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What Do I Do After a Relapse?

When someone stops abusing drugs or alcohol, they have a lot to be proud of because they have done a lot of hard work. Still, the temptation to drink or get high again can tempt even the strongest of person and they end up back in their addiction again. At this point, they will wonder what to do to get back on track which leaves them asking, “What to do after a relapse?” Buckhead Behavioral Health tackles this question so we can help people avoid returning to a life of addiction just because they slipped up.

What is a Relapse?

When someone who is addicted to drugs or alcohol overcomes their addiction, they have begun to live a sober life. For them, using substances again is not an option. For example, someone who has an alcohol use disorder cannot stop drinking for a period of time but then have an alcoholic drink here and there. When a person with a substance use disorder finds themselves unable to resist temptation and starts using substances again, they are said to have relapsed. This usually does not mean having one drink or taking one dosage of a drug and then not using it again. It means the individual returns to consistently using a substance again. Many find they just stay lost in using old behaviors and don’t find the strength to ask themselves, “What to do after a relapse?”

What Substance Use Disorders Can End Up in a Relapse?

People can become addicted to a number of different substances but still find a way to enter recovery. At the same time, they risk relapsing when it comes to any of them if they aren’t vigilant about their recovery or don’t have the right kind of professional treatment. The types of substances people can relapse and begin using again include:

What Causes People to Relapse?

A big part of learning what to do after a relapse begins with identifying what contributed to relapsing in the first place. Everyone has different reasons why they ended their sobriety and begin drinking or using drugs again, but there are some common ones many people experience. 

  • Living with or spending time with people who have a substance use disorder
  • Isolating and often being alone
  • Not attending aftercare programs provided by a treatment center
  • Not going to support groups such as 12-step programs
  • Visiting public or private places where the person used to drink or use drugs
  • Experiencing an untreated mental health disorder like PTSD, anxiety, or depression
  • Believing it’s okay to have an occasional drink or binge drinking episode or to use drugs again
  • Experiencing a serious life event like the death of a loved one, a divorce, financial crisis, or job loss
  • Not having a reliable support system of people who support the person’s recovery
  • Not working on staying sober every day
  • Not practicing self-care like eating healthy, exercising, and getting enough sleep

How to Keep From Having a Relapse

Working at staying sober is an ongoing practice that takes effort every day. Don’t assume just because you graduated from a treatment program or banked 30 days sober that all the hard work is done. While many of the difficult days have passed, you must stay mindful on a daily basis in order to continue enjoying a sober life. Ways to avoid relapsing include:

  • Attend an aftercare program provided by your treatment facility
  • Join a support group or group therapy system that helps people in recovery
  • Continue with individual therapy to help stay on top of issues and emotions that crop up as you build a sober life
  • Seek treatment for any mental health disorder you have, such as PTSD, anxiety, depression, and others
  • Create a healthy lifestyle that includes good nutrition, regular exercise, and a reliable sleep pattern
  • Do not return to relationships with people who are still active in their addictions
  • Be honest with yourself when you feel any temptation to relapse

What To Do After a Relapse?

If you find you ended up drinking or using drugs again and experiencing a downward spiral, remember you can still regain control. There are many things to do when it comes to what to do after a relapse. The first step is to admit that you have relapsed and not try to write it off as just a small issue that will resolve itself. Talk to a trusted person in your circle of friends and family and tell them what has happened.

Get back into treatment quickly. You can contact the treatment center you previously attended or look for a new one that may offer you the approach you need. Sometimes all a person needs is some daytime therapy sessions to get back on track. Others may need to attend detox or begin an intensive treatment program if they have relapsed enough to require that treatment.

Remember that relapse happens to many people and does not indicate you are a bad person or are incapable of standing back up and getting sober again. Addiction is a disease and sometimes needs more than one round of treatment. You can learn from a relapse and let the experience help you from relapsing again down the line.

Find Treatment For Addiction in Atlanta

Did you feel like you overcame your addiction to drugs or alcohol but then slipped up and started using again? If so, you likely want to know what to do after a relapse. Buckhead Behavioral Health has extensive experience treating people who have undergone a relapse with alcohol and drug rehab in Atlanta. Our staff of addiction experts understands how to help you discover what led to a relapse and how to build up the skills to avoid it happening again. Our variety of therapies address past and current events that make using drugs or alcohol tempting and help you resolve them for good.
Are you trying to bounce back from a relapse and need help? Visit our admissions page now and let us help you avoid returning to substance abuse for good.

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