Finding Hope: What to Do After a Relapse

June 13, 2023

Written By: Katie Noetzel, BSN, RN, CEN

Addiction is considered a chronic relapsing disorder. This means that if you experience a relapse, you are experiencing a normal part of the recovery process. In treatment for any kind of addiction at Buena Vista Recovery, the goal is to minimize the risk of relapse. However, if you experience a relapse, you have not failed. Buena Vista can help you find hope and begin to understand the reasons behind your relapse.

Recovery is not a single-step journey, and your path may take you in many directions. However, if you carry on after going through challenges like relapse, you can successfully heal from addiction and create a new sober life.

The Nature of Relapse

When you are in recovery from addiction, you are not “cured.” As a result, you have to make changes to your life that support your sobriety. However, figuring out what these changes should be takes time. If you went to treatment and have relapses, this means that there is more to change in your life. Another thing that can help is learning more about the nature of relapse. Education, after all, is power.

Relapse is not a single-step process. While it is often thought of as the use of a substance after a time of sobriety, the process of relapse truly starts weeks or months prior. Relapse begins with what is called emotional relapse. This is where you begin to shut yourself off from people and stop caring for your needs. Mental relapse occurs next, where you begin thinking about past use. At this stage, an internal battle begins. After a mental relapse, you then move into a physical relapse in which you use drugs or alcohol again.

What to Do After a Relapse: Finding Post-Relapse Treatment

If you have already gone to treatment, you know the basic steps of addiction treatment. The steps often include medically supervised detox to heal physically and working with a counselor to change your behavior surrounding substance abuse. However, after relapsing, there are other components. In post-relapse treatment at Buena Vista, you will gain a better understanding of your relapse and make a new and improved plan moving forward.

Understanding Your Relapse

As you gain an understanding of relapse as a whole, you may begin to see where your issues began. However, you may not understand it fully without help, because the process of relapse is complex. This is where Buena Vista can be of assistance. By working with a counselor, you will explore your relapse more deeply. You will improve your awareness of moments, habits, and relationships that played a role in your physical relapse.

The specifics of your relapse will be unique to you. This is why it is so important to put the work in to understand what impacted your relapse. It is normal to feel uncomfortable, embarrassed, or ashamed when discussing relapse. However, the discussion of your experience can help you to be able to make changes in the future.

Creating a New and Improved Plan

Once you have a better understanding of your relapse, you are in a good position to create a new and improved plan moving forward. This plan will be unique to fit your needs. However, it may include better self-care skills, changes in relationships, or a plan to get more consistent support in peer groups.

By creating a relapse prevention plan for your future, you are taking an important step. This is to admit that what you tried before didn’t work. When you admit that you need help and that you need a new plan, you are moving forward. Remember, recovery is a journey. There will be many twists and turns along the way, sometimes including relapse. However, if you stick with it, you can heal.

Buena Vista Helps You Find Hope After Relapse

If you have attended treatment and find yourself relapsing, that is okay, and treatment at Buena Vista Recovery can help. Treatment at Buena Vista Recovery includes medically supervised treatments that help you heal. The combination of detox, managing withdrawal symptoms, and therapy help you to get back on track after relapsing.

Additionally, the staff at Buena Vista will help you to find hope. Treatment at Buena Vista happens in a supported, structured, and caring environment. You are not treated as a failure after a relapse. Instead, you are seen as an individual who is struggling with addiction. The staff understands that relapse is often a part of the process, and they know it can come with shame and embarrassment. Therefore, you are treated with respect and care as a human instead of as a failure.

Finding hope after a relapse is challenging. It requires that you shift how you view relapse and yourself. If you can shift your perspective to see relapse as a result of your previous plan not working, you are more likely to see a way forward. This is because you can change your relapse prevention plan and build new skills. There is always a way to learn, grow, and change. If you give yourself a chance to make these changes, you can find a path forward to long-term sobriety.

Relapse can be disheartening. However, relapse is often part of the process of recovery. If you are struggling with a relapse, treatment at Buena Vista Recovery can help. At Buena Vista, we understand that relapse can be a hard pill to swallow. However, we can help you break down the elements of your relapse to help you understand why it happened and make a new plan moving forward. Remember, there is hope and we can help you to find it after relapse. If you are interested in learning more about our inpatient or outpatient programs in Arizona, we want to talk to you. Call us at (480) 741-9414 to speak to a staff member today.