What to Do Right After a Relapse

It’s normal to feel a wide range of emotions when you relapse. After becoming sober, you can have a lot of confidence and a sense of accomplishment after putting in the work. When you have a weak moment and binge on drugs or alcohol, it can be difficult to have hope or know what steps to take. Although it can be devastating to relapse after all of the progress you made, you can still choose to continue your sobriety. Knowing the right steps to take can allow you to regain your focus and avoid allowing the relapse to define your future. Here are a few of the right steps to take after relapsing as you continue to look towards the future.

Reach Out for Support

Whether you have a sponsor or someone you’re accountable to with your sobriety, it’s important to immediately reach out for help. Be honest about what occurred and remain vulnerable to ensure you can get the guidance and assistance you need. You may need to adjust a few of your habits to ensure you continue to follow the treatment program. Having the support of people you trust will make it easier to forgive yourself and move on from the incident. Understand that relapsing is extremely common for many people who struggle with addictions, but you can choose to continue the progress you make.

Consider it a Teaching Moment

There’s always something to learn when you relapse. Instead of only viewing it as an adverse event, consider what it can teach you to reduce the risk of it occurring in the future. Maybe you made the mistake of putting yourself in a situation where drugs or alcohol were present. Perhaps you reconnected with other addicts that you know aren’t positive influences in your life. Understanding why you relapsed can allow you to learn more about your triggers and be more prepared for the future. Consider the weeks and days leading up to the relapse. Ask yourself if you were stressed or overwhelmed by life. Maybe you started to become bored or skipped one of your group therapy sessions. There are often many factors that contribute to relapsing and can allow it to be avoided in the future.


After you return to using drugs or alcohol, you’ll have to go through the detox process again to remove the substances from your body. Fortunately, many people find detoxing to be easier the second time because they already know what to expect. Avoid detoxing alone due to the risk of the withdrawal effects. Talk to your medical provider about the best way to detox to ensure you can do it safely. You may also be referred to a local detox center where you can be in the care of a medical team that supervises the process.

Obtain Addiction Prevention

Addiction prevention programs are designed to provide you with the tools and resources to avoid returning to substance abuse. You may need to continue your outpatient therapy appointments or obtain treatment for mental health issues to avoid relapsing again. Involving your family members in your recovery process is also proven to be effective in ensuring you have a support team and develop more mental fortitude due to their encouragement. You can also consider joining a new support group where you can connect with other individuals who have had similar struggles.

Spending time in a safe space where you can be vulnerable and share your own story can allow you to feel positive and hopeful for the future. It’ll also allow you to learn from other people who understand your experience and can relate. This will give you the opportunity to bond and form new relationships with similar individuals in the community. If you want to learn more about what to do after relapsing, you can reach out to our team for assistance at 833-497-3812.