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What To Do If A Loved One Relapses

Imagine going through drug addiction and recovery with a loved one. The emotions behind it are two-fold: concern and pride. When someone struggles with addiction, you wish you could wave a magic wand and take it all away. When that same person recovers, you feel such pride, yet are still worried they will relapse. 

But, it’s vital to know, relapses happen all the time, and that substance addiction is powerful, and many circumstances can cause someone to relapse after getting clean. This doesn’t mean they’re weak or wasn’t serious about getting treatment. So, if a loved one relapses, don’t fret. See what to if and when that happens.


Reasons for Relapse

One thing about substance addiction is that it doesn’t discriminate. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), a 2014 study showed that between 40 to 60 percent of addicts relapse within a year. However, individuals who’ve been sober or drug-free for years can still fall off the wagon. For instance, Phillip Seymore Hoffman, an Award-winning actor, was found dead with a syringe in his arm. He had been sober for 23 years from drug addiction. 

A person in recovery from long-term alcoholism is at higher risk for relapsing that someone who only seeks treatment for less than a year. Several factors are involved in the likelihood of relapsing, such as triggers or a failure to seek after-treatment services upon successful treatment completion. Other reasons why someone would relapse include: 

  • Fatigue
  • Depression 
  • Physical pain 
  • Unemployment 
  • Trauma 
  • Dishonesty
  • Self-pity
  • Poor self-care
  • People (old using friends)
  • Places (where they used to buy drugs or use them)
  • Relationships

If you understand that drug addiction is a chronic disease that you need to be vigilant about, you can better help those who’ve suffered from it. 

When a Loved One Relapses

Yes, it’s a disappointment when a loved one relapses, but you must be there for them, both emotionally and mentally. Here are some tips to help you when a loved one relapses. 


Care for Yourself

You need to take care of yourself. When you have a healthy state of mind, you can tackle relapse. Eat right, exercise, and consider meditation and even counseling. Even attending a support group helps you feel connected to others going through the same situation. Once you feel in control of your own emotions, you can be more patient, rational, and understanding with your loved one. Remember, you don’t need to go through this alone. 


Welcome Open Communication

Even though it’s discouraging when a loved one relapses, ensuring there’s open communication between everyone involved is another critical factor in helping your loved one. They will be their worst critic and will doubt themselves on whether they can get back to where they were. Listen to them and understand the triggers that caused them to relapse. Encourage them to try again and that you will be there for them.


Find Sober Activities

Know the triggers and stay far away from them. Go on a picnic, the movies, get out in nature, or anything light-hearted and fun. Find some place where alcohol isn’t prevalent. Get their mind off the tensions in their life.


Encourage Them to Attend Support Groups

There are several support groups your loved ones can attend, and if their addiction treatment center offers them, encourage them to attend. If they have a connection to others suffering from relapse, they won’t feel so isolated. Last but not least, don’t give up on them. Tell them it’s ok to relapse and that they can recover again.


Ardu Recovery Center Can Help

If your loved one is struggling with relapse, give us a call. We can help get them back on track. Our staff‘s commitment is to our patients. Their success is our success. Call us today to learn more.