You have been dry for so long now, that you said to yourself, one drink will not matter. That one drink leads to another and then another and soon you found yourself waking up with barely any memory of what happened. Sound familiar? In short—you relapsed.
Relapse is when someone returns to their previous form of addiction after a period of sobriety or “being clean.” Relapsing is so common among recovering addicts that some professionals even consider it another part of the recovery process. What most people do not understand is that addiction is truly a pervasive disease and like any other disease, it requires consistent focus and intervention to recover from. That’s why recovery is considered a lifelong journey of many small daily steps versus a large one-time fix-it and forget-it solution.
The dangerous part of relapsing are the feelings of blame, shame, and guilt that usually come after participating in the addictive act again. These feelings can lead you to get depressed and think all is lost when really there are many steps that you can take to get yourself back on track as well as minimize any similar situations in the future.
First and foremost, if you just relapsed, do not delay in taking accountability and action. Waiting for even a couple of days will just make things worse for you and for those who love and support you. It may even prolong the relapse which just makes getting back to recovery a longer and more painful process than it has to be. Admit to yourself you have had a temporary setback and contact your sponsor or mentor right away. Also, let your family and friends know you need their continued encouragement. There is great self-power gained in taking responsibility for your actions and hearing the words of love and support from those you care about and respect will only motivate you.
Next, take the time to understand that relapse is most likely to happen during times of stress, or when you are around the very triggers that you associated with the fun people, places and times that came with your addiction. If you can accept this, you will understand that in order to become the better you, you will have to dig deep to recognize those cues, make appropriate changes to avoid them in the future and build the necessary skills to deal with stressors in your life going forward. Only then, can you start to look at your relapse as an experience that provided you with the knowledge and growth you really needed to move forward.
Last but not least, rely on your sober network to not only help you through this moment but any future times when you find yourself wanting to slip. If you are still new to being sober or do not have a strong sober network built, start to do so immediately. Though recovery is a deeply personal experience, you are not alone in the journey. There are many people who are on the same road as you and even more that have been where you are. These connections will not only give you strength but will also remind you that an active sober life is reachable and can be fulfilling.
If you or a loved one has been dealing with an addiction of any nature or if you need help getting through to an addict, contact us today. We can provide you with quality treatment for drug and alcohol addiction. Don’t wait. Call now.