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What To Do After Relapse: 8 Tips To Get Back on Track

Recovering from addiction is never easy. At times, it can feel like a constant uphill battle. This is why addiction relapse is considered a chronic condition. Even if you think you have overcome your battles successfully and have rid yourself of drug or alcohol addiction, there’s always the possibility of you reverting to your old, harmful habits.

This is why safe and longer-term addiction treatment with professionals is necessary. It helps reduce the chances of drug abuse or other forms of substance abuse to come back.

The chances of drug and alcohol addiction relapse vary. According to rehab facilities in Toronto, the relapse rate ranges from 20% to 50% for alcoholics. In some cases, recovering addicts also suffer from underlying mental health issues or various psychological disorders that enhance the chances of recurring substance abuse.

Not to worry, though, as various forms of addiction recovery are always going to be available to you. Whether you’re taking a harm reduction or abstinence approach to recovery, these are some tips to help you get back on track after a relapse.

What Happens if I Relapse?

Relapsing doesn’t mean your treatment failed—you just haven’t fully recovered yet.

You might be ashamed or embarrassed by thinking that you are returning to substance abuse, but that shouldn’t deter you from seeking professional help.

This is why it’s important to have a good support network. Whether it’s friends or family members, they need to understand recovery is a non-linear journey. Addiction treatment is personalized and unique to each patient for a reason!

A woman talking to their therapist.

However, it does help if you can determine the causes of your relapse so you and your healthcare provider can focus on relapse prevention. You could even ask them to help you develop a relapse prevention plan to ensure longer-term recovery.

Some of the factors that contribute to drug abuse relapse include:

  • Social pressures
  • Easy access to drugs or alcohol
  • Stressful surroundings – at home or workplace

Addiction relapse is a common phenomenon, and only a professional can evaluate and determine what triggered it.

So, if a relapse does happen, take the following steps:

1. Talk To Your Counsellor

After the completion of your treatment program, you might have been given some contact information. Contact your therapist so they can help you decide your next step and create a new addiction recovery plan for you.

Professionals can also help you design a strong relapse prevention plan to help you mitigate the risk and fear of future relapses.

2. Practice Self-Compassion

It’s really important to take care of your mental health during this time. Just as you would ask your support network to be kind and understanding, you have to do the same for yourself! Avoid self-blame or negative self-talk if a relapse occurs.

Remind yourself that setbacks happen, and you have the strength to overcome them. Encouraging yourself also helps you avoid future relapse because it strengthens your resolve.

After all, you recovered once so you can do it again.

3. Refocus

Relapses take an immense toll on your mental health. Just relax and take a deep breath. If you’ve kept a journal for recovering, don’t be afraid to pour your heart out in it and express your thoughts and frustrations as you refocus.

This helps you release any feeling of guilt or shame you might have, as well as helps you plan your next steps toward addiction recovery.

4. Know That You Can Always Start Over

Sometimes, the reason behind a relapse is that the program wasn’t structured based on your specific needs. So, it is good to find the strength to start again with another in-patient program that better meets your needs.

5. Seek Support From Your Loved Ones

Reach out to your support network, whether it’s friends, family members, a support group, or a therapist. Share your experience and ask for help if necessary.

Having a support system of people who understand and can offer guidance can make a significant difference both in your mental health and emotional well-being. This is also a good way to prevent future relapses.

Six people in a group therapy session.

6. Take It One Day at a Time

As you begin your addiction treatment, always try to remember that the recovery process will take time—and that’s okay. Focus on making progress one day at a time rather than overwhelming yourself with the bigger picture or what your treatment should look like after a certain point.

That said, be sure to celebrate small victories with your support network along the way as well. The recovery process for substance use disorder is long and challenging, so don’t let anyone tell you that you shouldn’t celebrate every milestone.

7. Reflect and Learn

Since you have already been a part of an addiction treatment program, you have a clear understanding of what situations or events can likely trigger your old habits and lead you to physical or mental relapse. This, in turn, could lead to future substance or drug abuse as well.

So, just be honest with yourself and make sure you try to avoid your triggers. Relapse prevention is all about being proactive.

8. Revisit Your Goals

Reconnect with your original goals every so often or establish new ones if needed. Having a clear sense of direction and purpose can provide motivation and focus, and this helps you track your progress during your treatment program.

The Journey to Full Recovery Often Has Detours

Relapse is common—what matters is how you respond.

Don’t lose hope. Rather, when a relapse occurs, consider it as nothing more than a temporary detour on the road to recovery. Have faith in your support system and trust in your own ability to persevere and get back on track. You did it before, you can do it again!

Freedom From Addiction is a rehab centre in the GTA committed to helping addicts recover successfully. Whether you’re looking to get back on track after a relapse or looking to take the first steps toward treatment, we’re here to help.

Contact us today to learn more about our treatment programs.


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