Each and every member of your support network plays a key role in helping you maintain your recovery after treatment. Maybe your uncle, who is in recovery himself, was the first person to encourage you to go to rehab. You go to him whenever you struggle with cravings. You may also have friends from addiction treatment who helped you complete rehab. In fact, you now attend regular recovery meetings together.
But what if one of these people relapsed recently? With how important they are to your own sobriety, their fall back into substance abuse may make you question your own ability to maintain long-term recovery.
Fortunately, your loved one’s experience doesn’t have to become your own. Knowing the right things to do can help you stay sober and inspire your family member or friend to return to rehab and get back on their feet.
Understanding and Managing a Loved One’s Relapse
Understanding why your loved one or friend relapsed not only puts you in a better position to help them, but it can also offer you peace of mind about your own recovery. People in recovery tend to experience the three stages of relapse:
1. Emotional Relapse – Your loved one’s relapse more than likely began with self-deprecating thoughts or feelings they kept to themselves. Not addressing these head-on leads to the second stage of relapse.
2. Mental Relapse – Feeling overwhelmed, out of place or not good enough can trigger the false belief that alcohol or drug use could make those feelings go away. Your loved one or friend probably weighed the temptation of substance abuse in their head, ultimately determining it was what they wanted to do.
3. Physical Relapse – Once your loved one or friend made the decision, they crossed into the final stage of relapse where they physically started drinking or getting high again.
Every person in recovery struggles with their own, personal demons. Understanding these different stages of relapse can help you communicate with them and get to the bottom of why they ultimately relapsed.
How to Maintain Your Own Sobriety After a Loved One’s Relapse
Dealing with the relapse of someone you care about can devastate your world and leave you questioning your own recovery. To maintain your sobriety, follow the below steps, keeping in mind the three stages of recovery:
1. Talk with Your Loved One or Friend. Use the stages of relapse to guide your conversation with your loved one or friend. Talking it out with them can help you realize even more that you are not them and their relapse doesn’t have to be your relapse. Communicating this way may even help them better understand why they decided to revert back to alcohol or drug abuse.
2. Maintain Your Recovery Routine Daily. Addiction treatment probably helped you develop a healthy daily routine that’s kept you sober. You need to continue that routine now more than ever. Keep eating a nutritious breakfast in the mornings, don’t skip exercise sessions and keep practicing relapse prevention techniques like mindfulness and meditation.
3. Continue Attending Recovery Meetings. Your loved one or friend’s relapse is an even bigger reason to go to recovery meetings. In fact, it may even be a good idea to attend a few additional meetings if you feel unstable. These meetings offer a safe, understanding space for you to open up about your loved one’s relapse and how it’s affected you.
4. Keep Track of Your Own Thoughts and Feelings. One lesson you can learn from your loved one or friend’s relapse is that you need to stay on top of your thoughts and feelings. Keep a daily journal designated to help you guard against the stages of relapse. If you notice you’re writing down negative thoughts and feelings or experiencing cravings more often, reach out to your sponsor or another member of your support network and talk it out with them.
5. Acknowledge that Relapse is Part of the Journey. Relapse is often viewed as a failure and a shameful act by the individual in recovery. But this mindset puts a lot of stress and pressure on people in recovery – pressure and stress that may become too much to handle and lead to relapse, anyway. Take a moment each day to acknowledge that relapse is nothing more than a small part of the recovery journey that can be overcome. This more positive outlook can make it easier to accept your loved one’s relapse and keep your own sobriety going strong.
Taking care of your own physical, mental and emotional health during this time will put you in a better position to help your loved one or friend move forward.
How to Help a Loved One After a Relapse
First and foremost, be there to listen to your loved one or friend. They may feel shocked and ashamed about what they’ve done and will need someone who won’t judge them or make them feel worse. Since you know what they’re going through, you can empathize with them and show them the compassion they need to get back up and return to rehab.
If rehab isn’t already on their minds, encourage them to seek treatment again. If they don’t feel like rehab will work since it didn’t work this time around, offer to help them find a new addiction treatment center. Not all treatment facilities are made equal, and there may be one better positioned to address your loved one’s current needs. It’s also important to remind them that you’ll support them the entire time they’re in treatment, visiting and attending therapy sessions when permitted.
Finally, it’s important to not enable their substance abuse or give in to any pressure to drink or do drugs with them. If their substance abuse is spiraling out of control or if they’re trying to get you to relapse with them, distance yourself from the situation by asking other members of your support network for help or by calling a treatment center like Fountain Hills Recovery.
Sobriety is Possible After Relapse at Fountain Hills Recovery
If your loved one has relapsed, we are just the treatment center you’re looking for to get them the help they need. Every single member of our staff was hand-picked for their positions because of their expertise and outstanding ability to provide empathy and compassion to their clients. Our staff, plus our evidence-based continuum of care approach and luxury amenities, makes us the best private treatment center in Arizona for your loved one.
If you have also relapsed and are struggling with your recovery, we are here for you, too. From our new residential programming to outpatient treatment, we can help you get to the bottom of why you relapsed and steer you back towards recovery.
If you or your loved one is ready to break free from alcohol or drug abuse, contact our expert staff today to learn more and find out how to get started.