How To Deal With Addiction Relapse

Understanding how to deal with addiction relapse is crucial to long-term sobriety. When you relapse, you can learn more about maintaining sobriety. Rather than thinking, “I’ll never relapse after treatment,” be proactive and plan for relapse. You can get yourself back on track sooner and build healthy coping skills to sustain your recovery.

Relapse is common with chronic health conditions. You might encounter unexpected stressors during your recovery journey. Addiction is the result of long-term habits that take time to extinguish. Your addiction didn’t develop overnight, and your recovery will also take time as you develop healthy long-term habits.

The following are common triggers for relapse:

  • Overwhelming stress
  • Prolonged symptoms of withdrawal, even after detox
  • Being around people associated with your addictive behaviors
  • Living near places where you can access your substance of choice
  • Negative emotions, like grief or anger
  • Holiday parties, birthdays, weddings, and other celebrations
  • Symptoms from underlying mental health issues
  • Physical health issues, especially ones leading to chronic pain

Your treatment plan should include proactive strategies to prevent relapse while also planning how to deal with addiction relapse when it occurs.

Stages Faced When Addicts Relapse

Relapse occurs in three stages: emotional, mental, and physical. Understanding the stages of relapse can help prevent a full relapse by knowing what stage you or a loved one are in and getting support before things get worse. Learn more about the three stages of why addicts relapse below:

  1. Emotional relapse occurs when you stop caring for your emotional health needs. You might stop attending peer support groups or attend without participating. You might also stop going to therapy and additional mental health services.
  2. Mental relapse means that you are thinking about using drugs or alcohol often. You might be thinking of your past and minimizing the negative impact of addiction. You could start thinking of ways to begin using again during this stage.
  3. Physical relapse is the stage where you start using drugs or drinking alcohol again. You might slip in a momentary lapse of judgment, or you could begin gradually using again, getting closer and closer to your pre-treatment addictive behaviors.

By catching these patterns before you physically relapse, you can minimize the negative consequences. By staying consistent in your treatment plan, finding new ways to engage in the recovery process, and focusing on healthy lifestyle habits, you can minimize the risk of a relapse.

What Are the Signs of Addicts Relapsing?

The following are signs of relapse or warning signs that a physical relapse could occur:

  • Stop attending recovery meetings
  • No longer participating in groups (going to meetings but not engaged)
  • Canceling or skipping appointments with mental health professionals
  • Thinking about people and places associated with drug or alcohol use
  • Contacting or spending time with people who continue to abuse substances
  • Changes in eating or sleeping habits
  • Feeling like nothing matters, which could be reflected in a sloppy appearance or lack of hygiene
  • Minimizing the consequences that substance abuse has had in your life
  • Glorifying your past behaviors related to substance use
  • Progressively putting yourself in situations where drug and alcohol use are present without any safety plans to manage relapse triggers

When you notice signs like these, you could be on your way toward a relapse. When you see these signs early, it is best to take action to prevent your relapse from getting worse. Recovering addicts might even become overly confident after years of success, which could also put you at high risk.

If you feel complacent in your treatment, you can reach out for help or change things up to keep your recovery fresh.

How to Get Back Into Treatment After Relapse

One of the most challenging issues addicts might face is realizing that they need to go back to treatment following a relapse. You might feel like you’ve failed in your recovery or that sobriety is not meant for you. These feelings of shame and self-blame are common among those who relapse. However, it is essential not to allow these feelings to become barriers to getting back into treatment after relapse.

Remember the following statements about relapse to help you get back on track:

  • Relapse is common and part of the recovery process.
  • You can learn new coping strategies to strengthen your resiliency in recovery.
  • The sooner you get back into treatment, the easier it will be to deal with your relapse.
  • Addiction is never cured but instead treated by taking things one day at a time.

No one likes to admit that they’ve made mistakes. Addiction recovery is a lifelong process, and any long-term process carries the risk of slipping. You are not alone, and many of your peers have likely relapsed at some point in recovery.

Getting back into treatment after relapse is crucial, and you can use the following strategies to deal with a relapse successfully:

  • Examine why you relapsed and look for ways to manage specific triggers.
  • Attend more peer support meetings or join a support group if you haven’t already.
  • Stay connected to your treatment facility with aftercare and alumni programming, especially during the early days of recovery.
  • Reach out to your support system to discuss your relapse and find help.
  • Take care of your physical health needs by eating healthy foods, exercising, and getting enough rest.
  • Ask for help if things feel overwhelming; you might need to take time off work or ask a family member to help you with household duties.
  • Consider an intensive outpatient program (IOP) to get treatment while still attending to your family, school, or work responsibilities.
  • Use holistic health strategies, like meditation and breathwork, to manage stressors and deal with cravings.
  • If you are struggling with prolonged withdrawal symptoms, you might want to try medication-assisted treatment (MAT) to manage these symptoms.

It is best to think about addiction relapse prevention strategies while doing well during active treatment. When you are sober and feeling level-headed, you can make the best plans to deal with addiction relapse and to get on back on track if you do.

Recovery Is a Lifelong Process

Remember that most people in recovery go through a period of cycling between relapse and recovery before getting to a place of sustained recovery. According to the U.S. Office of Veteran Affairs (VA), “[i]t is important that patients understand that recovery is not an event or a time-limited goal; rather, it is a series of changes across multiple domains of life that need to be maintained lifelong.”

While you want to stay optimistic about your recovery, you also want to plan for any issues that occur along the way. Lifelong habits take time to develop, and you will likely slip up at some point before you build the skills needed to sustain your addiction recovery. Relapse can sneak up on you. You might be doing well in recovery for years, then find yourself triggered after an unexpected life event, like a job loss or breakup.

You can increase your chances of staying sober by planning and using the following tips:

  • Attend support group meetings regularly
  • Be mindful of your physical health needs, like nutrition and sleep
  • Keep a list of coping skills on hand
  • Develop a support system including friends, family members, and clinicians
  • Engage in alumni programming at your rehab facility
  • Try new treatment methods, like holistic therapy, to keep things fresh throughout your recovery

If you do relapse, find help right away. You can deal with addiction relapse to become more resilient in your recovery and get closer to your goals of lifelong sobriety.

Addiction Relapse Treatment in South Florida

Throughout your recovery, you might cycle between relapse and treatment before getting to the point of long-term, sustained recovery. Remember to go easy on yourself; you are not alone. Most addicts will relapse at some point along the journey. Ambrosia Treatment Center of South Florida is here to help you get back on track after a relapse. Call us today or visit our admissions page for more.

We Accept Most Insurances

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