Relapse is common in people recovering from addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, between 40 and 60 percent of people relapse within a year of receiving treatment for addiction. However, relapse doesn’t mean failure. Many people relapse several times before succeeding in recovery. What matters most is what you do after a relapse.
First, stop digging.
The most important thing after a relapse is to get sober again as soon as possible. Some people feel like they’ve already ruined their recovery so they might as well go all the way. However, that only makes things worse and, on top of that, it’s dangerous. Overdoses are most common after a period of sobriety because you’ve lost your tolerance but still try to use at the levels you were used to. And the longer you continue using, the harder it will be to quit again. If you’ve already built up a tolerance again, you may have do a medical detox to be safe but it’s crucial to get sober as soon as you can.
See where you are.
Not all relapses are the same. Some people just have a few drinks or get drunk once, wake up the next day full of remorse, and want to get sober again. This is often described as more of a slip up than a relapse. You have to start over with your days sober otherwise a slip up just requires you to renew your commitment to recovery. If your relapse was more extensive, perhaps lasting weeks or months, you may need a different approach. You may need to change your recovery plan, change your circumstances, or consider going into treatment again.
Figure out what went wrong.
A relapse can be a valuable source of information about what can go wrong in recovery. Relapses typically follow a progression–emotional relapse, mental relapse, then physical relapse. The earlier you interrupt this progression, the better your chances of avoiding relapse. See if you can figure out when things started to go wrong, how to spot it next time, and what you might do to prevent it.
Make adjustments and try again.
When you’ve figured out what went wrong, come up with a new plan and try again. Your new plan might be to try a different treatment program, add extra meetings, change jobs, avoid certain people, or make lifestyle changes. The key is to learn from your mistakes and never quit trying.
At Alta Lama Transformational Services, you will meet knowledgeable, compassionate professionals that understand addiction in all its forms. Alta Lama uses an integrative and holistic approach to treat addiction and mental health issues. No treatment is one-size-fits-all, where you will have a team of experts prepared to create your customized treatment plan. We offer care for your mind, body, and spirit, so that you can heal from the inside out and look forward to a lifetime of sobriety and wellness. If you are ready to take the first step in your recovery, please call us at 866-457-3843.