What to Do if a Loved One Relapses

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What to Do if a Loved One Relapses

Relapse can happen to anyone in recovery from addiction to drugs or alcohol. Forty to sixty percent of recovering alcoholics 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.  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 bad 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

Anyone addicted to alcohol should remove all alcohol from the home and avoid situations where alcohol may be served.  Avoiding potentially triggering situations can be difficult, however, since each person is unique and even happy occasions can be linked to relapse.

Remember that addiction is like any other chronic disease.  It may need to be treated more than once before a long-term solution is found.  It’s also important to note that detox is not a cure for addiction.  It is merely the first step in a process that includes counseling, skills training, and aftercare.

Access to treatment options and healthy lifestyle choices are helpful after relapse. Remember, if a loved one relapses, it does not mean that recovery is over.

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Benefits of Sober Living Homes after Rehab

Relapse is most likely to happen in the first 3 months after rehab.  For that reason, we strongly recommend an aftercare program.  An aftercare facility can be in the form of a sober living home.  In these facilities, recovering individuals are free to come and to go as needed. However, they must adhere to house rules, do their share, and report to scheduled counseling.

Other types of aftercare include outpatient programs where the individual lives at home but attends counseling sessions as required.   These programs are essential to avoiding relapse.  They provide continuing support, guidance, and encouragement during this sensitive time.  Some aftercare programs help individuals find employment, transportation, arrange childcare and provide other services.

Seek Help if a Loved One Relapses

Talking with a drug counselor or a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center is vital if relapse occurs. Even if your loved one isn’t willing to seek treatment themselves, you can find supportive advice to assist you during this difficult time. Also, learn more about why relapse happens.  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 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.

Let A Forever Recovery Help

When relapse happens, the first thing you should do is get professional help.  Relapse is a sign that more work needs to be done.  Our team of experts can provide the education, support, and training that are essential for lasting recovery.

Learn more about how A Forever Recovery can help you or a loved one stay on the path of sobriety.  Call our toll-free number today.  One of our representatives will be available to answer your questions and recommend a treatment program for your needs.


  • verywellmind.com – Dealing With Having a Relapse

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