Are you in recovery for alcohol or drug addiction and recently experienced a relapse? If you, or a loved one, has relapsed in their fight against addiction, it doesn’t have to be an end to recovery. Relapses happen, but now it is important to move on. Make it easier with these tips.
Get Professional Help
Straying from sobriety can take a toll on your mental health. If you aren’t already seeing a professional counselor, consider beginning now. A counselor can walk you through the causes of your addiction and help you get the mental clarity you need. Make it a point to see this professional on a regular basis, and trust them to provide you with the care you need to stay clean. Addiction is often rooted in mental health issues or past trauma, so if you don’t take care of those issues, you may end up relapsing again.
Don’t Avoid Family and Friends
It can be embarrassing to relapse when you’re in recovery. Your first instinct may be to hide your mistake from family and friends, but this will only cause you more stress. Find a way to speak openly with your loved ones and let them know you’re taking steps to get back on track. Write a letter or talk to them in person. But be prepared for their reaction. Group therapy may be helpful. If you’re in a relationship, you may even realize you need some space to reach your goal of sobriety. Know that any anger and sadness are normal reactions and don’t mean that person doesn’t care about you and your well-being.
Be More Aware of Triggers
Chances are, your relapse was caused by a trigger. Whether it was as complex as stress or as simple as a familiar smell, triggers can be a powerful force for your brain. That’s why it’s important to be aware of yours. Find sober ways to relieve stress and take up some hobbies to prevent boredom. If you haven’t already, clean your home, car, and clothing, and neutralize any old odors. Also, be aware of social connections that encourage you to use. If you’re hanging out with people who still drink or use drugs, you’re more likely to relapse.
Know That Everyone Makes Mistakes
Relapse can wreck your self-confidence and happiness. But know that relapses are common in addiction recovery. It doesn’t make you weak or less of a person. Getting past an addiction is a tough path for anyone to walk, and it’s easy to be triggered into using again. Admitting you have a problem and beginning recovery takes real courage, so you should be proud you even got started. You are still strong and worthy of happiness.
Learn to Move On
If you get bogged down in your mistakes, you’ll never feel strong enough to stay sober. A relapse can feel like a huge blunder, but you have to be able to move on. Forgive yourself for any harm you have caused. Take a break from stressful activities in your life. Get into a regular exercise routine, pick up a hobby, get outside, and learn how to stay mindful. Do whatever it takes to get your mind off your mistake and move on.
Make Changes to Your Recovery Plan
When you relapse, it’s a good idea to reassess your recovery. Something that works for others may not be working for you. If you’ve been relying on alternative recovery methods, it may be time to look into more traditional rehabilitation treatments. On the other hand, if you’ve only been working with traditional treatments, it may be time to introduce some complementary options that contribute to recovery, such as art therapy or meditation. Make sure your recovery plan is a comprehensive approach that includes care for your mind, body and soul.
A relapse can be a setback to your recovery, but it doesn’t have to be a permanent one. You can still get the help you need and get back on track to beating your addiction. Stay strong, stay focused, and stay confident that you have what it takes to get clean and healthy again.
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A huge thank you to Constance Ray over at Recovery Well for writing this post!
Check out the Recovery Well website for more resources.