While it’s not an inevitability, relapse is an unfortunately common part of the addiction recovery process. The difficult reality is that setbacks are more common than not as we and the people we care about endeavor to sustain lifelong sobriety. When you suffer a slip or are faced with the relapse of a loved one, it can feel as though all of the progress you’ve made in treatment and recovery has vanished into thin air and that you’re left to pick up all the pieces; nothing can be further from the truth. It’s entirely possible for you or your loved to bounce back and return to the path of recovery; however, the initial moments following relapse can be critical to your chances of success.
Have A Plan
Having a contingency for the relapse of a loved one is critical to help them get back on track. These plans are different for every person, depending on their care needs, lifestyle and addiction history; however, they often include deployment of post-treatment recovery resources like AA meetings, their therapists, medications and more. Having a plan for relapse is just as important for having a plan to prevent. These plans can mitigate the fallout of the relapse experience and help you or your loved one quickly get back into treatment. Relapse plans should be designed with the help of one or more people in our support system.
Compassion, Firmness and Resolve
Dealing with the relapse of a loved one requires calmness, resolve and action. It can be very easy to be paralyzed by emotion; however, we must realize that the longer we sit idle, the worse our loved one’s relapse may get. As the people with whom our loved ones have entrusted their recovery, we must do everything we can to ensure that whatever relapse occurs is brief and minimally destructive. We must stick to the parameters that we’ve set forth as conditions of their recovery and utilize the resources in their aftercare plan that they developed in treatment. Dealing with the relapse of a loved one can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to mean the end of their recovery.