If you just went through an addiction relapse, chances are you are beating yourself up. When you relapse, you are bound to feel a deep sense of shame, guilt, regret, and self-loathing. After all of your hard work to get sober, you might be thinking “how did I let this happen?!”
Well, relapse is an unfortunate part of recovery that many people have to go through. The scary part is that many people who relapse are at risk of overdosing and dying because their body has a lower tolerance for drugs or alcohol. However, if you just relapsed and are reading this, that didn’t happen to you.
Your future depends on how you handle your addiction relapse. You can choose to feed into the negative self-talk and cravings and continue to use or drink, throwing your recovery into the garbage. Or, you can take this situation as a learning opportunity and move forward with dignity. Here are some tips to get you there.
The Best Things To Do After an Addiction Relapse
Get Help. It is essential to remove yourself from the situation in which drugs or alcohol are involved and get help. This might be in the form of speaking to a trusted friend or family member or going back to rehab or therapy. You need to be honest with yourself in deciding what level of help you need and making sure you get it asap.
Understand why you relapsed. Knowing this will help you prevent a relapse in the future. Did you start hanging out with the wrong people? Did you go through an emotional event that caused you to use or drink? Or, maybe you thought you could get high or drunk just once? Whatever happened, recognize it for what it is so that it doesn’t happen again.
Build a better support system for the future. The people you surround yourself with in recovery have a huge impact on your ability to stay sober. Maybe you weren’t surrounded by enough of the right people! Make sure to look into sober activities you can join, and maybe go to more 12-step meetings. There, you will be able to find a sponsor and make sober friends who you can call in case you ever feel like relapsing again. Just one phone call and talking things out can prevent you from a relapse.
Stay positive and focused on the future. After an addiction relapse, many people tend to dwell on it and beat themselves up. The anxiety and depression about the situation builds and builds and sometimes people think the only way they can escape it is by using or drinking more. If you find yourself in that position, stop! There is absolutely nothing you can do about things that happened in the past, and the only thing you can influence is your future. So, start focusing on what you can do to be your best self today, one step at a time, one day at a time.
Recognize the signs of relapse to prevent this from happening again. Relapse actually happens in three stages. Stage one, you are going through some emotions and thoughts and unintentionally letting your guard down. You may have gone through a breakup, or you simply aren’t as focused on your recovery. Step two, you are entertaining the thought of using or drinking. You may be seriously craving something, or calling the people you used to abuse drugs or alcohol with. It is essential to stop things before they get to stage three. In stage three, you physically ingest the substance and you are in a full-blown relapse. Learn to recognize stages one and two in yourself so that you never have to start over again!
Addiction relapse is never fun, but it doesn’t mean you failed or that you’ll never get sober. It is all about looking towards the future positively, learning from your mistakes, and taking measures to make sure relapse doesn’t happen again.