Relapse happens when a person goes back to using drugs or alcohol even after going through detoxing and staying sober for a while.
Relapsing can happen at any point during your sobriety. It can be 2 months after getting out of your rehab program, or even after 2 years of stone-cold sobriety. Many people recovering from an addiction, unfortunately, face the near-constant struggle of staying away from drugs and alcohol.
If that happens, it’s important to get help as soon as possible.
The 3 Main Stages of Relapse
People will often go through 3 stages of relapse:
- Emotional relapse – Here, you may find it more and more difficult to cope with your emotions or life circumstances. Emotional relapse can occur long before you start to drink or use drugs again, but it does set the stage for it;
- Mental relapse – You begin to question the need or even benefit of your sobriety. Some people can also downplay the negative impacts of their past behavior, claiming it “wasn’t that bad” and begin to look for opportunities to use it again;
- Physical relapse – You start drinking or taking drugs again. It begins with the initial lapse, followed by a continuous behavior of abusing a particular substance.
What to Do If You’ve Relapsed
Learning how to deal with relapse can make all the difference in the world. No matter when you relapse, or how long you use, you can recover from it and become sober again.
Here’s what to do in case of relapsing:
- Ask for help – There is no shame in relapsing. Surround yourself with the support of friends and family at this time, so you don’t go through it alone;
- Avoid triggers – Being around triggers after you’ve relapsed can increase your cravings for alcohol or drugs. As best you can, try to remove yourself from these situations and people;
- Call your sponsor or join a group – Groups like AA or NA can help you move forward from a relapse and even provide you with useful tips and information on how to proceed. If you already have a sponsor, call them and let them know you’ve relapsed to ask for their help;
- Take care of yourself – You may be very hard on yourself for relapsing. Try to forgive yourself and continue to take care of your needs and wellbeing. Punishing yourself can only make your situation worse;
- Reach out to a specialist – If you relapse, can talk to an addiction specialist like a therapist, or doctor, or even reach out to a detox facility for help.
Relapse is a painful reality for many people struggling with substance addiction. If it happens to you, it is incredibly important to ask for help and get back on your sobriety path as soon as possible.
Because you can recover from it and get back on track with your day-to-day life. Visit https://rehabhelper.co.za/rehab-clinics-johannesburg/ and https://www.ixande.co.za/ for more information on in-patient treatment.