Getting Back Up After a Relapse
So you relapsed and went back to the drug you’re addicted to. It happens. It comes with a boat load of shame and guilt and doubt too. But don’t start to beat yourself up over slipping up once. The more important matter at hand is how to prevent it from happening again.
First of all, give yourself some credit. After developing a difficult drug or alcohol addiction that was a problem in your life, you did the right thing and went through treatment to get clean and sober. That’s a big deal and you should be proud of yourself for going through that process. The long war against relapse commences as soon as you come out of rehab and it’s got its own difficulties and casualties. Maybe the temptations got to you and you slipped up. Had a drink or took a hit. It’s not the end of the world, at least not yet.
Focus your attention less on the failure of having fallen and more on the reasons that led to the relapse. Understand what triggers your addictive behavior and take steps to avoid those triggers in the future. Be aware of the social triggers and situations that will make you want to resort back to your drug of choice. Sometimes a celebration or gathering of old friends can make it seem harmless and almost appropriate to have one drink. But you can’t. You won’t.
Relapses can happen when you’re not suspecting anything. They sneak up on you when you’re weak or vulnerable, during times of depression or self-pity. These things can be counter-balanced but it’s important to stay vigilant and always be on the lookout for stray thoughts or impulses that are leading you down a path you’ve already decided you don’t want to travel anymore. You know the consequences.
If you’ve suffered a relapse and you’re wondering what to do next, remember that you aren’t alone. Attend a meeting or reach out to your sponsor to confess. Admitting that the addiction got the best of you when you weren’t paying attention is a solid step toward preventing it in the future. Stay positive and reaffirm your commitment to a sober and clean life. Stay close to the people in your support network and surround yourself with work and hobbies that keep you focused.
Everyone slips. Just make sure you don’t allow one little slip-up to turn into a massive backslide.