Relapsing after being treated for drug addiction is not as uncommon as you might think. In fact, statistics show that about half of those who do receive treatment from a professional rehab center return to heavy to mild usage after leaving. While relapsing can be somewhat of a setback, it must be understood that it does not mean failure. Addictions are essentially a chemical illness of the brain. With drug addictions, like other illnesses such as diabetes or asthma, many patients will forget to follow their ongoing treatments and as a result, end up facing dire consequences. A relapse however, does not have to mean the end of your goals for sobriety – it simply means you need to tap into your resources and get focused on making a change.
Reach Out to Your Rehab Facility
The first thing you should do after relapsing is reach out to the rehab facility that provided you with treatment. Often, these facilities have programs for former patients. This might include some outpatient therapy options such as group therapy, recommendations to therapists or options to return to the rehab facility for further assistance. Since they are fully aware of your past issues with addiction, they will know best how to guide you back on the path to sobriety.
Remove Yourself From the Triggers
During rehab, you likely discussed things that may have triggered you to use drugs in the first place. It is imperative that you recall the triggers and try to remove yourself from those as much as possible. For instance, if you relapsed because you were at a specific friend’s house party, then you probably should not surround yourself with that particular friend until you’re mentally strong enough. If you relapsed because you were stressed out, it might be beneficial to try and rid your life of as many stressors as possible, or even talk with a therapist to learn new methods for handling stress.
Call on the Support of Others
Another option to help you recover after relapsing is to call on the support of others. Whether it’s your sponsor from your N.A. meetings, a family member or a close friend who is aware of your addiction, you will need all of the support you can get. Let them know you’ve relapsed and that you need help. They can give you words of encouragement, come to your residence so you’re not alone, or reach out to the appropriate professionals for further guidance.
Pick Up Some Hobbies
Finally, you should consider keeping a busy schedule. When your mind is occupied with other interests, the urge to use will fade. Consider joining a community sports team, a gym, a book club or whatever else might be interesting to you. By adapting new hobbies that keep you interested, you will soon forget about using.
Remember, relapsing is never to be viewed as a failure; it’s simply a bump in the road that must be handled with care and support. There are a multitude of resources out there to help you continue your recovery efforts. All you need is the determination and willpower to see it through. Be sure to try these avenues and start your sober living goals again. While you might have relapsed today, you’ll be surprised to see where you are in a year from now.