All recovering addicts should fear relapse on some level, because it’s a major setback. Just one sip or puff can undo months of physiological detox and cause cravings to return full-force. However, that’s all it is: a setback.
When you put down the bottle or pipe after a slip, you’re essentially “quitting” once again. Just because your cravings are back doesn’t mean the old you is back. You have a lot more knowledge than you did the last time. Your frustration will subside. Don’t abandon ship. Grab hold of everything you’ve learned throughout your recovery journey and call out to friends and family for help.
Stress can be unpredictable, and so can relapse. Much of the time though, relapse is a process: a period of emotional relapse followed by the actual “physical relapse.” The key to preventing another slip will depend on your ability to analyze and deconstruct your last one — in its entirety.
What was going on? How did you feel? Could those events have been prevented or avoided? Were your feelings rational? If so, could they have been better managed? Get involved with a sponsor to help you work through these questions.
You can’t deny that you’ve backtracked—that you’ll need to attend more meetings with your therapist or sponsor even though you just earned having Sundays to yourself—or that you’ll have to do things differently than before. Many slips occur in the late stages of recovery, because that’s when we start to lose our vigilant edge.
Notify everyone in your support network about the fact that you’ve relapsed. If you’re worried about being perceived as a failure, just be sure to clarify that you’re still determined to be live a sober life.
If you’ve been relapsing over and over again, inpatient treatment may be the way to go. It may seem drastic, especially if you’ve already been to rehab in the past, but addiction is a serious illness. It’s not unusual for addicts to attend rehab three or four times before achieving lifelong sobriety. If you’re a repeat patient, our staff can hone in on your strengths and weaknesses and use them to your advantage. Whatever landed you back in rehab will be a major point of focus from this point onward.
Call Blueprints for Recovery today at (888) 744-9969 to begin your journey toward a life free of cravings.