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Helping a Loved One Who has Relapsed

It can be very challenging watching a loved one struggle with active addiction. Once they entered into treatment and recovery, you may have breathed a sigh of relief that they were on a healthier path. But regardless of how long a person has been in recovery, the risk for relapse is always there, no matter how small. Any number of things could serve as a trigger.

If a relapse does occur, don’t lose hope. Don’t fear that recovery did not work and your loved one is destined to live a life of active addiction. Not all California rehab centers are the same. Your loved one is also not the same. They have changed and grown since they were in treatment before and are at a different place in their life. Another stay in rehab could be beneficial.

As a family member or friend, you may be wondering what your role is and how you can help when a loved one relapses. There are many different things you can do to help them get back to recovery.

Don’t Ignore the Problem

If you notice signs of relapse, don’t ignore them. Take your concerns, and the concerns of others, seriously. Even if your loved one has been sober for years, it is possible that they have relapsed. Follow your instinct, and if you think something isn’t right, look into it. Recognizing problems early on can allow you to get the person treatment or support before things become more serious. They may have just had an occasional slip but not fully relapsed, and making some strategic changes can get them back on track with their recovery. Catching a relapse early can boost their motivation and confidence in overcoming addiction again.

Be Encouraging and Supportive

Express your concerns and let the person know that you want to help them get better. Work with them to follow through with some of the strategies and techniques they had been using in recovery. Create a supportive and safe environment that does not enable them to continue using drugs or alcohol, but instead, directs them toward healthier options and treatment. Let them know that even if they have relapsed, you still believe in them and will continue to support them in their recovery.

Don’t Try to Solve Their Problems for Them

This is a form of enabling and can make the situation worse. As much as you want to protect them from the consequences of their actions or try to make things better, it is up to your loved one to do this for themselves. You can encourage treatment, but you can’t do the work for them. When they see the impact of their actions, it can be a wake-up call that they need help.

Set a Positive Example

Continue to make healthy choices in your own life and invite your loved one to participate. Offer to go to the gym together or on a hike. Cook nutritious meals and engage in activities to reduce stress such as yoga or meditation. Seeing you carry out these activities and maintain an active and sober lifestyle can be encouraging and a reminder of the lifestyle they’ve been creating for themselves.

Don’t Place Blame or Guilt

Trying to guilt or shame someone into recovery can be counterproductive. Don’t blame them for their relapse and try to make them feel bad. At the same time, don’t talk badly about addiction treatment and how it must not have worked; this can dissuade them from trying again when treatment is what they really need. There are a lot of factors that can contribute to relapse.

Seek Help

Talk to a therapist, counselor, or addiction treatment specialist. They can help you determine the best course of action for getting your loved one the help they need to overcome relapse and continue moving forward with their recovery. This may require another intervention, some individual or family therapy, or other approaches. Know that you are not alone and it is not your fault that they relapsed. Even if they aren’t willing to accept help yet, you can certainly get support for yourself in dealing with this challenging situation.

While there are some people who complete treatment at a Los Angeles drug and alcohol rehab center and never experience a relapse, there are many others who do have a relapse. This is not a sign of weakness or failure, but rather an indication that they need to adjust their relapse prevention plan and make some changes in their life. Something they are doing is not working as well as it used to or could be. Long-term recovery is still possible.

Chapters Capistrano works with clients who are participating in treatment for the first time, as well as those experiencing relapse. A customized treatment plan allows clients to focus on their individual needs and goals in recovery. Both 12-step and non 12-step approaches are available, as well as a variety of holistic therapies and other evidence-based techniques. If you’re concerned about your loved one and believe they may have experienced a relapse, contact Chapters Capistrano at 888-973-0230. We will work with you to get them the help they need.