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What Should I Do if I Relapse?

woman looking out window after relapse

Relapse does not have to mean you have failed in recovery, as it is a temporary detour on your path and a chance to revisit your goals and strategies. Knowing what to do after an addiction relapse can help you get back on track. Addiction aftercare programs can provide unwavering support, one of the most important factors in reclaiming sobriety.

Midwest Center at Youngstown is here to support you through all stages of recovery. Our full continuum of care can guide you through detox, withdrawal, triggers, relapse, and beyond. When you enroll in our addiction treatment programs, you will never feel alone in recovery. Call us today at 844.544.0502 to learn how our addiction aftercare can be your ally as you navigate your sober future.

What to Do After Addiction Relapse

First of all, what does it mean to relapse? Relapsing means using addictive substances after a period of abstinence. You could relapse after one day, one week, one month, or even one year of sobriety. Some people stay clean for many years before relapsing, often sparked by a stressful or traumatic event. 

Relapse happens, so it is best to plan for it rather than deny it. Having a relapse plan can help you get on track faster. Here are some suggestions for steps to take after relapse:

  • Understand that relapse is normal and be gentle with yourself. Try to avoid negative self-talk and instead speak to yourself as you would a friend in recovery. Patience and encouragement are much more helpful than berating yourself.
  • Reach out to someone in your recovery circle, such as a therapist, physician, friend, family member, or someone from your support group. They can remind you that relapse is not a failure and encourage you to resume addiction treatment. Make an agreement with a sober buddy or another trusted person to call them if you relapse.
  • Revisit your addiction treatment plan. This could involve enrolling in a new program or stepping up the level of care you receive for addiction. Depending on your situation, you may need an inpatient stay or a partial hospitalization program with more frequent therapy sessions. 

Before experiencing a relapse, come up with your plan using the tips above or some of your own that may be more relevant to your life. You may never relapse after treatment, but your plan will let you know exactly what to do if it does happen. 

Addiction Relapse Tips for Prevention

Addiction treatment is not a cure, and you will see the most success if you continually work toward a healthy, sober lifestyle. Relapse happens to approximately half of people who quit using drugs or alcohol. Here are some addiction relapse tips to help prevent the likelihood or frequency of relapsing:

  • Build a social circle of people who do not use substances. You do not necessarily have to give up the friends you had before recovery, but it helps widen your circle and include people who do not use drugs or alcohol to reduce the chances of encountering addiction triggers or temptations.
  • Participate in addiction aftercare and support groups. These groups can help you stay motivated and remind you why you chose sobriety. 
  • Try medication-assisted treatment (MAT). Medication can virtually remove some of the obstacles to staying sober. People trying to overcome opioid or alcohol addiction find higher success rates with MAT.

It also helps to understand your addiction triggers to avoid them or at least reduce your contact with them. Make sure you are also taking good care of your mental health, as this is one of the top contributors to substance abuse.

Addiction Aftercare at Midwest Center at Youngstown: One of the Most Important Steps to Take After Relapse

Midwest Center at Youngstown is here for you whenever you encounter a relapse. We provide reliable, nonjudgmental care at any stage of your recovery. Reach out to us at 844.544.0502 to get the long-term support you need for a brighter future.