When a relapse happens, it’s normal to feel like your entire world has been shattered. You may feel angry and ashamed of yourself. You may believe that you’ve let both yourself and your loved ones down, and you’re probably worried that you won’t be able to regain back the trust you worked so hard to build.
Relapse isn’t a failure; instead, it’s a clear warning sign that something isn’t working. The good news? Many people come back from a relapse with even greater strength and resilience. Let’s delve into the essential do’s and don’ts.
Do Talk About It
Ever heard of the phrase, secrets keep you sick? When it comes to addiction, these very secrets can be a matter of life-or-death.
Likewise, holding secrets perpetuates deeply-rooted feelings of shame and anxiety. A relapse can feel humiliating and demoralizing, and it’s common to feel a sense of despair and hopelessness.
However, the more you talk about your experiences, the less you isolate yourself with these tough and distressing emotions. Remember that you’re only human. It’s okay to have setbacks and stumbles along your journey. The more you talk about your feelings, the more you can learn from them. And the more you can learn from your relapse, the less likely you are to repeat the same mistakes!
Do Seek Out Support
Coming back from a relapse sometimes requires a village of support. Remember that you don’t have to figure out your next steps alone. Moreover, you shouldn’t place this enormous pressure on yourself during such a vulnerable and emotional time.
In fact, isolation can be detrimental to your well-being. The supportive people in your life are the ones who can offer you love and guidance without judgment. It could be your family and friends, but it may also include professionals like therapists, doctors, or psychiatrists.
Do Consider Treatment
A relapse can be both physically and emotionally taxing, and treatment can help stabilize and ground you. Treatment provides a sense of structure, support, and safety. You’ll be surrounded by other like-minded individuals who understand your struggles. You’ll also receive more tools and resources to help mitigate the chances for relapse in the future.
Don’t Ignore What’s Happening
In the throes of addiction, the familiar patterns of manipulation, rationalization, and denial can come back with a vengeance. These patterns don’t serve to protect you- they serve to maintain the perils of your using.
As challenging as it may seem, you must recognize the relapse. Take it for face value. It doesn’t mean engaging in harmful self-loathing. However, it does mean that you practice accountability and ownership over your actions.
Don’t Stay A Victim
It’s easy to feel down on yourself after a relapse. Unfortunately, depressing pity parties often reinforce the continued desire to use.
The sooner you can accept what happened, the sooner you can create a viable plan of action for your recovery. Acceptance doesn’t mean you like what happened. Instead, it means that you have acknowledged what happened, and you are no longer choosing to let it have excess power over you.
Don’t Let It Define Your Worth
Any period of recovery is one worth recognizing and celebrating. A relapse doesn’t mean you’ve lost the insight and knowledge that you’ve acquired.
Addiction is a chronic, medical disease, and relapse can absolutely be a part of the recovery process. Your struggles are not your identity. You are not a sum of your perceived mistakes. Most of all, your relapse does not make you a bad person.
Coming back from a relapse often requires patience, integrity, and willingness. It’s not about taking shortcuts! It’s about recognizing your patterns and actions and making a conscious decision to keep moving forward.
You deserve the road toward healing. A relapse doesn’t need to be the end of your recovery story. It can be a starting point for something beautiful and new.