Relapse is not inevitable but it does happen to many people. Knowing what to do when it happens can help you get on track in recovery. Substance use disorder is a chronic disease, so it has to be managed on a daily basis. Triggers, cravings, and other things will set it off and the brain will want to gravitate towards those things. Don’t get too comfortable in sobriety or let healthy routines slip away. Find some support from family and know you’re not alone.
Relapse is not a part of recovery, but it does enter people’s lives on that difficult journey. Rates hover between 40 and 60 percent. New approaches to treatment can help people recover without relapsing. The chronic nature of addiction means people may relapse or return to drug use after they try to stop. Relapse occurs for many reasons, but people simply need to focus on the day-to-day. When families get involved in their loved one’s recovery, they often are not sure how best to support them. Recovery is lonely, so the family can offer support by letting them know they are not alone. It may take hitting rock bottom but being willing to change is key to healing.
Signs of Relapse
Sometimes relapse can happen when a person is not expecting it. The family may see things going well and not expect it, either. Before a person uses substances, they drop the healthy habits of recovery and begin to do some of the following:
- Drop out of meetings
- Withdraw from loved ones
- Seem disengaged or disinterested in recovery
People around them may allow them to withdraw, but family should be aware this is a sign they are struggling with. Maybe something is going on in their life that is causing stress or pressure. They need support now more than ever. If a relapse happens, it will be okay. It is part of the journey, but it means taking immediate steps to reconnect with recovery community and finding hope and healing that make the difference.
Family members often mean well but don’t always know how to help a loved one navigate a relapse when it happens. If someone has relapsed, they need extra love and compassion, along with support. The more work put into recovery, the better it will be (and more successful).
A Step in the Right Direction provides high-quality therapeutic support and techniques for people in rehab for addiction. We treat people who relapse and support those struggling before they relapse. We offer family therapy and other programs to bring loved ones together in a supportive environment to learn about addiction and recovery. For more information, on sober living programs for men and women as well as recovery programs, call (877) 377-3702.