Recovery is an ongoing process that addicts will have to maintain for the rest of their lives. From time to time, triggers occur that can cause a relapse. Supporting an addict who relapsed is difficult. However, they need support to get back on track to being sober. You can start by building a strong bond with your loved one. Additionally, you can educate yourself about relapse and why it occurs. Finally, act quickly when you realize relapse is possible.
What is Relapse?
Abstinence from an addictive substance is a goal all those in recovery face daily. Slip-ups can happen, leading to relapse. About half of people in recovery from addiction relapse at some point in their sobriety. Staying sober and living a healthy lifestyle are challenges to maintain. Supporting an addict who has relapsed can make all the difference. It can help them regain sobriety. As well, it can lessen the chances they will relapse again.
Recognize the Signs of Relapse
Relapse does not always happen during recovery. However, educating yourself on the signs and symptoms of relapse can be helpful. It can help you support an addict who has relapsed. They may be afraid to reach out for help. Being educated can help them open up about their struggles. Along with that, it can help them stop feeling guilt and shame about what happened. There are warning signs that show relapse may be about to happen. Additionally, they can show that relapse has already occurred. The signs include:
- Association with old friends who are still using drugs and/or alcohol
- Withdrawing from time spent with family, friends, and supportive allies in recovery
- Negative actions at work or school that may point to a relapse
- State beliefs that it’s okay to use drugs or alcohol once or twice without losing sobriety
Recognizing triggers while supporting an addict who has relapsed may also be helpful in determining the strategy to use in supporting your loved one.
- Choosing to go out to bars and nightclubs
- Troubles in relationships
- Increased stress levels at work, school, or in living situations
- Experiencing boredom in lifestyle
Creating a safe and loving supportive relationship during a relapse will encourage hope and trust to reestablish sobriety and reinvent recovery options. Avoiding anger and condemnation will allow this to happen. Empathetic feelings and conveyances will help to relieve feelings of guilt and shame. Supporting an addict who has relapsed involves not making excuses or building enabling behaviors that encourage codependency, but keeping communications honest and real as to why the relapse occurred can keep additional relapses from happening.
The Importance of Support in Addiction Recovery
The importance of support in addiction recovery can’t be stressed enough. Having a supportive group of people surrounding the addict in recovery builds a sense of security and generates confidence and willpower to continue the struggle for sobriety. Supporting an addict who relapsed is a continuation of the commitment made to achieve lifelong sobriety and build on experiences to learn and achieve goals. Support is crucial in relapse or a downward spiral could occur and recovery would have to begin again from the start.
In supporting an addict who has relapsed it is important to remember that addiction is a medical illness and physical and emotional symptoms can occur during a relapse that are difficult to respond to. These symptoms can include overdose as the body has not been exposed to the substance over a period of time and with relapse, the symptoms could be more intense from the substance usage. Supporting professional treatment at this time shows proper concern and support for your loved one.
Educate yourself in knowing what to say while supporting an addict who has relapsed. Offering the options to talk about the experience or not when addressing the relapse is important. Allow for consideration that the addict has been sober for a period of time, and it is totally possible to recreate their sober experience by starting again. Asking the relapsed addict what they need and how you can help them is very important. Reassurance and empathy are what the relapsed addict needs to move forward. Healthy conversations need to be used when supporting an addict who has relapsed.
Encourage Professional Treatment When Supporting an Addict Who Relapsed
If you find yourself supporting an addict who relapsed, don’t give up. Encourage professional treatment immediately when relapse occurs. The addicted in relapse need to notify their recovery team of relapse and learn what guidelines to follow to ensure an end to the relapse and start another journey in sobriety. Educate the addict and the team concerning the triggers that caused an escalation towards relapse. This needs to be identified and thoroughly examined to understand and learn from it. Of course, a new treatment team is an option, but depending on supportive love and reinforcement from loved ones can ensure the addicted loved one will succeed in staying sober again. Supporting an addict who has relapsed can take a toll on you, so be sure to take care of yourself as well. Lean on others who have experienced similar situations.
Getting Help When Supporting an Addict Who Relapsed
If you are in the Los Angeles area, or in California, Riviera Recovery has trained and supportive mental health and substance abuse professionals who can certainly help your relapsed loved one. If you are looking for support for yourself or your loved one, we have answers to your questions. We offer treatment options for the relapsed addict and support for you and others within the support system. Simply contact us today. We welcome you and your loved one to speak with us immediately to alleviate the possibility of future issues with recovery. Supporting an addict who has relapsed can be a fulfilling journey. We look forward to being a helpful part of that journey.