What To Do If You Relapse

If you do relapse, it can be a very emotional and painful time for you. You may feel ashamed, or embarrassed, or even angry. You may feel like giving up completely and going back to a life of drinking and drugs. Whatever you are going through, remember there are others just like you in treatment and in recovery groups. Do not be too hard on yourself. These things happen, and you must just pick yourself back up again and start again.

What is a Relapse?

A relapse is a return, even a brief one, to alcohol and/or drugs after being clean and sober for a period of time. From taking too many prescribed meds to a full-on bender, relapses come in many forms. Maybe you have been planning your relapse for weeks or months, or maybe it came on silently and gradually, or maybe it was a snap decision, but no matter why or how you got to the relapse, the great news is you do not have to stay there.

Next Steps after a Relapse

  1. Call Someone

Maybe you call your sponsor, or your counselor from rehab, or your old rehab center. Or perhaps you call an understanding friend or family member. It is important to talk about what happened and break the cycle of dishonesty by talking about your relapse as soon as you can.

  1. Get to a Meeting

One of the first things you need to do if you have a relapse is connected back with your sober support group. Call your sponsor or a trusted friend and get to a meeting immediately. Do not wait until tomorrow or the next day. The pull of addiction is a strong one, and you need to take the power out of your urge by re-entering recovery immediately.

  1. Re-enter Treatment

In some cases, you may need to re-enter a treatment facility to help you beat your addiction. Maybe your physical addiction is back and you need to safely detox, or maybe the time and space away from the drugs and alcohol are what you need for a clearer mind to restart your sobriety. You will want to check with your insurance company or have your treatment center do this to see if you are covered for another stay in treatment.

Do you have to relapse? No. But, if you do, the most important thing is that you get back in recovery as soon as possible. So many people do a lot more physical, emotional, mental and legal harm while out on a relapse then they did before.


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