What to Do After a Relapse | How to Move Forward

If you have relapsed, it’s important to remember that this does not mean all the work you have put towards your sobriety is wasted. Instead, it’s a wake-up call. Your treatment has not been working for a reason, and this is an opportunity to understand why. It’s time to reevaluate your sobriety strategy and take steps to ensure your health.

Adjusting the Strategy

If you haven’t gotten professional help, it’s time. Therapy is an essential part of seeking healing. It’s important to stop making excuses that will enable you to continue your current behavior. Whatever your treatment was before, some aspect of it was not working and you need to discover what it was. A professional can assist with this process as well as finding ways to keep you sober going forward. Think about what you were doing that led up to the relapse. The circumstances may inform your decision to relapse. Don’t blame anything or anyone. You made the choice, but that doesn’t make you a bad person. After all, addiction is commonly understood to be a disease, one that requires proper treatment to overcome.

Speak to a trained professional about where you might have gone wrong to adjust your sobriety strategy for success.

Opening Up

It may be tempting to go through this by yourself. You may not want to disappoint your loved ones, or you may feel ashamed of having relapsed. However, to give yourself your best chance at recovery, and to be honest with your family and friends, you need to have an open conversation with them. Going forward, you will need a strong support network to get you through the hardest times. They can give you the love and assistance you will require. It may take time and effort for your loved ones to regain trust, but having those you care about in your life can make a world of difference.

After seeking professional help and discussing ways to speak to your loved ones, it will be time to have this difficult conversation with them. Have a clear plan before you sit your loved one down, and you may be less likely to flounder.

Healthy Living

New, mindful ways to occupy your time may help you focus on sobriety. A well-balanced diet is often recommended, and while different individuals require varying nuances, there are similarities. Add fresh fruit and vegetables to your meals. Eat whole grains, and ensure that your protein sources are lean or full of healthy fats such as salmon. Make cooking and eating a routine, so you don’t forget meals or wait to eat until you’re too hungry to cook, and eat processed food that is not good for you.

Another wellness habit to establish is working out. Fitness can provide a healthful regimen that gives structure to life, and assists us in building our confidence or self-worth. Don’t let it become a replacement addiction, but do engage in regular exercise to give yourself the boost you need for clear thinking.


One of the hardest parts of moving forward is forgiving ourselves. This does not mean letting yourself off the proverbial hook. You are responsible for your own sobriety. However, this does mean letting go of negative emotions and thought patterns that may be holding you back. You don’t need to punish yourself. You don’t need to continually drown yourself in guilt. If anything, this can hold you back or further contribute to relapse. A relapse is a sign. Your treatment has not been as effective as you needed it to be. Take this time to rethink, recommit and rediscover the healthy and fulfilling lifestyle you’re seeking. Make the amends you need to make, and let go. You cannot change the past. However, you can learn from it and commit to not making the same mistakes again.

You are more than your diagnosis. You are more than a relapse. You’re a person who deserves love and forgiveness, most especially from yourself. Take the time you need to learn from why you relapsed, meet with a professional to discuss how things need to change, and implement those changes. You and your loved ones deserve your best effort.

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Written By: Kimberly Hayes