Relapse does not equal failure. Keep reminding yourself of that. A relapse cannot take away all of the valuable skills, tools, and lessons that you learned in recovery. But it can make you acutely aware of the need to make changes.
Relapse can occur at any point in your recovery, no matter how long you have been drug-free. It is a fumble, so to speak, in your recovery, but you can pick yourself back up and keep moving forward. You may be able to bounce back from a minor relapse on your own with support from friends, family, or a counselor, but a more serious setback could require another stay in rehab. Here are some tips for overcoming relapse:
- Figure out why you relapsed: Did you allow yourself to become too stressed out or take on too many responsibilities? Did you visit an old haunt or see former friends who served as triggers? Determine what about the situation led you to turn to drugs or alcohol.
- Make changes for the future: Adjust your routine or engage in a new coping strategy that will help you to avoid the same type of situation in the future. Become more aware of your stress level or dangerous circumstances that put you at risk. Use your relapse as a learning experience to help you grow and adapt.
- Get support from loved ones, others in recovery, and professionals: Turn to them for motivation and a pick-me-up. Gather advice, insight, and guidance from people who have been in the same position and can help you overcome.
- Do not be overly hard on yourself: Yes, you made a mistake, but that is part of life. Reflect on all of the positive things that have come from your recovery and how much progress you have made. Let this encourage you to brush yourself off and try again.
Relapse is not the end of your recovery. It is simply another point along your journey and another lesson learned. Don’t be afraid to give rehab another try if you need it. Your life is worth it.