5 Tips on What to Do After a Relapse


Relapse is devastating for recovering addicts. However, it’s not the end of the story.

George A. Custer said, “It’s not how many times you get knocked down that count, it’s how many times you get back up.”

More than half of all recovering addicts relapse after a year of recovery. This number is due to several factors, ranging from a lack of support to physical health.

Successful recovery accounts for the reality of relapse.

Learn what to do after a relapse with this essential guide for recovering addicts.

1. Self Reflect

You can’t bounce back from relapse without reflecting on what went wrong.

Your first step after relapse is deep personal reflection.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Did I feel ready to leave my recovery program?
  • What were the influences around me after recovery?
  • Was I feeling anxious and depressed?
  • Did I struggle to find a new career?
  • Did I experience a recent death of a loved one?
  • Did I go through a breakup?
  • Did I feel genuinely supported

It’s vital to identify the internal and external factors that lead to relapse.

2. What to Do After a Relapse When You’re Alone

One reason why recovering addicts fall into relapse is that they lack a support system.

Does this situation sound familiar?

It’s essential to build a support network to maintain your recovery.

You’re just a human, not a superhero. There’s going to be times when you need a shoulder to lean on. When no one is there, you’re more likely to succumb to relapse.

But where do you go when you don’t have supportive friends and family?

There are recovering addicts just like yourself in the same situation. The best way to meet them is to attend recovery support groups.

You can find support groups at hospitals, community centers, clinics, and private rehab centers.

3. Go Back to Rehab

Since support systems are so essential for recovery, you should go back back to rehab after a relapse.

Go back with a fresh perspective and commitment toward recovery. Talk to an addiction specialist to clarify your goals for recovery.

If your previous program didn’t go well, you don’t have to go back. Find a treatment center that’s a better fit.

Do your research. There are several questions to ask when searching for addiction rehab. Check the latest reviews on Google, social media, and Yelp too!

4. Embrace Healthy Living

Another way to sustain recovery is to prioritize your physical and mental health.

Many recovering addicts struggle with depression and anxiety post-recovery. It’s critical to face these issues head-on, so they don’t lead to relapse.

First, see a therapist after leaving your recovery program. Set up weekly appointments to remain consistent.

Embrace healthy eating after recovery.

Recovery programs teach healthy eating, as well. Maintain your progress by ditching unhealthy fast food and sugars.

Take a mindful approach to recovery too.

Mindfulness emphasizes self-awareness, meditation, clean eating, exercise, and improvement.

5. Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself

After experiencing relapse, the first thing you feel is shame.

While this feeling is natural, don’t wallow in your shame. You can’t get back up unless you forgive yourself first.

The harder you are on yourself, the harder it is to maintain recovery. Leave room to make mistakes.

You’re only human!

Take the Next Step

You know what to do after a relapse. Now, you have the tools to get back up and try again.

Remember these tips when you’re struggling with the recovery process.

Check back often for more essential tips for moving onward and upward with your life.

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a husband, father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market. Click to learn more about me

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