Helping a friend who relapsed during rehab

An unfortunate and painful part of recovery is a situation in which someone from rehab relapses. Besides affecting the individual concerned, such an event can have an impact on the people around them, especially friends in recovery, who may start doubting their own chances of recovery. Friends may also feel disheartened that a co-recovering individual has lost the fight against sobriety. It may also be possible that the friend relapsing was an inspiration to others due to his/her determined approach during recovery. In addition to feelings of sadness and despair, relapse of a friend in rehab can lead to other emotional responses such as anger, concern and jealousy among mates.

A common misconception among people dependent on drugs and alcohol is that once they have finished rehab, complete recovery is achieved. It works completely differently in reality. Although it is possible to reduce dependence on substances with proper interventions, complete recovery demand discipline and perseverance. While it is not a pattern that every individual in recovery relapses, it is essential to meticulously adhere to a continuous recovery program else the chances of relapse are high. Instead of getting worked up about the friend’s relapse, it is strongly recommended that people first take care of themselves and their own recovery first.

Recognizing indicative signs of an imminent relapse is important

When a friend in recovery relapses, it is paramount for others not to neglect themselves. Everyone is vulnerable in early recovery and once a friend relapses, it is not uncommon to see others succumbing. There is merit in showing selfishness in recovery no matter how unreasonable it may seem. If individuals cannot maintain their own sobriety, they will be of no use to others. The focus should be on their recovery and not on the other person. It is also important to talk about the situation with someone who can offer support and not let feelings fester inside.

To remain insulated from the risk of relapse and avoid making the same mistakes, individuals need to look out for telltale signs. There will be reason to suspect chances of relapse if a friend:

  • Keeps fondly recalling the days of addiction.
  • Remains aloof or in closed confines.
  • Socializes or mixes with dubious people.
  • Exhibits erratic behavior and cannot offer a satisfactory explanation.
  • Caught trying to acquire drugs or alcohol or is seen consuming such substances.

Observing one or more of these signs should not prompt individuals to confront their friend directly. If possible, the friend’s family and loved ones or even the person in charge of the sober living house should be approached for help. The greater the support from various people, the more likely it will be to achieve positive outcomes.

Friend’s support is vital but treatment should not be ignored

If a friend relapses, it is vital to continue being a source of support even if it is from a distance. The fact that a friend has relapsed should not be ignored since it will encourage them to continue using substances and the whole purpose of recovery will be defeated. The most important point to remember is that only those people who want to recover can be helped. It will possibly be futile to employ measures such as lecturing, shaming or even begging the friend to give up drugs or alcohol during recovery. Serving as a positive role model can yield good results and complement other treatment measures.

During recovery, detoxification is the first step in preparing the body for further treatment by removing all the toxins stored due to long term use of a substance. Chances of relapse are high during detox therefore, health practitioners should be more attentive to the patient’s needs and look for possibilities that maximize recovery.

If you know someone who is battling an addiction to alcohol or drugs, contact the California Detox Helpline to find the best recovery treatment centers in California equipped with experienced personnel and therapeutic interventions. Call our 24/7 helpline number 855-780-2495 or chat online with our treatment advisors for more details on alcohol rehab in California and drug rehabs in California.

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