I Relapsed, Now What?
I Relapsed, Now What?
So you relapsed? Now what? It is important to realize what a relapse means. Some say it is as simple as a coping response. It is a setback, not a failure! Progress not perfection is something you will read & hear in the rooms of recovery and it is a crucial aspect to understanding how to keep moving forward.
Asking for help can be one of the hardest pieces to the puzzle as many of us don’t yet know where we fit in all this. Some are often the self-sufficient type to this point in their lives perhaps coming from a life that demanded to do things alone. Some of us were growing up on our own or without any type of guidance and had the “self-made” mentality. Support is usually just a phone call away but that phone can feel like a 1000 pounds when the humility & embarrassment is on top of it.
Finding stable ground is an important next step. Seeing through the fog from a relapse is very critical. Depending on the circumstances, a detox may be the next step. It is important to ensure you are assessed properly by a medical professional and do not attempt to detox yourself.
Part of seeing through the fog is looking back and to understand WHY the relapse occurred. Typically a relapse has happened well before the consumption of the drug. Identifying your thought patterns and emotions will be a good indication of how to prevent a relapse moving forward. It can be identified by DISCOVERING what your triggers are. Once they are known and put into view you can work on managing them by establishing a strategy for what works best for your situation and mindset.
Saying “no” can seem like a way of hurting or angering someone. Perhaps having a high level of agreeability in your personality can put into positions where you are sacrificing your boundaries when they shouldn’t be. Learning how to tell people “no” in a polite and respectful way offers a great chance that you will get the respectfulness back. Assertiveness is also critical to continue to move forward and grow from a relapse experience.
Getting into exercising or anything that helps release endorphins is a healthy way to manage stress. Finding an outlet for stress is a key component to managing your emotions. Trying to stay in the moment and ground yourself during times that bring high anxiety, such as a relapse are also vital to growth. Learning to meditate, breathe and being mindful will help you cope with the after effects.
Some say we are products of our environment. Having a strong support network is extremely important after a relapse. People who are not in recovery can have a hard time understanding what you are going through. This may steer you in the wrong direction. Getting guidance from those with experience in what you are going through is also critical to progressing forward in relapse control & prevention.
Since you did relapse, the prior plan you had in place did not work. Coming up with a new plan to prevent future relapse and practicing self-compassion has to be a focus. Although the old plan did not work, you are not a failure, just a work in progress!
To our readers: If there is any other advice you have for staying sober through the holidays, we’d love to hear from you!