Mistakes Happen, Seek Help and Support
Most recovering addicts and alcoholics describe it with these words: I don’t know what happened. In a sudden moment, their best defenses and tools given to them through treatment, therapy, and working the twelve steps disappears. A drink or a drug is in front of them and without thinking about the consequences, they take it.
Right after taking a drug or drink again after a period of abstinence in sobriety, there is an immediate choice to make between two options.
First, you can leave this as a slip and move on. There might be specificities you’ll have to deal with like changing your sobriety date and starting your “clean time” over. However, this isn’t a traumatic step back. If you have enough clarity to stop and think about what you should do next, there is still hope. As a slip, you can realize that going back to drinking and using cannot be your default course of action anymore and that you need to stick to your recovery. Within a day or less, you call your treatment center, your sponsor, or a family member and ask for help.
Second, you can fully relapse. Some people consider a slip a relapse and call a spade a spade. A relapse gets worse, never better, as it is often said in recovery. What might be one drink now could turn into years of daily, chronic using. If you aren’t able to or do not want to stop immediately after your slip, you are going into full relapse.
Many people spend years “trying to get back” to recovery once they have a slip and consume mind altering substances again. You leave treatment and everything you’ve learned through recovery behind.
The Choice is Yours
For some people, a slip is the necessary catalyst to completely push the idea of ever going back to drinking and using out of their minds. Tragically for others, it is a glimpse into the delusion of a better life lived in the intoxicated haze of drugs and alcohol.
What To Do After You Pick Up Again
It is important to make sure you are safe. One way to do that is to get straight to a meeting or call someone to pick you up. Removing yourself from the environment where you’ve accessed drugs and alcohol is important. Second, get sober. You can’t investigate what happened too thoroughly until the drugs and alcohol leave your system. Third, get honest with yourself. Relapse and slips are a process, not a spontaneous episode.
Get really honest with yourself and examine the last few weeks. Have you been resentful? Stressed? Angry? Slacking on meetings, hanging out with old friends, and making decisions that are bad for you? Identifying your mental state and the behaviors which lead to slipping up can help you learn not to make those mistakes again.
Relapse happens, but it doesn’t have to. Relapse prevention is an important set of skills you need to stick to the path of recovery. Your path to recovery starts the minute you ask for help. Call Lakehouse Recovery Center today if you are in need of help finding recovery in your life. To schedule a private tour or for more information on our residential treatment programs, call 877.762.3707.