One of the biggest questions we get from people who are concerned about entering a treatment program an investing in their own recovery is what happens if they relapse. Does a relapse mean failure? Is it all over after that? These are legitimate concerns when you’re spending a lot of time and energy to battle your way out of a debilitating drug addiction.

The answer, of course, is no it’s not the end of the world. Relapse happens. It’s unfortunate, we all wish it weren’t so, but in the journey to train yourself out of a habitual addiction, there may be a few slip-ups that set you back a few steps. Here are a few ways we encourage you to deal with a relapse should it occur in your post-treatment recovery phase.

Admit the Reality

It’s important to take a step back and be honest with yourself. Don’t try to deny what happens or blame someone else. Being honest with others and with yourself takes courage and commitment to a better life. Take responsibility for your relapse and prepare to dive back into the the recovery.

Contact a Sponsor

Most recovering addicts, especially those that have been through a treatment program, have some sort of support group or sobriety sponsor that works with them throughout recovery. If you relapse, the first person you call is this sponsor. Like a recovery coach, the sponsor will help you get back into treatment or a meeting to get you back on the right track.

Get to a Meeting

After admitting fault and talking to your trusted adviser, the next step is to get back into a support group or sobriety meeting. These environments are supportive social circles full of people who have been exactly where you are now. They’re relapsed and recovered and relapsed again. It’s an ongoing struggle and the people in your support group are there to guide you through it in solidarity.

Pace Yourself

This is a long term change to your whole life, not a quick fix for a long-standing and deeply embedded issue. It will take some time to make it all the way out of the danger zone. Take things one day at a time and try not to get too hard on yourself for slip-ups. What matters is you get back on your feet, clean out your system, and start counting sober days again.

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