Life After Relapse

Life After Relapse

Within addiction recovery, one of the fundamental goals that we set our sights on is strengthening our program so that we can avoid the potential of relapse. Due to the process and struggle of recovery, however, relapse becomes a typical event in the addict’s story. This is not to say that there are people who get sober and stay sober throughout the rest of their lives, but it is however a reality that is faced more often than not. With that understanding, it would be remiss of those of us in recovery not formulate an action plan in the event we happen to slip back into old patterns of thinking and behavior.

We need to be able to adopt a firm yet comforting part of ourselves in the event that we relapse on drugs and alcohol because the combination of the ability to provide self-comfort, but also realistic self-criticism is crucial to our development in recovery. Relapse can be dealt with in various ways but the overwhelming response typical of this experience is one that is wrought with shame, guilt, and even self-hatred. It is also advantageous for our long-term sobriety that we engage in honest self-reflection as to what the precursors to relapse were. What were the particular areas that we began to slip in? Was it a personal relationship? A perceived failure that left us deflated and apathetic? Was it an existential crisis? Or could it have merely been that we were either hungry, angry, lonely, or tired? Relapse is best viewed as a screaming warning signal that something within us and the external world is incongruent meaning that we need to be able to identify the aspects of our thoughts and behaviors that are not in line with the person we could be. In the rooms, we often speak of coming down with a case of the “fuck-its” because this can be not only a response to difficulties in life in general, but also can be the motto of mentality post-relapse. Adopting mindfulness is a great strategy to combat our propensity to devolve back into our addicted state because it allows us to observe our thought patterns without placing judgement in order to get to the bottom of what is driving our relapse behaviors. Although cliché, the adage of “life is about the journey and not the destination” is apropos in the event we experience relapse because if we work to get back on track, relapse can merely be a barrier in the road. Conversely, if we allow relapse to direct our thoughts and actions following, it can very easily morph from a barrier to a death sentence.


Tree House Recovery of Orange County, California is a premier men’s addiction treatment facility that uses eight different modalities to help our men become the best versions of themselves they can be. We teach our men that every day of their journey is something to celebrate, and that recovery isn’t a sprint– it’s a marathon. To get started with Tree House Recovery, call us today at (855) 202-2138.

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