Coping After Relapse in 5 Steps 

Almost everyone will face relapse at some point in their journey toward sobriety. That’s why you must not think about it as a failure but as a simple setback that is to be expected. When you go into sobriety with that mindset, you are more likely to succeed as you will not get into the loop of lying and guilt. 

There are so many things that can impact relapse, from triggers to psychological issues and environmental ones, too. In this guide, we will look at all of that and how you can move forward if and when relapse happens. 

If you or a loved one could benefit from 12 Steps to Recovery, contact Myrtle Beach Recovery to learn about our comfortable residential setting.

Definition and Statistics in Relapse

Relapsing is when you start using substances after you have been sober for a period of time. Statistics show that recovery will happen for 40-60 percent of people, which is about the same as any chronic disease. Relapse should be looked at as just part of recovery, part of the illness, and something that will likely happen. When it does, it’s important to know how to handle it with compassion and care. 

Why Does Relapse Happen?

There are two main factors: psychological and environmental triggers. Things like stress, anxiety, or depression can push someone over the edge and back into active addiction. It can also happen when the addict is exposed to people or places that cause them to use substances in the first place, such as fellow addicts or homelessness. 

The Emotional Impact of Relapse

Relapse can be incredibly hard to deal with emotionally. There is a lot of guilt and shame around it, which can overwhelm the addict and push them further into using. This is why it’s important for the addict and those supporting them to understand that relapse is part of the journey. Shame and guilt have no place here; instead, we must use compassion and a helping hand. 

Substances alter how a person’s brain functions; they are not entirely themselves, and they should be helped to return to the person they want and need to become. Pushing people away, whether you are the addict or the support person, is never the answer unless it is an unsafe situation. 

Coping After Relapse in 5 Steps

Rebuilding After Relapse

When relapse happens, it will be time to rebuild your life. Start with finding support from family and friends, and of course, a professional. Speak about the relapse openly and acknowledge your mistakes so they are less likely to happen again. 

Developing a Relapse Prevention Plan

This should ideally be in place before you relapse, but if it isn’t, now is a good time to start a relapse prevention plan. This looks at your triggers and comes up with ways to handle them in advance. It can also look at when those tactics fail and what you will do next in that case. 

Coping Strategies and Skills Development

You will need a lot of new skills in order to cope with relapse and emotions during sobriety. A therapist is a good place to start to develop these tools, but talking to other addicts in places like sober living homes can also help you find things that work for you. Some skills are mindfulness, stress management, meditation, exercise, better communication skills, etc. 

Lifestyle Changes

Sometimes, after relapse, you will notice that your lifestyle wasn’t healthy enough to be feeling your best. Maybe you were not getting enough sleep, eating well, or exercising. These things are more important than you may think. Sometimes, when we are stressed and overwhelmed, staying healthy is hard to do. If this is the case for you, it’s important to reach out to someone who can help you stay on track, perhaps by going on a walk with you once a day. 

A Supportive Community

In order to recover, you must have a large support system that is cheering you on; doing it alone is incredibly difficult. Connecting with people makes falling into addiction much harder. You can find this community using AA, sober living, or family and friends if they are positive influences in your life. 

Myrtle Beach Recovery is Here to Help

Relapsing does not mean you are at the end of your sober journey. But if you have relapsed and find you can’t stop and are falling deeper and deeper into addiction, it might be time for more drastic measures. Rehab and short-term rehab are two ways to help you stay sober and get the resources you need to have a successful recovery. Find out more by contacting us