Not all people embarking on the journey of recovery get and stay sober the first time. Relapse can be a part of recovery; even though it does not have to be, it is a reality for some. If you do relapse, there is only one thing to do, and that is to get honest with yourself, man up and fight through the shame and the guilt, get yourself to a meeting, and be honest with those who understand. If relapse does become part of your story, and you find you are in need of medical attention, make sure you take the proper steps in order to safely detox and regain a healthy status. Some may have a better result from entering into a treatment facility, but if that is not possible, do not allow that to deter you from recovering.
Many people die during a relapse, and several others stay out for years or even decades after a small detour. It is not worth it. So much of your life can be destroyed over time if you do not take immediate action.
All that matters after a relapse is that you do something about it as soon as possible. Making future promises to get back into the routine of recovery is not a good idea, and is a set up for prolonging the inevitable that can last for days, months and even years. Recovery is a program of action. You must be willing to take this action or it just gets harder and harder to turn your life around.
If you have relapsed, cut your losses immediately. Your goal is to get sober again and live happy, joyous, and free. Forget about saving face or trying to hide the fact that you need help. Remember you are not a bad person - you suffer from a disease that wants you dead. Alcoholics and addicts get drunk and high; sobriety is the rare thing for people like us. So swallow your pride and remind yourself the goal is to stay alive at this point. Remember that from a physical perspective, relapse always gets worse in terms of the chemical reactions in your body. Your tolerance changes, and studies have even shown how your disease progresses, even while you were not using drugs or alcohol. Many people die from addiction due to relapse, not just from years of continuous abuse, but from the shame and the guilt that drives further using after a relapse.
Take immediate action. You have to get honest with your support - those people who understand what it is like to struggle with the disease of addiction - and quickly. If treatment is needed, discuss your options with your family and support system. Move quickly before you change your mind. Most importantly, remember you are not alone in this. Most of us have relapsed and know what it’s like to be where you are. Make the decision to go to any lengths all over again and stick to it. Remember how you got there, let yourself off the hook, and recover. This is now part of your story - that’s all. Just another way to carry the message of hope, faith and courage to the one who is still sick and suffering!