You’ve had a relapse again. Now what? The word relapse is perhaps the most ominous word in the addiction recovery vocabulary. Why? Because regardless if you have been sober one month or 20 years, relapse again is a possibility every addict or alcoholic faces. Does a relapse mean that it was all for nothing, that you’re a failure? Absolutely not! But what’s next?
The Emotional Turmoil
A relapse is possibly the most devastating blow to a person’s recovery. The emotional stress can seem unbearable. You’re feeling shame and guilt. You’re embarrassed. An overwhelming, gut-wrenching, all-consuming sense of failure fills you to the core. Your body aches with misery. You want to hide away from the public shaming and ridicule you are positive will follow if anyone found out.
What you’re feeling is normal. It’s what you do next that makes all of the difference. Yes, relapse hurts. But remember, we don’t regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it (p.84 Big Book). We learn from our past. Just like understanding your past helped in your initial recovery, understanding your relapse will help you going forward in sobriety.
The Spiritual Crisis
You might be agonizing over letting your Higher Power down, or worse, your Higher Power let you down. Make no mistake; neither is true. It’s an impossibility. Conscious contact with a higher power is foundational in addiction recovery. There is nothing you can do to disappoint your Higher Power.
One thing to help assuage this feeling is through prayer or meditation, or whatever method you use to connect with your Higher Power. The sooner you do this, the faster you can get back on track. In Step 2 we came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity, so it is vital to reconnect. Now you know what to do after relapse. Now what to do is seek help.
The Next Steps
So, now you realize that the emotional roller coaster you’ve been experiencing is a perfectly natural reaction to relapse, and you understand the importance of strengthening your conscious contact with your Higher Power. But, what next? There are a few things you should do and consider in getting your sobriety jump-started.
First, understand that it’s no one’s fault. Not yours or anyone else’s. Next, you need to tell someone. Yes, tell someone that you relapsed. Call your sponsor (if you have one) or counselor, or anyone that you trust you can confide in. Then within 24-hours get to a 12-Step meeting to be around those that understand. They will reassure you and comfort you when you need it most – after relapse. Now what you need is support and encouragement.
Another thing to consider is seeking more help. Finding a good affordable addiction treatment center can make all of the difference in some. Even if you’ve been to rehab before, sometimes the time away from everything and focusing only on yourself and your recovery is needed. In the right setting away from the hectic pace of the world, you can work with a counselor to dig deep and fully understand why you relapsed.
Going forward your goal is relapse prevention. Sobriety awaits you even after a relapse. Choosing a treatment facility centered in the 12 Steps with a holistic overview may just be right for you. If you are ready for the deep introspective work needed for lasting sobriety, Serenity Vista offers an intimate setting with no more than 6 guests, lots of individual attention and a program tailored for you.