What To Do When Your Loved One Relapses
For someone with substance use disorder, staying sober can be an everyday struggle. If a family member or close friend experiences a relapse the way you respond can make a big difference.
6 Ways For Families to Respond to Relapse
Recovery is a lifelong process and unfortunately, relapse is often a part of the journey. It’s important for friends and family to be educated on what to look for as potential triggers for relapse. However, if a relapse does occur here are some ways to respond.
1. Plan your relapse response before you need it. Families shouldn’t wait until after a loved one relapses to come up with a plan. Have a plan in place before your family member completes treatment. Then, make sure everyone in the family understands the plan and sticks to it. For example, you may have them agree to return to treatment if a relapse occurs.
2. Engage your loved one calmly and clearly. If you suspect your loved one is using drugs or alcohol again, ask them in a non-judgmental way. Then be prepared to follow through with your plan. Remember to be there for them. This does not mean putting yourself in danger with physical or emotional abuse, but being supportive is important.
3. Don’t blame them for their relapse. By not blaming them, you are showing empathy when they’re vulnerable. This doesn’t mean that you’re not holding them accountable for their actions. They’re already blaming themselves and don’t need someone else verbalizing blame at this moment as well.
4. Stay in problem-solving mode. Relapse has the potential to trigger all the familiar old habits that may have previously fueled family arguments. Don’t fall prey to panic, or slip back into the hopelessness and helplessness you felt before your loved one went to treatment. Focusing on executing your relapse plan will help keep emotions under control.
5. Tap your support system. A relapse is a time to reach out to the support system you have in place. This may include a sponsor, therapist or members from a support group. It’s also important to communicate with someone who has expertise in dealing with addiction, like a therapist or medical expert they have worked with before.
6. Remind them that a relapse doesn’t mean failure. They’ve been sober before and can do it again. Encouragement from a loved one goes a long way, and this reminds them of what’s possible because of what they’ve accomplished in the past. If they have lost control again, it may be time to encourage them to go back to treatment.
Mississippi Rehab Family Therapy Program
At Oxford Treatment Center, the two-day Intensive Family Therapy Program serves to educate family members about the disease of addiction and equip them to support their loved one in recovery. Through the program, therapists also help families define and express the consequences their loved one will face if they ever use drugs and alcohol again. Having a plan can oftentimes prompt a loved one to get back into recovery, and allow a family heal.
It’s never too late to reach out for help. If you or someone you love is struggling with the devastating side effects of addiction and are unsure of where to turn, call us today at . Oxford Treatment Center, American Addiction Centers’ rehab center in Mississippi, is ready to help you get the treatment you need today.
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