After you’ve been through rehab, the possibility of a relapse can be frightening. Triggers and temptations can throw you for a loop, and unexpected events sometimes cause a return to drug abuse or alcohol addiction. Fortunately, a relapse doesn’t mean that treatment has failed. There are ways to get back on track after full drug relapse.
Focus on Sobriety
The first thing to do after a post-rehab relapse is to put the focus back on sobriety. Get rid of any drugs or alcohol in your home to eliminate future backsliding. You might need to enlist a friend to help you rid your environment of anything that could cause another relapse. In addition to reducing temptations, you should also focus on the things that help you live a healthier life. Schedule time to exercise, stock your fridge with healthy foods and spend time out in nature to clear your mind.
Having support from friends and family probably helped you successfully make it through the rehab process in the first place, and this support remains vital for getting past a relapse. Attending 12-step meetings and peer counseling sessions may help you get support while recovering from a relapse. Speaking to others who have successfully navigated sobriety after a relapse lets you know you aren’t alone.
Activate Your Relapse Plan
You should have a plan in place for a potential relapse, and this is the time to put that plan into action. Your relapse plan might include contacting specific people who are prepared to help you get back to sobriety, such as a counselor, friend or support group mentor. It might also include steps such as removing yourself from a situation where drugs and alcohol are present or engaging in meditation, yoga or other self-care practices.
Getting Back Into Recovery After Relapse
If you feel out of control or your relapse continues beyond a single incident, you might need to return to rehab and go through the process of addiction recovery again. The path to recovery is different for everyone, so you might need to talk to a therapist or rehab admissions counselor to determine whether you should return to an inpatient rehab program or try to work through the temporary setback of a relapse in an outpatient setting.
Many people who experience a relapse experience feelings of failure, guilt and self-pity. This can hamper your efforts to get back on track, so make an effort to forgive yourself instead of focusing on negative self-talk. Think of your relapse as a learning opportunity, and spend some time analyzing why you slipped up so you can arrange your life to avoid triggers or temptations in the future. You can also use the relapse as a chance to recommit to becoming sober.