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Stopping substance use, whether it's alcohol or drugs you are using, is very hard. Very few people succeed the first time they try. A lapse or relapse is likely.
A lapse or relapse doesn't mean you or your treatment has failed. It may mean that you just slipped up. If this is true for you, accept the mistake and move on. Try to find out why you relapsed and make changes in your life so that it won't happen again. You also may need more treatment, another type of treatment, or more time in support groups such as Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous.
You might have several relapses, whether you have tried to quit substance use on your own or have had treatment. As time goes on, relapses usually occur less often and are shorter. It's also possible to never have a relapse.
Accept that you may have a relapse. If you think about what to do about a relapse before it happens, it may be easier to deal with.
Talk to people involved in your recovery about what to do if you have a relapse. These people may include your doctor, counselor, family, friends, and support group sponsor. Decide who you can call, where you can go, and what to do if there is a problem. People you can turn to include your sponsor, your doctor, your counselor, or a crisis hotline.
Think about your triggers
Triggers are things that might cause you to have a relapse. They may include:
It may be helpful to write down your triggers and think about them. Are some more likely to cause a relapse than others? Rate your triggers from most likely to cause a relapse to least likely to cause a relapse.
Now decide how to deal with your triggers. You might need to avoid certain situations or people or stay away from a favorite place or activity. If you know you can't avoid a trigger, bring a friend with you for support.
If you begin using drugs or alcohol again:
If you are thinking about drinking or using a drug, take action. Find support to help you reject the temptation.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineMartin J. Gabica, MD - Family MedicineKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerPeter Monti, PhD - Alcohol and AddictionChristine R. Maldonado, PhD - Behavioral Health
Current as ofOctober 9, 2017
Current as of: October 9, 2017
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Peter Monti, PhD - Alcohol and Addiction & Christine R. Maldonado, PhD - Behavioral Health
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