A relapse has happened. What are you going to do about it? What are your options? Who should you tell or should you keep it a secret? There are many avenues down which you may travel after relapsing back into substance abuse. The best and most healthy option is to ask for help immediately instead of wallowing in shame and guilt. It is absolutely natural to have these negative feelings and to be remorseful for your actions but don't sit mired in the problem - seek a solution.
Cornerstone's treatment team has come up with a few steps to take after a relapse event. There is always an underlying reason why we relapse and the task at hand should be to uncover that reason, learn from it and move on as a stronger person because of it. When you stumble off the path the only way to keep going is to get back on track!
Here are the steps you should take after relapsing:
- Do not wait - act immediately to find help. - You are going to feel remorseful due to your actions. You will be angry at yourself and in this moment it can be easy to throw your hands up and simply give up. DON'T!! Recovery and sobriety is about choosing the best path even when it is not the easy path. Think of your friends and family and remember that you were able to do it before and you can do it again. Call your sponsor or a sober friend right away and tell them what happened.
- Take responsibility for your actions and don't minimize anything. - So you have called your sponsor or a sober friend. Did you tell them the truth? The WHOLE truth? You must remember that sobriety is living your life by a code of rigorous honesty and transparency. Minimizing the issue or leaving out pieces of the story will not help you.
- Use the AA community and seek support from your sponsor or family. - Your sponsor, family and friends want the best for you and may initially be disappointed that you have stumbled along your path but ultimately they will commend you for coming to them right away and not hiding your mistake. By telling them you have helped to protect yourself from yourself.
- Seek professional help. - Call the treatment center where you got help in the past or a counselor who has worked with you before. Make an appointment to see them or even to re-admit to a treatment program. There is no shame in going back to a rehab you have been to before. Reputable treatment centers like Cornerstone understand the struggles and pitfalls that occur in recovery and can be instrumental in getting you back on track in sobriety.
- Learn from it and grow. - Use this as a learning experience. Remember the lead up to the relapse and who and what you were getting into at the time so in the future you may be able to see the relapse storm brewing and chart a new course.