A drug relapse in a loved one can feel like a stab in the heart. When it is a spouse, it feels as if that person cheated on you and part of your relationship died. There is a feeling of hopelessness and major anxiety no matter who the addict is.
It takes time, but the first thing to do is realize that you will make it through this one way or another. After all, there is no other option. Lots of people in this situation blame themselves and feel guilty for causing their loved one’s relapse, but it is important to realize that in most cases, it wasn’t your fault. At the end of the day, they alone are responsible for their sobriety and preventing a relapse. However, there are still things you can do to help.
Drug relapse – what not to do
As we mentioned, never blame yourself. Even if you think there are things you could have done differently, now is the time to look forward and think about what you can do to help this from happening in the future. After all, we are powerless to change the past.
Second, now is not the time to scream and yell at the addict. After a drug relapse, they are likely to already feel guilt and shame. Also, it will be very easy for them to go out and use again since they did so recently. Anger and yelling might push them Over the edge and make them think that using is the only option they have to feel better. As hard as it may be, control your emotions.
Don’t keep things to yourself. This doesn’t mean you should run around with a megaphone telling everyone about the problem, not that you would want to anyway. However, it is important to talk to a professional or a trusted friend so that you can vent your emotions also.
Drug Relapse – What you should do
The drug relapse of a loved one is scary, and it isn’t something anyone wants to prepare for. However, knowing what to do can help to prevent one from happening again in the future.
Let the person talk. If they came to you to tell you about the issue, consider this a blessing. They want your help and had the guts to tell you what was going on. This means you are both on the same page and want the same thing- sobriety. If they relapsed and are keeping it hidden or denying it, it is important to approach them compassionately, without blame or pointing fingers. Allow there to be open space for communication and that they do not feel threatened or blamed. This way, they are much more likely to be honest with you.
Give them support as much as possible. Addicts often feel isolated and alone with their problem and really want someone to be there for them. Well, you can be that person. Offer to be there for them every step of the way and to do everything you can to help them get sober again. When an addict has someone to work with, they are far more likely to be able to successfully recover.
Finally, make sure to do things for your own well being a peace of mind. Your entire life cannot come to a grinding halt because of a loved one’s relapse. In order to keep your sanity, you need to keep going to work, doing other things you love, and trying to look at the bright side as much as possible, no matter how hard it is.
Keep the faith that everything will work out. Try not to dwell on the relapse, and not to bring it up over and over again with your loved one. It is ok to talk about it but within reason. Each time you bring it up, it reminds them of their drug relapse and also of getting high. The best thing for both of you is to discuss what you need to, put it in the past, and work together towards a healthy future.