30 Aug Bouncing Back After a Relapse

Every addict is at risk for a relapse; it’s a common part of the disease. Even if a person in recovery feels he is sticking to his relapse prevention plan, sometimes relapses still happen. Any good relapse prevention plan should include ideas about what an addict needs to do in the event that he or she does relapse, in order to minimize the damage. Here are some things to think about when working on this portion of your relapse prevention plan.

Get Help Immediately

The hours and days immediately following a relapse are a crucial time where an addict faces a fork in the road. If you’ve relapsed, you can either decide you’ve already failed at recovery and you may as well give up now, or you can decide to move past your setback and redouble your efforts in recovery. The task of resuming recovery may seem insurmountable, but you don’t have to do it alone. Getting help right away is the best chance you have at overcoming a relapse. Call your sponsor, make an emergency appointment with your therapist, or check yourself back into rehab.

Identify and Address the Cause

Relapse is usually brought on by exposure to some sort or trigger that induces a craving, which you eventually give in to. After the haze of a relapse clears away, your first job is to identify the cause of your relapse, and get rid of it. Make a list of triggers that may cause cravings. Identify friends, family members, or social situations that put you at risk. Address any co-occurring disorders, such as depression, that can feed into addiction. Seek professional help to identify the causes of relapse and get them under control.

Move On

There’s no room for toxic shame or guilt following a relapse. These feelings destroy the self-confidence you’ve worked so hard to build and discourage you from moving forward. It’s important to recognize what went wrong, but it’s not necessary to beat yourself up about it. Instead, view this as an opportunity to identify weaknesses and make improvements. Discover what you can learn from the experience, and take that with you as you move on.

Expanding Your Support System

Oftentimes, an addict suffers a relapse because he lacks a proper support system, or because he is not taking advantage of the one he has. If you feel like you’re weakening and a relapse is on the horizon, call your sponsor, meet with your therapist, or go hang out with your family. If you don’t have these components of your support system in place, now is the time to remedy that. Attend a local 12-step group so you have people with whom you can relate. This is also a good place to find a sponsor. Begin working on rebuilding essential family relationships, if this option is available to you.

Take Care of Yourself

Addiction is a disease of the brain, and you can only have a healthy mind if you have a healthy body. Getting plenty of rest, adequate nutrition, and regular exercise are all essential to avoiding a relapse. Your body will need to be strong in order to fight off addiction, so take the time to take good care of yourself.

Get Busy

Idle hands are tools of the devil, and an idle life is a perfect setting for a relapse. Recovery is no place for boredom or loneliness, so ridding your life of these hazards is essential for avoiding a relapse. Replacing the time you use to spend using drugs or alcohol with productive, interesting activities will keep cravings at bay. Physical activity is especially effective because it releases endorphins in the brain that will ease withdrawal symptoms. Take up a hobby, plant a garden, join a sports team, or all of the above. This will help you stay healthy and manage your cravings. >

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