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One of the most common questions that people ask themselves after completing alcohol rehab is, “What happens if I relapse?”
After devoting so much time and energy into getting sober, relapse is a scenario that no one wants to think about. All too often, relapse is looked at as a failure and comes with a sense of hopelessness. This is due in part to the negative connotations that surround relapsing.
Life after alcohol treatment can seem like a rollercoaster of highs and lows. While the good days provide a sense of reassurance and motivation, the difficult days come with a risk of falling back on old habits. Even those who appear to have it altogether can hit a bump in the road and relapse, including celebrities.
Several weeks ago, Ben Affleck took to social media to talk about his treatment for alcohol addiction. He had previously completed a treatment program back in 2001, citing his family’s history of alcoholism. After struggling with strong desires to drink, Affleck decided that it was in his best interest, as well as his family’s, to seek further help.
Picking Yourself Back Up After Relapsing
After alcohol rehab, you may still be vulnerable to intense alcohol cravings. This is why aftercare programs, including support groups and alcohol counseling, are essential to maintaining long-term sobriety.
But what happens if the urge is simply too much and you succumb to your cravings for alcohol? Does that mean all your hard work goes down the drain?
In short, absolutely not.
Some people may relapse after rehab, but it’s all a part of the recovery journey. If you stumble along the way, you have one of two choices:
- Wallow in self-pity about how you have hit a rough patch
- Choose to dust yourself off and continue on the path to sobriety
Realize though, that a relapse should be viewed as an opportunity to figure out what went wrong, how you can learn from it and ways to improve your recovery plan.
Here are several tips about how to stay motivated and get back on track after relapsing:
Lean on your support system
Your family members, friends and other loved ones are there to lift you up after a relapse. Talk to them about your struggles and your plans for moving forward. It’s always a good idea to bounce ideas off loved ones and see what suggestions they may have.
Sometimes your family and friends want to help, but they are unsure how to. This is a great opportunity to discuss the role they play in your recovery, as well as ways they can provide encouragement.
Think about the positives
You have come a long way since you first began treatment, and it’s important to take time to think about your achievements. Consider some of your biggest accomplishments thus far. How did it make you feel when you conquered a goal?
Remember, recovery is more about the journey rather than the final destination. There will be ups and downs along the way, but never forget how far you have come and where you’re headed.
Continue participating in aftercare programs
If you were participating in an aftercare program prior to relapsing, you may be questioning whether or not it was useful to your recovery. However, with so many programs available, it’s possible that you didn’t find the right one for you.
Participating in support groups and counseling sessions have proved extremely beneficial for those in recovery. Aftercare programs provide a safe haven to open up about struggles with individuals who have stood in your shoes before. Just make sure to give yourself time to adjust before deciding if the program fits your needs.
Don’t Suffer in Silence
Maybe after completing treatment, you’re suffering from constant impulses to drink. Or maybe you have lost the motivation to continue on with recovery. No matter the situation, you don’t have to suffer in silence.
If you or a loved one have questions about life after rehab or need help in finding alcoholism resources, contact a treatment specialist today.
- Author — Last Edited: January 26, 2018
Mandell, Andrea. (2017). Ben Affleck: ‘I have completed treatment for alcohol addiction’. March 2017. http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/people/2017/03/14/ben-affleck-have-completed-treatment-alcohol-addiction/99187092/
Rothman, Jean. (2016). Supporting an Addict Who’s Relapsed. March 2017. http://www.everydayhealth.com/addiction/supporting-addict-who-relapsed.aspx