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Getting Back up Again: What to Do After a Relapse

Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MD By May 19, 2019
family of addicts/what to do after a relapse

You didn’t quit, you just fell down.

Studies show that one of the top 5 reasons people relapse, is because they stop investing time in their self-care. When we talk about self-care, we mean the small, and large things you do, to take care of your physical, and mental health.

Exercising, eating healthy foods, and having healthy social outlets, is important for any human being. Yet it’s especially important for individuals who are in recovery, even if they’ve been in recovery for a long time.

Learning what to do after a relapse, starts with understanding that you aren’t a bad person. The American Institute of Stress found that gambling, or using drugs and alcohol, is often a symptom of chronic stress. Without a strong self-care plan, stress builds up, and your chances of sobriety begin to fall away.

Don’t worry though, just because you’ve used again, it doesn’t mean you have to stay trapped in the world of addiction.  Read on to learn about how to pick yourself back up again, after a relapse.

What to Do After a Relapse

Taking immediate action following your relapse is the best way to get back on the road to recovery. Here are the first 3 steps you should take immediately following a relapse.

  1. Reach out for help
  2. Seek medical attention if necessary
  3. Create a recovery program

Knowing what to do after a relapse, can empower you to get your life back on track again. Let’s start by looking at how powerful it can be to reach out, immediately following a relapse.

Finding Comfort by Reaching Out

You’ll need outside support to help you deal with overwhelming feelings, and emotions, that can surface after a relapse. Without help, the intensity of these feelings can easily trigger another relapse.

Intense Negative Emotions

Not only does guilt exhaust you mentally, but it also takes a major toll on your mental health. Doctors are finding out that guilt can cause issues such as back pains, headaches, weakened immune systems, and even cardiovascular disease.

Why Reaching Out Speeds up Recovery

Researchers are discovering that isolation contributes to drug use, overdoses, and relapses. If you want to prevent another relapse from happening, you’ll need the help of friends, and when possible, family.

The second you reach out for help, you’ll start breaking free from the bonds of isolation. Find someone in your circle of friends, or family, who is already aware of your past struggles with addiction.

Let them know you’ve relapsed, and need someone to talk to about it. Then, if possible meet with your loved one in person. If they don’t live nearby, a phone call will suffice, but you should still reach out to someone you can meet up with in person.

What to Say to Friends and Family

During your meeting, with your trusted friend, or loving family member, you’ll want to catch them up on what’s been going on. You don’t have to give them every detail, yet rather just let them know what type of relapse you’ve had, and how you’re feeling physically.

If you want to, you can share with them, all of the emotions, and feelings you’re experiencing. Yet, if you’re not ready to talk about how you feel, that’s completely okay. Instead, just focus on getting the facts out to your friend so they can assist you in finding the help you need.

Gambling Addictions

Individuals with gambling addiction should be honest about pending financial problems. For example, has the relapse jeopardized your chances of paying rent, or having money to get to work during the week? Don’t be frozen by shame, just be honest, and upfront about how much you gambled, and the financial repercussions you’re facing as a result.

Unburdening yourself won’t only feel great, it’ll increase the chances of getting the help you need to minimize your financial hardships. Even if family and friends can’t help you financially, you’ll feel relieved knowing the amount you’ve spent is no longer a secret.

Substance Abuse Addictions

If you have a substance abuse problem, like an addiction to alcohol, you should never try detoxing alone. Instead, you’ll want to find an inpatient, or outpatient program to assist you.

When you arrive at the detox center, be honest, and transparent, about what substances you’ve used, the amount, and for how long. The medical staff will need as much information as possible, to help your body heal efficiently.

Create a Recovery Program

After reaching out, and possibly going through detox, you can start building a recovery plan. One of the first steps in your plan should be to develop a support network. You can do this by spending your free time, hanging out with people who are also living a substance-free lifestyle.

You’ll also want to start investing time in your self-care. Set aside time, every day, that’s just for you. During this time, do a healthy activity, that can help either your mental health or physical well beings. You could spend your time walking, meditating, journaling, or even playing an instrument.

Remember, you don’t have to go through the journey of recovery alone. One of the best ways to help secure your path to recovery is by getting help from experienced professionals.

Trained professionals can help you gain insight into how addiction works, and the many ways it affects your entire being. The more you know about addiction, the more equipped you’ll be to maintain sobriety and find inner peace.

Tools for Recovery

Now you know more about what to do after a relapse. As you begin to piece your life back together, be kind, and patient to yourself.

Here at the Discovery Institute for Addictive Disorders, we know just how challenging a relapse can be. We understand that addiction doesn’t just affect one aspect of your life, it challenges your entire existence as a person. Your behavior, belief system, and lifestyle are all affected when you’re struggling with an addiction.

If you, or a loved one, has recently had a relapse, we can help guide you on the path to recovery. We’ve helped over 7,000 chemically affected people, find freedom and hope.

Are you ready to end the nightmare of drug abuse and alcoholism? Reach out to us today, using our contact us page and let us show you how we can help.


Sources

https://www.eruptingmind.com/the-psychology-of-guilt-overcoming-types-of-guilt/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4553654/
https://www.huffpost.com/entry/the-real-cause-of-addicti_b_6506936?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAC18pEErVi65s1KGEmDsXxaiQRpMvpDrCYMTI-FKAAssCNU0w7d4kOiOl6yAJaQHvRB8pcCUROaDJ7Phj-u7V-6Jg70vn0cqJm0xi1TJhyb9wwDEbX65B1bHBR_s1Db2j9RbC7g_jJbe29kBdSPXjz0tCsmtChUK16TOmh-at_VV

Article Reviewed by Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MD

Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MDDr. Jeffrey Berman is a psychiatrist in Teaneck, New Jersey and is affiliated with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. He received his medical degree from State University of New York Upstate Medical University and has been in practice for more than 20 years. He also speaks multiple languages, including French and Hebrew.

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