How to Bounce Back from a Relapse
It’d be great to know that everyone who gets sober stays sober, but sometimes that isn’t the case. There are many people who attempt sobriety, and then relapse within a few weeks, months or years. Although many people give up on their recovery, there are millions of people who have bounced back from a relapse and now have many years under their belt. Then there are also those who struggle with chronic relapse and can’t seem to stay sober. So, what separates these groups of people, and what can we learn to improve the chances of bouncing back from a relapse?
Stop Beating Yourself Up
When you relapse, it’s easy to beat yourself up over the situation. When you think about it, this isn’t useful. When you start breaking down your thoughts and asking yourself, “Is this thought useful?”, you begin to stop paying attention to unuseful thoughts. The thoughts you have that beat yourself up over what happened are unuseful. So, what do you do instead? One of the best things you can do is to look at your relapse with curiosity rather than judgment.
It’s beneficial to look at your relapse the way a scientist looks at their experiments. Before starting an experiment, a scientist has a hypothesis. If that hypothesis is wrong, a scientist doesn’t have a ton of negative self-talk, their typical thought is, “Hmmmmm. I wonder why this happened.” They then start looking at the result with curiosity rather than judging the hypothesis. After that, they’re back to the drawing board to see what went wrong and try to improve it. If it wasn’t for this type of thinking, we may not have had the light bulb for another 100 years. Thomas Edison famously said, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. I just found 1,000 different ways that don’t work.”
What Did You Refuse to Do?
Now that you’re looking at your relapse with curiosity rather than judgment, a great question to ask yourself is, “What did I refuse to do?”. Getting sober is one of the most difficult tasks anyone is ever faced with, and the average person doesn’t understand this, but you do. Changing your belief system is difficult, and it’s why many people aren’t receptive when they first get sober. People go to treatment and 12-step programs and hear this new way of living and what they have to do to stay sober, and while some people are more receptive than others, it’s few and far between.
When you look back at your relapse, see what you refused to do, and start to do the opposite. Much like Edison, you know what doesn’t work. Maybe it was not going to meetings or never getting a sponsor; or maybe you didn’t follow up with your aftercare plan or continue seeing a therapist. For some, they stop taking their antidepressant medications. Look back and see where you went astray, and this is a great place to start when you get back on the path of recovery.
Stop Blaming Others
Finally, it’s important to take accountability for your relapse if you hope to stay sober. While you shouldn’t beat yourself up for your relapse, you shouldn’t blame others either. It’s human nature to want to blame someone for a negative outcome, and this is why many people blame their parents, spouse, job or the world for their relapse. The reality is that nobody can make you relapse. You are 100 percent responsible for your recovery. How you respond to situations is in your control. Knowing that you’re in control of your future and your recovery is empowering, so be sure to take responsibility for your recovery, and you’ll have a strong foundation moving forward.
If you have recently relapsed or want to give sobriety a chance, allow Enlightened Solutions Detox to help. We have a caring staff who will not only help you detox as comfortably as possible, we’ll provide you with the tools you need to stay sober. To learn more, call us today at 833-233-7336.