may feel resentment towards others preventing our relapse, but ultimately, that is giving up our self-control to others. Take full responsibility for this setback, so you can begin processing your emotions and moving forward.
Communicating With Loved Ones For Support
Your next step is to connect and communicate with people you trust about your addiction. That means re-attending your support groups or adding more meetings, as well as contacting your sponsor.
You also need to talk to your family and loved ones. If they have noticed your relapse, they are likely concerned about your chances of staying sober. This is a good time to speak with them openly. Don’t assign blame. Instead, let them know that you accept responsibility. Tell them that relapse is common and that you are creating a plan to prevent it in the future.
This can hit your spouse the hardest. Learn how you and your partner can work together while you are recovering, and even improve your marriage, in this post from Very Well Mind.
Adjusting Your Sobriety Strategy
What else can you add to your sobriety strategy to avoid relapse? For example, hobbies are a great way to alleviate boredom, which has been linked to relapse. Find something interesting and new to add to your life.
Healthy eating and exercise are also great ways to contribute to your recovery. A balanced diet and drinking several glasses of filtered water per day can go a long way to helping detox your body. And a regular fitness regime can flood your body with endorphins, providing a natural high to help you avoid temptation. Ask your doctor about the right diet and exercise for your body and health.
Here are seven more tips from Psych Central to help you recover from your relapse.
Seeking Professional Help And Support – Again
Even if you have stopped seeking professional counseling, this is a good time to get started again, or to commit more fully by attending sessions more often. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, behavioral treatments such as counseling can help you cope with or avoid the triggers that lead to relapse.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy, in fact, has a specific treatment called Relapse Prevention Therapy. National Psychologist defines the strategies used in this therapy:
- You’ll train in coping skills that can help you deal with high-risk situations, urges, cravings and more.
- Cognitive therapy, which teaches you to reframe this as a learning experience so you can handle setbacks as you continue to make progress.
- Lifestyle modifications such as meditation and exercise.
You may want to seek out a counselor that provides this type of therapy.
Self-Forgiveness: Your Key To Moving Forward
It won’t be easy; substance abuse already comes with feelings of guilt and low self-esteem. In spite of that, the best thing you can do is to forgive yourself. Recovery.org recommends you take some of these actions to move forward:
- Discard any unrealistic expectations you’ve made for yourself replace them with healthy affirmations, like “No one is perfect and that’s OK.”
- If you did something improper during your relapse, try making amends by apologizing to anyone you offended.
- What did you do right? Anytime you resist a trigger or taken a positive step forward, write it down so you can see your progress.
Relapse is a challenge for most people in recovery. Create a plan to help you get past it and continue on the road to sobriety.
This blog was guest-written by Adam Cook from AddictionHub.org. Adam started AddictionHub.org after losing a friend to substance abuse and suicide. He is interested in helping people find the necessary resources to save their lives from addiction. AddictionHub.org locates and catalogs such resources.