Whilst many people think that relapse is a sign of having ‘failed’ at recovery, it is actually a very common event for those overcoming an addiction. Addicts who have been struggling with substance abuse issues for a long time will naturally find it difficult to make a permanent change like this, and it is important that they view their sobriety as an ongoing journey rather than a goal which has been won and can then be moved on from.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the relapse rate for those who have completed a drug rehabilitation program is equal to that of people who have received treatment for conditions such as asthma and Type 1 diabetes. It is not uncommon, or even unexpected, when an addict enters rehab that they may have to repeat treatment one or more times before they can consider themselves ‘sober’.
Relapse happens for a number of reasons, which may come down to the patient, but may just as easily be a result of other factors. Different types of treatment work for different types of people, and there are rehabilitation centres equipped with a range of treatment services, medical professionals and facilities that work with the lifestyles and personalities of the patients to varied effect.
Whilst an addict may find some comfort in knowing that relapse is common, if not expected, of those in recovery, it is still important that they understand what they can do when it happens. One of the worst things about relapsing is the fear that you have somehow lost your opportunity to get clean and back to your healthy existence.
Here are some of the things that you can do if you relapse.
Get Some Support
Don’t try to go through your relapse on your own and try and fix it without getting the support you need. Although you may feel shame or be worried about a negative response from those who helped you into recovery in the first place, it is most likely that those people will be those who are the most willing to stand by you.
Speak with your addiction counsellor, recovery coach or even your doctor to let them know how you slipped, when, and that you are now ready to get back into recovery. Although this is likely to be a difficult conversation, you will always find that it is easier once you open up and find that the person you are speaking to is there to help you, not judge you.
Understand That Relapse Is Another Step On Your Path…
Don’t think of it as though you have slipped all the way back to the beginning. The fact that you were in recovery in the first place means that you are already further along in your journey than you were at your lowest point. Relapse happens when there are still things for you to learn, and so coming out of relapse and going back into recovery is a necessary step along your path to total sobriety in the future.
…But Be Firm With Yourself
Although you must try to give yourself a break when it comes to relapse, knowing that many before you have struggled with the same issues, you also have to be firm and not let it become an endless cycle. Whilst it is easy to beat yourself up in the face of relapse, it can also be easy for addicts to give themselves too much understanding and keep falling back into addiction because they are not taking their recovery seriously. Remember that it is ok to fail, but it is not ok to become comfortable with failing. Take some accountability and make real changes to stop a relapse occurring again.
Keep Yourself Distracted
The best way to help yourself out of relapse is to focus your mind on something else. Rehab will teach you wellness activities such as yoga or reading and writing, and these tasks can keep you occupied through your recovery to a certain extent. Combine these activities with other tangible, interesting activities that will fill your mind and stop you thinking about your addiction.
Did you know that non-alcoholic beer does contain some alcohol?
We are often asked whether non-alcoholic beer counts as a relapse, and due to it’s alcohol content, albeit very small, it certainly can count as a relapse.
Say Yes To Things
It is so tempting to avoid socialising and saying yes to events when you are in recovery, out of fear that you will be dragged back into your addiction. You may also feel that you want to isolate because recovery is tiring and, at times, depressing. In these times, try saying yes to more invitations. Even if you just say yes to one in every five offers, over time you will find that you are quickly building up a life full of new activities and opportunities, which will continue to put distance between you and your past addiction.
Take It Moment By Moment
The idea of staying sober for the rest of your life is most likely a terrifying thought. A sweeping commitment like that would be to anyone! Instead, just break down each day into moments, and make a commitment to stay sober for each moment. Staying sober for the space of an hour doesn’t seem anywhere near as exhausting and impossible as staying sober for the rest of the day, or the rest of the week does it? Many people in recovery credit this technique with helping them to overcome their addiction once and for all.
Ocean Recovery Centre is a residential treatment centre, which offers a range of options suitable for many different addictions. We treat everything from substance abuse problems to behavioural addictions, over a period of time up to 90 days, according to the needs of the individual.
Not only are you provided with dedicated medical supervision to ensure a comfortable and safe detox process, but the rehab programme includes counselling, group and individual sessions, wellness activities designed to improve your body and mind, and social activities.
Once you leave the centre, you are provided with a dedicated aftercare service with round-the-clock support, so that if you are in fear of relapse, or have actually slipped, you will be provided with the resources you need to get back on track.
Find out more about how Ocean Recovery Centre can help you by calling us on: 01253 847 553, or text HELP to 83222