6 Things to Do After You Relapse
Unfortunately, relapse is sometimes a part of the recovery process. It’s important not to beat yourself up after having had a relapse and it’s also important to take immediate, recovery-related action after a relapse. With that said, here are 6 things to do after you relapse.
Get back in touch with your sponsor or get a new sponsor, ASAP
One immediate action to take after a relapse is to get in touch with your sponsor. It’s important to “come clean” with your sponsor about your relapse and talk about it. Just as they say, “our secrets keep us sick.” Your sponsor is someone in whom you can confide these things and it’s all for your benefit.
Do (another) 90 in 90
Get to a meeting right away and share that you’re just coming back. Also, pick up a white chip/key tag. It’s important to be honest with yourself and others after a relapse. Holding on to guilt and shame will only hold you back in your recovery process. And think of it this way, by you sharing about your relapse, you could be helping someone else in the room that is too scared or shameful to speak up. Remember, addiction is a killer and those who don’t speak up are likely to go back out, perhaps never to return.
Reflect on what the patterns (thoughts and behaviors) that led to your relapse
Relapse doesn’t suddenly just happen – there’s a shift in thinking that’s followed by a change in behavior that happens before you actually relapse. It’s important to recognize what your specific patterns are so that you can avoid relapsing in the future. Being self-aware by having a willingness to get in touch with your thoughts and feelings is priceless when it comes to working a program of recovery.
Get started on step work
You may have already completed your steps before your relapse but, having a relapse means that you get to do your steps over again. This really is a “get to” rather than a “have to” because step work is almost magical in the way it gets us on track with recovery and removes the mental obsession to use.
Reach out to your sober supports
Besides getting in touch with your sponsor, you should also reach out to your sober friends and other sober supports and let them know what’s going on for you. Again, you might be feeling a lot of guilt and shame about relapsing but, you will be pleasantly surprised at the love, support, and compassion they extend to you.
Go to detox/rehab, if necessary
If your relapse was more of an extensive run, that is, longer than just a day or two, you should consider going into treatment. This is a good way to practice humility while getting the necessary medical and therapeutic services that can jumpstart a renewal in your recovery. If you or someone is struggling with substance abuse or addiction or if you have recently relapsed, please call toll-free 1-800-777-9588.