How to Move Forward After a Relapse
After a relapse you will need to redouble your efforts towards regaining sobriety. If you just go back to how things were before the relapse, then you put yourself at a high risk of repeating the same pattern. Usually a relapse starts some time before the actual drink is taken. There may have been a period of time when you may have been disconnected, stressed or of feeling like life is still unmanageable and returning to drinking seems like a better option.
But let’s be clear, it is not! Drinking for people with substance use disorder NEVER gets better only worse and for many of us it ends, very sadly in death.
So if you have relapsed make all effort possible to come back and give sobriety another try. When you come back, be ready to take some time to look over what happened before you picked up a drink, so you have a clearer idea of where you should strengthen your recovery.
Here are some good question to consider:
- What events or situations might have led to the relapse?
- What could I have done during these struggles?
- What lessons have I gathered from this experience?
- What am I willing to do in the future to avert a relapse?
I believe that this is a very important step after relapse. Getting to know yourself and your triggers is a crucial part of staying on track in sobriety. It’s time to make recovery your number one
FIND A GOOD SUPPORT NETWORK
Find support and lots of it!! Join organizations that will support your sober life. From community recovery meetings to religious organizations to family groups, there are meetings all over the world that will welcome you with open arms! Create a firm foundation for yourself.
Most importantly a support network will make you feel like you are never alone as you trudge through all the different stages of recovery. 12-step support group meetings saved me every time! And for about 6 months I went to meetings every day. This also turned out to be the greatest help, not only because I was learning from others how to live a sober life, but also had a face to face time with people who were all joined together by a common goal.
People like us are all around, from 12-step meetings, In The Rooms, Sober Mommies, and SMART Recovery Web Site! For a full list of support groups, click Find Recovery Support. I also know of several accountability groups on Facebook, if you would like I will gladly add you in.
PAY ATTENTION TO YOU TRIGGERS
You have to be on guard when get out in the real world of sobriety – so be mindful to remove as many triggers as you can from your life. If stress triggered you to drink in the first place, find healthy ways to remove the trigger.
For instance, my entire first year I did not trust my judgement at all. I did not trust myself around any alcohol in any situation, be it a grocery store, a restaurant or a party. For me, something seemingly innocent like just being around alcoholic beverages made me want to drink. So for the first year I did not go anywhere where alcohol might be served. This may seem drastic but it turned out to be a huge help with my cravings and general state of mind.
Keep your gratitude list close, in your wallet or in your car. Update the list of positive things in your sober life – whether it is people, animals, feelings, accomplishments or even the weather or the fact that you got to put clean clothes on your body today. Look at the list and remind yourself how far you have come. It’s a strong tool for relapse prevention.
We all feel better after eight hours of sleep, a good meal, and hot shower. Treat your body right when you are in recovery, from sleeping enough to exercising and eating a healthy diet, the better your physical body feels the better your emotional state and the less likely you are to relapse!
There is no better way to get your feelings out than journaling. It will keep you accountable to yourself and provide you with a place to write about your struggles. And in today’s technology driven world, your journal can just as easily be on your phone and nicely secured. You can add pictures and quotes to help you on the most challenging days.
MAKE NEW FRIENDS
Your friends from before recovery may no longer be the best people to hang out with – in fact, I am pretty sure that they are not the right people to hang out with at all! it is important that you find a social support group that actively supports your sobriety. Check out sober recovery groups like AA and NA – they are only two of the many available that support a sober lifestyle. Being sober does not mean you cannot be social. Keep a phone list with you of your sober support system, so if the urge arises you can get support immediately.
Recovery is a complicated journey that may sometimes include a relapse. BUT don’t get discouraged if you have one, just get back to sobriety as soon as possible. Then try to be sensible with the hopes you set for yourself. Achieve your goals incrementally breaking it into smaller bites makes it easier to achieve success and ultimately those small successes will lead to a successful recovery! Relapse prevention means taking a really good care of yourself. After all you are the most important person in your life!
You are worth it and you are stronger than your disease!
If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with alcohol addiction, please click the Find Support link for an extensive list of support groups. Also please check out the links to many useful resources in the sidebar, and always feel free to contact me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may also find some great inspiration and support from all the awesome sober bloggers listed in the side bar under POSTS I LIKE and RECOVERY BLOGGERS, as well as Sober Courage page on Facebook and Sober Courage on Twitter.