For most of us, relapse feels like a brick to the back of the head. We wake up the next morning feeling wracked with guilt. It stings like failure. That little voice whispers, “Well dude, looks like treatment didn’t work. Looks like we’re back to hustling…” But it doesn’t have to be that way. Going back to treatment after relapse may seem difficult or pointless. But recovery is a journey, not a destination, and going back to treatment after relapse is part of that journey. It’s never too late to work on yourself.
Going Back to Treatment After Relapse
We’d all love to believe that treatment for drug and alcohol addiction is a one-and-done deal. Admit you have a problem, go to detox, do some therapy, blah blah blah… and you’re home free! Clean and sober forever, right? But the real stories of recovery rarely follow such a linear path. There’s a reason people in recovery call themselves “recovering” rather than “recovered”.
If you spend any amount of time at AA meetings, the subject of relapse comes up over and over. No one deems themselves “safe” after any given time in sobriety. Relapse can (and does) happen to people who have been in recovery for 20+ years. And if they can get back on the wagon afterward, so can you. Relapse is just part of the process.
But logically knowing a fact and accepting that fact remain two different things. Unfortunately, shame often takes over the decision-making process. We get tripped up by the thought that others in treatment will judge our “failure”. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Treatment Centers Understand
Rehab facilities exist to provide resources for people in need of help. Period. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been to treatment before, if you relapsed fifteen times, or even if you left against medical advice. Although the readmittance policies vary between facilities, it’s pretty safe to say that most treatment centers will welcome you back after a relapse with open arms. Regardless of your mistakes. With a few caveats, of course…
- You’ll probably have to detox. If you were in an outpatient program, you can’t go back with drugs still in your system. You’ll most likely be sent back to detox for a few days until you’re clean again.
- Own up to your mistake. Treatment is all about being 100% honest about what’s going on upstairs. If you return to treatment after a relapse, you’ll need to process that backslide in therapy. It may seem embarrassing or tedious, but it’s the only way to address maladaptive coping strategies (like relapsing).
- Don’t make it a pattern. We all understand that relapse happens. But when it becomes a pattern of behavior, your flippant attitude toward relapse can become toxic to others in treatment. There’s a difference between an honest mistake and giving yourself an excuse that “relapse is part of recovery”.
Getting Back on Track
The good news is that it’s never too late to get back on the wagon. Don’t give up on yourself! Humility, surrender, and a willing attitude are great places to start building sobriety again. Your case manager and therapist will guide you from there.
To avoid spinning your wheels, the structure of a treatment center offers therapeutic modalities specific to the disease of addiction. Treatment provides you with tools for your recovery so you don’t sweat it out alone. Because as we all know… sweating it out alone usually ends up as another relapse.
Identify the weakness in your program and change it. If you or a loved one is ready to go back to treatment after relapse (or get help for the first time), call our addiction counselors today: (833) 433-0448