A relapse can happen to anyone in recovery from addiction to drugs or alcohol. Anywhere from forty to sixty percent of people learning to manage addiction will relapse at some point, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Learning what steps to take to help if a loved one relapses is the first thing that you can do to promote a healthy recovery after relapse.
Provide Support If a Loved One Relapses
Many family members and friends may initially feel that it is best to provide support for a loved one who relapses. This reaction may not provide the motivation that your loved one needs to seek help for their addiction. The best reaction is to make sure that you don’t try to make excuses for your loved one, but that you continue to allow your loved one to take responsibility for their actions and hold them accountable for their behaviors. You can try focusing on the steps that were learned during the initial treatment plan and try to help if a loved one relapses. Have your loved one contact a drug counselor or another person with experience in treating drug and alcohol addiction.
Understanding Addiction and Relapses
One thing that is important for family members to know is that addiction is a lifelong disease that may require more than one treatment to prevent future relapse. Many people with drug or alcohol addiction feel badly when they relapse. You should try to avoid blaming your loved one. If a loved one relapses, allow them to experience the feelings of guilt or remorse without interfering. It can be difficult to avoid expressing negative emotions when a loved one relapses. Finding ways to relieve your own stress, such as going to a yoga class, may be helpful. You can also support your loved one by simply being there for them, without discussing the relapse.
Avoiding Triggers Helps Prevent Relapse
If your loved one is addicted to alcohol, one of the simplest things that you can do is remove all alcohol from your home and avoid situations where alcohol may be served while you are with your loved one. Avoiding potentially triggering situations can be difficult, however, since each person is unique and even happy occasions can be linked to a relapse.
Providing your loved one with access to treatment options and making healthy lifestyle choices that your loved one can share with you are some simple things that you can do immediately after a relapse. Remember, if a loved one relapses, it does not mean that recovery is over.
Seek Help if a Loved One Relapses
Talking with a drug counselor or contacting a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center are both vital when there has been a relapse. Even if your loved one isn’t willing to seek treatment themselves, you can find supportive advice to assist you during this difficult time. You can also learn more about why relapse happens and find people who can provide you with a supportive network during these difficult times.
Formal treatment can reduce the risk of relapse, but about twenty to thirty percent of people completing addiction treatment at a drug rehabilitation center will experience relapse at some point. Remember that relapse doesn’t mean that your loved one has failed, only that they need additional treatment to manage their addiction permanently.