After a relapse get back to recovery and staying sober

Relapse is a part of recovery that many addicts and alcoholics may face at some point. Although it’s best to avoid relapse by implementing sound relapse prevention strategies, it’s also critical to know how to pick yourself up if it happens. Relapse shouldn’t be viewed as a failure, but rather a stumbling block on your long-term path to sobriety.


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  • re-evaluate your relapse prevention strategy
  • attend meetings
  • consider returning to treatment
  • talk to an addiction professional
  • keep busy

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  • give up
  • hang out with toxic people
  • go on a bender
  • rush your recovery
  • pretend it didn’t happen

[publishpress_authors_data]'s recommendation to ExpertBeacon readers: Do

Do re-evaluate your relapse prevention strategy

If you’ve relapsed, that means that something wasn’t working. Take a careful look at your relapse prevention plan to identify what went wrong and how you can avoid it in the future. Create a detailed relapse prevention strategy that draws on your support network, addresses your triggers, and provides you with multiple options for beating relapse.

Do attend meetings

After relapse, you should amp up your continuing treatment methods. That means attending support group meetings as often as possible, even more than once a day. It may help you to talk about the reasons for your relapse and hear stories from others who have been in your situation. It will also keep you on the path to sobriety.

Do consider returning to treatment

There are many types of treatment available to you, even if you’ve already completed a rehab program. Remember that relapsing doesn’t mean that your treatment failed; it just indicates that you could benefit from further support. Consider an outpatient treatment program, which still allows you to attend to your daily responsibilities and spend the night at home while undergoing structured treatment.

Do talk to an addiction professional

So you’re going to meetings and you’ve revamped your relapse prevention plan, but you may also want to arrange some one-on-one therapy sessions with a counselor. This can give you the chance to address your personal issues in more detail, in a way that support groups may not be able to do. An addiction professional also can help you to design a strong relapse prevention plan.

Do keep busy

After relapsing, you may be tempted to wallow in disappointment. Don’t let yourself! Stay busy through exercise, hobbies, work, and meeting friends and family. It might be time to learn some new skills, whether they’re personal or professional. Take a cooking class or think about going back to school to explore new opportunities.

[publishpress_authors_data]'s professional advice to ExpertBeacon readers: Don't

Do not give up

You have not failed. Addiction is a challenging disease and it takes time to feel secure in your recovery. Get right back on track and learn from the experience so you don’t repeat it in the future.

Do not hang out with toxic people

Were you with anyone else when you relapsed? If the answer is yes, you may need to re-evaluate your relationship with that person. If they knew you were in recovery and still enabled you to relapse, they are not on your side. You might have already cut out some people from your life, but take another look and make sure you have supportive people around you.

Do not go on a bender

It doesn’t matter if your relapse was a sip of alcohol or a blowout weekend. Don’t use it as an excuse to ‘get it out of your system’ or slide back into addiction. Strengthen your recovery efforts and re-commit to sobriety.

Do not rush your recovery

If you recognize that you need further treatment, don’t rush it. If needed, give yourself permission to take 30, 60, 90 days for treatment – whatever it takes. Many people make the mistake of checking into rehab for a brief, intense period after a relapse, when they really need to stay longer than 2 weeks.

Do not pretend it didn’t happen

You need to accept your relapse, otherwise you put yourself at risk for doing it again. Let yourself grieve if necessary. It’s okay to be disappointed, but don’t push it to the back of your mind. Learn from it and use that knowledge to make you stronger.


Relapse happens, but it’s not a sign of failure. You can overcome relapse by examining the situation and committing to your sobriety. Recovery takes time, and there will be unexpected challenges along the way, but also unexpected rewards. Don’t give up; you can do it!

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