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Coping with Slips and Relapses

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Seeing yourself return to substance use can be discouraging but it isn’t the end of the road. It is important to remember that a slip or a relapse is not a moral failing and it doesn’t mean that you can’t get clean. While a relapse can be frustrating and make you feel like a failure, there are constructive ways to deal with it. Here are a few ways to help you get back on track.

coping-with-slips-relapses.jpegStep Up Meetings

It’s often when we feel the best about our progress that we’re most at risk of losing it. Maybe you’ve cut down on group meetings or therapy sessions because things were going so well. This is the time when you need to step it up again. You need the support from this network to reinforce your commitment to sobriety.

Stay Positive

Stay focused on your recovery. Every day is different, with some being more challenging than others. Keeping a positive attitude will help you through these challenges. Even when you’re struggling, remind yourself that it’s worth it. You are worth it. This is just a bump in the road and with commitment to recovery, this too shall pass.

Take the Spiritual Route

Meditation, yoga and many other forms of holistic treatment can have a two-fold effect on your recovery: it can help you work through previous trauma and emotional distress, while also helping you build up emotional resilience to help you stay calm and peaceful in times of stress. This resiliency can help you keep your cool when the pressure is on, reducing your likelihood of resorting to substance use in times of stress.

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Be Kind to Yourself

The tendency to be tough on yourself will be hard to overcome, but you’ll need to train your mind to control your thoughts. Instead of berating yourself for what you might think of as your failures, acknowledge the changes you have already made while you are on your recovery. You have come so far – this slip or relapse does not erase everything else you have accomplished. You’re experiencing a set-back, you can overcome a relapse. The first step toward being kind to yourself is to forgive the faults you have made in the past.

Have an Action Plan

It always helps to have a plan. You know how easy it can be to slip and it can often seem to come out of nowhere. You now know that your cravings have a powerful influence on you and that sometimes, you can’t just wing it. Having an action plan at all times can help you identify your triggers and know ahead of time which strategies and behaviors you will use in different situations.

Get Help Before You Need It

When you recognize the signs, or feel yourself starting to slip, make it a point to get help right away. The situation won’t go away on its own. You need to be proactive. Asking for support from your family and friends or your recovery support team can help you from having another slip or relapse in the future.