Although you might have worked hard for your sobriety, there is always the chance that you become overwhelmed by temptation and give in to your cravings. Relapsing is a reality for many people who are dealing with serious, long-term addiction and feel the urge to return to their old habits and lifestyle.
A moment of weakness does not mean that you have to give up on your goal of being free from substance abuse. Although you might feel ashamed and frustrated after a relapse, the best choice is to get back on track and continue moving forward in your recovery progress. You don’t need to view your relapse as a failure on your part but simply a temporary setback that you can overcome.
In recovery, failure is only when you choose to give up. As long as you keep coming back to the support of treatment or twelve-step groups, you can still be successful in quitting your addiction for good.
Get Help from Someone You Trust
Choosing to use drugs or alcohol again can happen in the form of a lapse or a relapse. A lapse is a temporary slip-up that does not derail all your hard work. If you have one drink and immediately address the problem then it can be considered a lapse.
When a person does not do something right away about their lapse it can evolve into a relapse meaning that they completely return to old habits and behavior. A full relapse can be more serious but once the person takes steps to get back on track they can still achieve success in being sober again. The first thing to do if a lapse or relapse happens is to get help right away.
Call someone like a close friend, sponsor, or even a helpline to get support and tell them what happened. Hiding the relapse or trying to resolve it on your own will only lead to more problems in the long run. Although you might feel ashamed of your mistake, getting help is the first step to getting on track again.
Make Another Commitment to Sobriety
Once you admit to your relapse and are getting help from your support system it is time to refocus your energy on sobriety. Renew your commitment to being sober and go back to immersing yourself in the basic components of recovery. Attend more meetings, go through the twelve steps again, find an aftercare program, or return to individual counseling.
If you have a particularly serious relapse you might even consider going into detox again for withdrawal symptoms or going back to rehab if necessary. The important thing is to make sure you have a high level of commitment and are engaged in the tools of recovery. While you are involved in recovery steps again it is a good idea to take inventory and think about the reasons why your relapse occurred.
If you can identify specific triggers, circumstances, or emotions that were involved then can work on those issues and develop a plan of action to avoid the same problem in the future.
As you work hard again on your sobriety, one of the best things you can do is to forgive yourself for your mistakes. There may be a lot of negative emotions surrounding your relapse but shame, guilt, and resentment will hold you back from healing and making progress.
Feelings of guilt can even lead to another relapse in the long run so let go and forgive yourself for what has happened. As long as you realize that the situation is over and you move forward you will be able to get back on track with achieving sobriety once again.