The addiction recovery process is a lifelong effort that often proves challenging and is filled with peaks and valleys. Even the strongest, most well-supported, and committed recovering dependents are human and might relapse.
Relapse is also a frightening and frustrating event for the addict’s loved ones. Fortunately, however, by engaging in certain decisive actions, said individuals might prevent the problem from spiraling out of control and having to watch their family member or close friend fall into another prolonged addiction cycle.
The term relapse is used often. However, few can describe what it means.
Relapse does not occur if a former substance abuser slips up and ingests the drug they were formally addicted to once or twice. The event takes place when the subject in question continues to use drugs over a prolonged period and previously learned coping mechanisms fail to prevent such behavior.
The problem occurs with relative frequency. Researchers maintain that more than two-thirds of those who once sought treatment for chemical dependency ultimately relapse.
Furthermore, relapse does not occur overnight. Typically, several underlying factors contribute to its gradual onset such as:
- Emotional issues
- Financial struggles
- Underlying mental health disorder
- Negative people or environments
- Anxiety and stress
- Physical illness
In reality, any type of stress or strain could precipitate relapse. Therefore, identifying such issues plays a crucial role in avoiding future problems.
Supportive Actions A Relapsing Subject’s Loved Ones Can Take
Luckily, one might help their family member or other close association end or curtail a relapse through actions such as:
Properly Expressing One’s Feelings
Those witnessing the disturbing event likely experience numerous emotions. However, failure to properly channel these feelings could intensify the problem.
Before angrily confronting the relapsing soul, family and friends are urged to express but channel their emotions through efforts like putting these feelings into words and seeking counsel from trusted relatives or associations.
Opening The Lines Of Communication
Open communication often proves paramount to crisis resolution. Should one sense relapse is happening or imminent, they are urged to support the struggling subject in any way possible and offer them a forum to voice their fears or concerns.
Maintaining One’s Own Physical And Mental Health
Relapse is a trying time for all involved parties. Ergo, an addict’s close relatives must maintain their physical and mental health and build their strength. A weak or ailing emotional support system is less likely to help a relapsing individual recover. Optimal emotional and biological health may be improved or kept through efforts like:
- Consuming a balanced diet
- Eliminating bad vices like cigarette smoking
- Obtaining enough sleep
- Engaging in productive and safe stress-busting activities
Above all, a relapsing subject’s loved ones should seek medical attention to address any existing health or mental issues. The stress associated with shepherding a loved one through the recovery process could exacerbate underlying maladies and further compromise their well-being.
Seeking Professional Help
Groups like 12-step programs, SMART Recovery, or Alcoholics Anonymous offer support to relapsing subjects and are overseen by recovering addicts who understand the challenges the struggling individual faces. Moreover, these organizations provide assistance and resources to their family members.
Sometimes tough love is the best cure-all. Therefore, a relapsing person’s relatives must establish and maintain healthy boundaries such as not tolerating certain behaviors and demanding that their personal space is respected.
Actions To Avoid
While the aforementioned actions often yield positive results, certain undertakings often complicate matters such as:
Attacking Or Placing Blame
Feelings of anger, disappointment, and frustration or understandable. However, one should never place blame, accuse, attack, or highlight a relapsing soul’s weaknesses. Such actions will only create added tension and may push the struggling individual into another addiction cycle.
The recovering dependent’s close relations must also face the situation’s reality. Their loved one needs help and sits on the precipice of falling back into old habits. Ergo, they should not attempt to excuse or condone the user’s behavior.
Naturally, the recovering subject’s relations wish to see their friend or family member get well. However, they cannot push or force them to address the problem. Ultimately, the decision to seek treatment rests entirely on the relapsing soul’s shoulders.
Addiction recovery is a lifelong process and relapses are common. However, if not quickly and adequately addressed, such events could result in another period of longstanding dependency. For additional information or any other addiction-related topic, please contact our Boston-based treatment facility. Call 833.970.2054.