A big question a lot of people have when getting sober is what happens if they relapse. Does that mean it’s all over? Am I never going to get better? Does this mean I’m a failure? The answer to all of these questions is no. Relapse is an extremely normal (but not required) part of sobriety and the recovery process. There are many different options if you relapse, but I’ll give you 5 things you can do.
Be honest with yourself
The first and most important thing to do after a relapse is to be honest with yourself. For a lot of addicts and alcoholics it can be tough being honest with others but even harder for us to admit the truth to ourselves. To be able to jump back into your recovery you must acknowledge the fact that you messed up and move on from there.
Call your sponsor
Get in touch with your sponsor and some sober supports. They can be the best tool you have when you slip up and relapse. They are going to be the ones that are there for you to talk to and help you get back on your feet. This is why people in the rooms stress having a sponsor and a strong support system so much. I don’t know what I would do without my sober supports and sponsor. They are the ones who carry me when I can’t carry myself.
Get to a meeting
Getting to a meeting and picking up a white chip is not only for you but also for other people in the rooms of the 12-step anonymous fellowships. It shows humility and honesty and can show the people who are struggling with their addiction that maybe they can get sober, too. It is also a sign of surrendering and that is important after a relapse.
It sounds so simple but it isn’t as easy as you think it is. Forgiving yourself after a relapse can be one of the hardest things to do. We can carry around so much guilt and shame as alcoholics and addicts and it can end up sabotaging our recovery if we don’t let go. Resentments, even ones with ourselves, can be destructive for an addict.
Take it one day at a time
Once you’ve came back from a relapse it is best to take things slow. A lot of people end up having issues with the expression “one day at a time” and I never really understood why. When we are out there getting high and in our addiction, we have absolutely no problem living in the moment. But then for some odd reason we get sober and all we can think about is tomorrow, next week, or next year? Take it slow and remember to be present in your recovery.
If you’ve relapsed, don’t freak out and think it’s the end of the world. You now have the tools to know what not to do this time and have examples of people, places and things that don’t work for you. Avoid your triggers and stay with positive people. Work a program of recovery and stay on the right path and you will do just fine!
If you or someone you know has relapsed and is suffering from alcohol or drug addiction and needs help, call 844-422-6926.