Print Posted 04/19/2017 in Category 1

What To Do When a Loved One Relapses

What To Do When a Loved One Relapses


Addiction and treatment can be quite hard for an individual, and there can be many different things that they have to overcome and deal with to be able to continue their sobriety.  And being realistic, not everyone makes it the first time, or to rephrase, relapse does happen.  While relapse is something that no one wants to happen, it is unfortunately quite common.  It can be despairing for family and friends to hear that their loved one has relapsed, but it is often not the end of the world.  Rather than despairing over the situation, this is a time to act and work to help your loved one get back on track.  


Steps to Take In the Event of a Relapse

There are many that hear of their loved ones relapse and instantly get hopeless.  It can feel like the person will never get clean again, or never be able to maintain their sobriety, but this is far from the truth.  Though relapse is not ideal, it can take some people a couple relapses to finally be able to maintain their recovery.  At this point, family and friends should do what they can to ensure that the person is encouraged to get back into recovery, such as:


  • Have a Conversation - The first step is to simply have a conversation with the individual.  Find out where they are at with the situation, whether it was a one time use or if they are still using again, and whether they desire to get clean again.  It could have been a slip up and they are now back on track.  As a note, a slip up relapse and a full on relapse can be different scenarios, and it is important to determine this to figure out the next step. 
  • Get Them Back Into Treatment - If this seems to be a full on relapse, and they are having trouble getting off of substances again, it may be best for them to return to treatment.  It may be ideal for them to attend more intensive treatment as well, such as inpatient instead of outpatient. 
  • Continuing Care - If the person has not been attending any continuing care or recovery groups, it could be ideal for them to begin this.  A person freshly in recovery may need further care or assistance, and beginning to attend outpatient treatment or recovery groups can help to bolster their sobriety. 

Whatever the case may be with your loved one, try to help get them back on track.  There are some families who may have completely given up due to their loved ones countless relapses or refusal to get help again, but these can be situations in which intervention may be the best option.  Point being, it can seem like a hopeless situation for many, but this is rarely the case. There is often something that can be done to help these individuals, and it is always better to at least attempt to do something about the situation instead of ruminating in hopelessness and sadness.  


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