The Fear of Relapse

One of the worst fears that recovering addicts often face is that of relapse. It has been enough of a struggle to get through admitting to the problem, telling family and friends about it, going through detox, and getting treatment, and now there is no guarantee that they will be able to stay clear of drugs. Of course, a good treatment facility with the right kind of follow-up care is the best way to ensure sobriety in the long run, but many people do end up relapsing, even with some of the best help there is. However, there are things people can do to help prevent relapse:

Support groups: Support groups for recovering addicts are the best ways for someone to stay sober. These meetings give people a chance to share their story and gain strength from connecting with others in the same situation.

Changing lifestyles: A recovering addict will need to change their way of life and avoid triggers and old drug buddies or drinking pals in order to avoid relapse.

Staying busy: Someone that has nothing to do will learn to occupy themselves somehow, often by obsessing about going back to drugs. An active mind that is doing something constructive will avoid those thoughts and temptations.

Accepting help: People often find that when they have gone through something like rehab, they have family and friends around that want to help out, but don’t really know what to do. Accept the help that people are willing to give, even if it is just a listening ear.

Learning to cope: Stress and anxiety can increase a person’s risk of relapse. A recovering addict should learn and apply techniques to help them get through life’s problems without turning back to drugs.

Family members of recovering addicts must also worry about relapse. They can help their loved one avoid it by making sure they are staying active with their support group, and living a healthy, happy lifestyle. Those close to the patient can watch for warning signs that their family member is about to relapse:

  • Withdrawal
  • Isolation
  • Depression
  • Overconfidence
  • Avoidance
  • Obsessive behavior
  • Changes in eating or sleeping patterns

It isn’t easy when someone relapses, but it is important for both the patient and their loved ones to remember that relapse happens in many cases of recovery and it doesn’t mean that there is no hope. People are able to get back up after relapse, get additional treatment, and try again. It may not always seem like it, but recovering patients benefit from the support and love of family and friends. These people are vital to the recovery process and should be ready to be supportive and encouraging, rather than judgmental and critical. While the road to recovery is not easy and there are often setbacks, with some hard work and encouragement, sobriety is a goal worth fighting for.

Unsure where to start? Take Our Substance Abuse Self-Assessment

Take our free, 5-minute substance abuse self-assessment below if you think you or someone you love might be struggling with substance abuse. This evaluation consists of 11 yes or no questions that are designed to be used as an informational tool to assess the severity and probability of a substance use disorder. The test is free, confidential, and no personal information is needed to receive the result. Please be aware that this evaluation is not a substitute for advice from a medical doctor.