Recovery After Relapse

Unfortunately, relapse for individuals in recovery from drugs and alcohol is not uncommon.

Tips on Recovery After Relapse for Better Life

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Whether you’ve completed a recovery treatment program, stopped drinking for Dry January, abstained from substances as the result of a New Year’s resolution, or have had a long time of sobriety, you’ve been clean and sober, and that’s wonderful. And then comes the first three-day weekend of the year and your friends want you to go out to dinner on Friday night. In the past, you’ve looked forward to occasions like this, but not this time. You agree to go but are then encouraged to have “one drink”, “one drink won’t kill you”, you succumb to peer pressure, but one drink turns into ten, and before you know it, it’s the following day, and you’ve experienced a blackout. Even one drink is considered a relapse for someone recovering from an alcohol use disorder.

As a result of this relapse, you’re left feeling hungover, guilty, ashamed, and defeated. In 12 hours, you went from feeling in complete control over your addiction to being at the mercy of it. Don’t be too hard on yourself, and relapse is a prevalent part of the recovery process. According to the American Addiction Centers, “researchers estimate that more than 2/3 of individuals in recovery relapse within weeks to months of beginning addiction treatment”, so you are not alone. Many individuals in recovery have several relapses before entering long-term recovery. A setback in your recovery can be disappointing, but following these tips can help you get back on track.

1. Be Kind to Yourself: 

After an addiction relapse, feelings of shame, guilt, and stress come back strong. Be self-aware. You know these feelings are coming, so prepare yourself to use them as motivation rather than negative self-talk. Being negative towards yourself or your progress will only cause self-sabotage.

2. Support Groups:

While you may feel embarrassed or ashamed to return to your support group since your sobriety start date has only begun again, don’t shy away from the support you need to recover. If you are not ready to return to a 12 step meeting, reach out to your sponsor, addiction counselor, or close friend. It’s important to let your support group know that you struggle to maintain sobriety to get the help you need to re-enter recovery.

3. Be Honest with Your Family:

Reaching out to family members that have been ecstatic about your recovery is always a challenging task, but being upfront with them about your setback will only provide additional support and help you maintain a clean slate. A lot of lying occurs during active addiction to hide the substance use disorder; keeping them in the loop will also provide some accountability.

4. Head Back to Treatment:

If you feel that you can not get back on the recovery track alone, returning to your treatment facility might be the best option. Depending on the gravity of your relapse, you may want to attend treatment for detox, counseling services, or inpatient treatment. Addiction treatment can also help you create a coping strategy for future social situations and reduce your risk of relapse.

Instead of think of your relapse as a failure, think of it as one step backward that will propel you forward. If you’ve relapsed and you’re planning on abstaining from drugs and alcohol to re-enter recovery, you’re already doing great! You’ve learned that “one drink” will kill your recovery, and you don’t like how that feels. While relapse occurs and is common during recovery, you don’t want to allow it to become a repetitive pattern. This time your relapse consisted of only one night of drinking and one blackout, but next time you might not be so fortunate. When you commit to abstaining from drugs and alcohol, you are committing to living a clean and sober life all the time, and you need to stick with that mindset to be strong enough to overcome peer pressure.

Starting over is challenging and can feel overwhelming, but you can get back on the road to recovery. If you are unsure of what to do or where to begin, you should reach out to your sponsor or addiction treatment center to get help.

Looking for More Information?

If you’d like to learn more about creating a relapse prevention plan, Avatar Residential Detox Center offers a variety of substance use disorder treatment programs. Contact our 24-hour support at (973)-774-7222 and talk with one of our addiction counselors to learn more about detox, alcohol and drug treatments, mental health services, residential rehab facilities, alcohol addiction center New Jersey, and how to afford addiction treatment. Get back on track with your recovery today.

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