How to Relapse the Right Way in 5 Steps
Relapse is something none of us want to experience, but the inevitability of relapse has become so common rehabilitation programs have adopted numerous relapse-prevention groups. But let’s say you can’t keep yourself from going over the precipice, and you find yourself in the limbo of relapse, where your choices are to plunge back into the depths of addiction, defeated, or rise above relapse and check back into a rehab program.
If you look at relapse as a necessary component of recovery, you will enable yourself to live beyond the heartbreak. Let’s be honest, no one wants to relapse and question their commitment to sobriety. If unprepared, relapse may ruin every aspect of addiction recovery.
So how do you relapse the right way?
Thinking of relapsing the “right” way may seem contrary to everything you’ll ever learn in a rehabilitation program, but ensuring you have a game plan, should the worst happen, is critical to safeguarding your sobriety in the long run.
Be calm! Acknowledge what happened, and breathe. Understand relapse is not the end of your journey to recovery. Many people relapse and find their way back from it. As soon as it happens, call someone in your recovery network, whether that’s your parents, a close friend, or better yet- a counselor.
*Note: Be sure you speak with your recovery circle about the possibility of relapse so they’re prepared for the phone call. You don’t want to have a relapse without a game plan for your entire network- as they need to prepare themselves not to be overrun with their own emotions, so they can help you.*
Leave! If it is safe for you to do so, remove yourself from your immediate environment. If you so happen to relapse in your home, go into a different room. If you’re away from home, ask someone in your recovery network to come and be with you. It’s important that you are not alone while relapse happens.
You will most likely feel guilty. Guilt is a powerful emotion, leading us to rashness in the worst possible situations. Learning how to calm yourself down is an essential strategy you must continue to work on.
You must remember, “Yes, I deserve to live.” Do not allow yourself to plunge into the depths of self-odium. To do this, stay on the phone with whoever is coming to get you. If they need to concentrate on driving, call someone else in your recovery circle and talk to them until your ride gets there.
Let it out! We all relapse for a reason, and if you don’t face whatever the situation was which caused you to relapse, more than likely, it will happen again. Getting to the bottom of relapse is essential to preventing it from happening again.
In the safety of your recovery circle, vocalize your indwelling feelings and carefully explain the situation surrounding relapse. Whether you have to express yourself in therapy, or with your intimate recovery circle, ensure you are able to express your feelings entirely, and address internal discomfort.
Come up with a plan! It’s not enough to address your internal struggle if you don’t come up with a plan to prevent relapse from happening again. In your mad craze of emotions, instead of relying on your substance of choice, pick up a pen, a paintbrush, grab your running shoes- anything you enjoy to engage yourself in something healthy. You may:
- Paint or draw
- Go to the gym
- Take a trip to the beach
- Surround yourself with friends
- Break out the adult coloring book
- Listen to music
Forgive yourself! Going through an active relapse can take a toll on the perception of yourself, it is absolutely critical to forgive yourself and accept what has happened as a necessary step in recovery. Do not allow relapse to prevent you from believing recovery is attainable!
Do you have any suggestions on how to recovery from relapse?
About the Author
Alexandrea Holder is a South Florida native working toward double Master’s degrees in Psychology and English. She finds the psychological aspects of addiction and mental illness fascinating, as both are prevalent in her family’s history. When not researching and spreading addiction awareness, Alexandrea enjoys sparring, artistic pursuits, and admiring puppies online.