How do I keep going after relapse?

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  1. Evidence shows that eventually, in the months after stopping substance use, the brain rewires itself so that craving diminishes and the ability to control behavior increases.
  2. Good treatment programs recognize the relapse process and teach people workable exit strategies from such experiences.
  3. As people continue to practice poor self-care, they transition into a mental relapse.
  4. It is important to do some self-reflection and figure out what happened.
  5. Relapse means that something is missing in your recovery plan.

Attending or resuming attending meetings of some form of mutual support group can be extremely valuable immediately after a lapse or relapse. Discussing the relapse can yield valuable advice on how to continue recovery without succumbing to the counterproductive feelings of shame or self-pity. Prolonged stress during childhood dysregulates the normal stress response and can lastingly impair emotion regulation and cognitive development. What is more, it can alter the sensitivity of the stress response system so that it overresponds to low levels of threat, making people feel easily overwhelmed by life’s normal difficulties.

Coping With a Relapse

The brain is remarkably plastic—it shapes and reshapes itself, adapts itself in response to experience and environment. This step may be particularly tough, especially if you’ve hurt your friends and family members with your addiction in the past. But support from the most important people in your life is critically important if you want to recover for good. When you approach loved ones, do so honestly and make sure you intend to go through with whatever you promise to do. It seems like there are so many factors working against you. However, addiction can be treated and sobriety is possible.

But the truth is, it’s just a natural part of the recovery process. Think about triggers, emotions, or events that led you to relapse. BetterHelp can connect you to an addiction and mental health counselor. At this stage, people experience an internal struggle to resume substance use and the desire to remain sober.

If you relapse, you’re bound to experience negative emotions. You’re bound to experience guilt or the feeling that you’ll never fully recover. Obviously, avoiding as many of these factors as possible is helpful when you’re in recovery, but some (like mental illness or trauma) are out of your control. Others can be difficult to control, especially when you’re already in a vulnerable emotional state (i.e. combating addiction).

Physical relapse

You just have to use your resources efficiently to create the desired outcomes. We need to discuss our relapse with a sober person on our accountability team as soon as possible. We do not want to keep a relapse a secret because it will lead to other relapses. Honesty and transparency are a big part of a lot of programs. But we must give ourselves some grace and be compassionate to ourselves.

If you or someone you know experiences a relapse, there are things that you can do to cope and get help. Stress-relieving techniques are critical for coping in sustained recovery. By knowing these cues, you’ll know what to avoid next time. While these tips are a great launching point, everyone’s needs are unique. I recommend you work with a specialized therapist to develop your own toolkit, and dive into specific tactics that will empower your success. When an addicted person acts on their craving, a surge of neurotransmitters causes them to feel pleasure.

What to Do After Relapse Occurs

You or a loved one would benefit from recommitting to recovery. Try speaking to an addiction counselor or sponsor who can help you to work through cravings and a  desire to use. Health professionals should help people in this stage acquire critical coping skills.

Mutual support groups are usually structured so that each member has at least one experienced person to call on in an emergency, someone who has also undergone a relapse and knows exactly how to help. The longer someone neglects self-care, the more that inner tension builds to the point of discomfort and discontent. Cognitive resistance weakens and a source of escape takes on appeal. This stage is characterized by a tug of war between past habits and the desire to change. Thinking about and romanticizing past drug use, hanging out with old friends, lying, and thoughts about relapse are danger signs. Individuals may be bargaining with themselves about when to use, imagining that they can do so in a controlled way.

With self-compassion, take time after a relapse to identify where you may have entered emotional or mental relapse. Were there any signs and risk factors leading up to the lapse or relapse? Approach this part of the process like a researcher, gathering evidence so difference between molly and ectasy that things can be improved. Reflect and make note of the thoughts, behaviors, and actions that led to the relapse, and use these to strengthen your Relapse Prevention Plan. By definition, lapse refers to a temporary failure of concentration, judgment, or memory.