What to Do After a Relapse

Drugs and Alcohol Addiction Treatment

At Roots Recovery, one thing that we like to reassure people of during rehab is that addiction is a disease, and it’s treatable. It’s not a moral failing. The same thing applies to your time outside of rehab, including any potential relapses that may occur in recovery.

Knowing that a relapse can happen is the first step in being prepared for one. Here at Roots, we take the time to explain what relapse is and how to get back on track.  

How You Can Respond to Relapse


Relapse can happen in recovery, but the most important thing you can do is have a plan in place. Once someone realizes that they’ve suffered a relapse, however it came to happen, they need to have a prepared response to that situation. Here are a few suggestions:

Understand Why It Happened


A relapse often doesn’t happen out of nowhere. In fact, there may be emotional relapses and mental relapses that happen prior to any physical relapse. This might include difficulty coping with emotions, feelings of doubt, and questioning your sobriety to begin with. Take stock of these feelings and mindsets you might have had and use them in the future.

However, there are “slips” that are different from a full-on relapse. Identify your motivations and reactions, and decide if what you experienced was an accident, or something that you’ve been building up to that requires more in-depth work.

Don’t necessarily ignore the build-up or the circumstances surrounding the relapse event — talk about it with a mentor or sponsor who knows you and cares.

Seek Help from Your Support Network


Many people feel ashamed or guilty after suffering a relapse, but it doesn’t have to send you all the way to the beginning of your journey in recovery.

There is still an opportunity for you to get back on track and continue to live a sober lifestyle. The best way to do this is to seek guidance from your peers in a 12-Step Group, or the people you went through rehab or sober living with — be honest and accountable about what happened and lean on them for support through this difficult time.

There are, however, larger relapses that will require professional help. “Go back to rehab” feels like obvious advice, but it’s worth including here. If you went to the emergency room for a broken arm, and then the arm broke again, you wouldn’t just leave it be. You’d go back for professional help. It’s the same with any addiction or chronic substance abuse issue.

Nobody deserves to have to go through this alone. In fact, professional help is the best way to get back on track in recovery.

How We Treat Relapse in Milwaukee


Roots Recovery offers substance abuse programming that’s tailored to your specific needs, regardless of if it’s your first time in rehab, or you’re coming in after a first, second, or tenth attempt in treatment. If a relapse happens, and we want you to be ready for it. Our evidence-based, holistic therapies give you the tools to take on the outside world, and to know what to do if you happen to find yourself in a situation where you’re staring down the possibility of relapsing.

If you or someone you love are struggling with addiction, don’t wait. If you’ve had a relapse, call Roots Recovery today to learn more about how we can help get things back on track.

Drugs and Alcohol Addiction Treatment