Recognizing and Handling a Relapse

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Blog » Aftercare & Relapse Prevention » Recognizing and Handling a Relapse

August 11, 2010

Recognizing and Handling a Relapse


The trip through sobriety is a journey that has many peaks and valleys. Unfortunately, for many these valleys may include relapse. Often times relapse occurs after a long period of sobriety. Picking up a drug or a drink is not when a relapse occurs. A relapse occurs long before actually picking up a drink or drug. Once a relapse begins it can quickly spiral out of control and in many cases the “using” will be worse than ever before.

Relapse happens. How one responds to a relapse can save their life. It is important to understand that, if handled appropriately, a relapse does not have to be the “end of the world.” However, if not handled in a timely fashion, it can be extremely difficult to stop and can lead to death. In some cases, if the relapse is not too bad an individual may be able to get back on track through going to twelve-step meetings and reconnecting with their sober support network. When a bad relapse occurs over an extended period of time, it may be necessary for an individual to go to a medical detox as well as some sort of alcohol rehab program. Detox and treatment can help the suffering individual to get their life and sobriety back on track.

The best way to prevent relapse is to recognize the behaviors that precede one. There are many signs that a relapse may be in the future. It could be not going to meetings anymore, not spending time with a sober support network, or not working with a sponsor. Relapse prevention is required to achieve long-term sobriety. If one is able to recognize these signs then they give themselves a better chance at achieving quality sobriety and a life free from addiction.

Get a definition of relapse and learn more about relapse indicators.

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