If you’ve recently experienced relapse along the journey to recovery, you may be experiencing a lot of fear and guilt.
What should you do now? Is recovery even possible for you? Will you ever win this battle? How do you get back on track and recommit to a life of sobriety? Do you need to return to rehab or can you pursue recovery at home?
Pause and take a deep breath. You are not the first person to suffer a relapse in addiction, and this does not need to mark the end of your recovery journey.
Use these 5 questions to help you reassess where you are today and regain control of your life and sobriety.
What sparked the relapse?
First, start by asking yourself what led you to return to drug or alcohol use. Was it an unhealthy relationship? A powerful emotion? A tempting environment? Once you understand the triggers that lead you to substance abuse, you can take proactive steps to avoid those situations in the future.
If you relapse after completing treatment, your treatment may have addressed the symptoms of your addiction rather than the roots. Your addiction may be rooted in an undiagnosed mental disorder (such as anxiety or depression) or a childhood trauma. In this case, it’s important that you complete a treatment program that diagnoses and treats the underlying cause of your addiction.
At Hawaiian Island Recovery, our therapists rely on dual diagnosis and cognitive behavioral therapy to address the roots of your addiction. Our program equips you with the tools you need to avoid relapse in the future.
How will I handle challenges in the future?
Oftentimes, relapse is a result of stress in the workplace, in your relationships, or at work. If your relapse was in response to a stressful situation, you may not be able to avoid facing that stress again in the future but you can form a plan for a healthy way to respond to those challenges.
Your plan may include practicing yoga, joining a faith community, calling your sponsor, committing to ongoing counseling, or some combination of the above.
With a specific plan for stress management, you will be better equipped to resist future temptation to numb your pain with drugs or alcohol.
Why do I want to be sober?
Take some time to sit down and write down the reasons you want to be sober. Lasting sobriety only happens when you choose to quit for yourself-not because you’re trying to appease friends and family. It’s important, to be honest with yourself about the negative impact that drug or alcohol abuse is having on your life and health.
Do you want to be a better parent? Keep a job? Pursue physical, mental, and emotional health? Reconnect with your personal motivations for pursuing sobriety.
Put the written copy of your reasons for choosing sobriety somewhere that you will see them every day.
Was this a setback or a full-blown relapse?
It’s important to understand the depth of your relapse. A setback is an isolated event. It may happen out of habit in an unhealthy environment or in a moment of weakness. Although you may feel embarrassment or guilt over your setback, you’re still motivated to live a sober life. You haven’t fallen back into a pattern of addiction.
If you’re suffering from a full-blown relapse, you’re likely exhibiting old patterns of abuse and addiction. You may be experiencing symptoms of withdrawal when you attempt to quit.
Be honest with yourself about where you are on your road to recovery.
Do I need to return to therapy?
If your setback was an isolated incident, you may not need to return to inpatient therapy. Left unchecked, a setback can develop into a relapse or addiction, so take this seriously-but don’t hide in shame or carry the burden alone. Doing so will only increase your likelihood of further relapse.
Instead, seek out support from your mentor, sponsor, or support group. Invite others in to provide support and accountability. Remove yourself from situations that trigger drug or alcohol use. Make sobriety your top priority once more.
If you’re exhibiting patterns of addictive behavior, it may be time to return to therapy. Don’t wait for another rock bottom experience before recommitting to your recovery. Acknowledge that you can’t do this alone, and rest assured that there is no shame in returning to therapy. There is always more to learn, and you will likely discover new techniques to avoid relapse for good.
Whatever you decide to do next, act immediately. The sooner you seek the support you need, the sooner you can get back on the path to a healthy recovery and sober life.
There is hope.
If you’ve made it this far in this blog, then you’re capable of getting back on track in your journey to recovery. Taking your relapse seriously is an important first step. Find hope in the knowledge that you are not the first person to suffer from relapse. Many others have experienced this same disappointment and moved on to success-so can you?