What To Do After a Relapse? Here Are The 9 Action Steps

What To Do After a Relapse? Here Are The 9 Action Steps

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Even if you decide to stop using drugs, you could still go back to using. According to a survey, 75% of people relapse during the first year after they stop drinking.

If you’ve messed up again, know that you’re not the only one. It’s not the end of the world if you slip up. It’s important to know that you can get back on your feet. You can even come up with a better plan to help you stay sober in the future.

In this blog, let’s go through the 9 action steps to do after an Alcohol Relapse.

So, What is Alcohol Relapse?

Alcohol relapse refers to the return to drinking alcohol after a period of abstinence or sobriety. It is a common occurrence in addiction recovery and can be a challenging and disheartening experience for individuals striving to maintain their sobriety.

Key points to understand about alcohol relapse include:

  1. Setback in Recovery: A relapse is considered a setback in an individual’s journey to recovery from alcohol addiction. It involves a return to the use of alcohol, even in cases where the person had previously achieved a significant period of sobriety.
  2. Common in Addiction Recovery: Relapses are not uncommon in addiction recovery, and they can happen to individuals at various stages of their sobriety. It’s important to recognize that addiction is a chronic condition, and relapse does not mean that the individual has failed.
  3. Triggers and Causes: Relapses can be triggered by various factors, including stress, emotional turmoil, social pressures, exposure to alcohol, or a sense of complacency in recovery. Identifying the specific triggers that led to the relapse can help individuals develop strategies to avoid them in the future.
  4. Part of the Recovery Process: While relapses are discouraging, they are considered part of the recovery process for many individuals. Recovery is often characterized by ups and downs, and a relapse should not be seen as the end of the journey. Instead, it can be an opportunity for self-reflection and growth.
  5. Importance of Support: Seeking support from a healthcare professional, therapist, counselor, or support group is crucial after a relapse. It can help individuals address the underlying issues that contributed to the relapse and provide guidance on adjusting their recovery plan.

But, Why do Alcohol Addicts Relapse?

Alcohol addicts may relapse for various reasons, and relapse is a common occurrence in addiction recovery. It’s essential to understand the factors that contribute to relapse so that individuals in recovery can be better prepared to address and prevent them. 

Here are some common reasons why alcohol addicts may relapse:

  1. Triggers and Cravings: One of the primary reasons for relapse is exposure to triggers that elicit strong cravings for alcohol. Triggers can include people, places, stress, emotional distress, and situations associated with past alcohol use.
  2. Stress and Coping Mechanisms: High levels of stress can be a powerful trigger for relapse. Some individuals turn to alcohol as a way to cope with stress and temporarily alleviate emotional discomfort.
  3. Social and Peer Pressure: Social situations, peer pressure, and the influence of friends or acquaintances who drink can lead to relapse. Social gatherings where alcohol is present can be challenging for those in recovery.
  4. Complacency: After achieving a period of sobriety, some individuals may become complacent and believe they have their addiction under control. This false sense of security can lead to relapse.
  5. Emotional Distress: Emotional challenges, such as depression, anxiety, grief, or trauma, can increase the risk of relapse. Some individuals may use alcohol to self-medicate or numb emotional pain.
  6. Lack of Coping Skills: In early recovery, individuals may not yet have developed effective coping strategies to deal with life’s challenges without turning to alcohol. When faced with difficulties, they may revert to familiar, albeit harmful, patterns of behavior.
  7. Overconfidence: Feeling overly confident in one’s ability to resist alcohol can lead to risky situations. Some individuals believe they can have “just one drink” without consequences, only to find themselves back in the cycle of addiction.
  8. Environmental Factors: Living in an environment where alcohol is readily available or having easy access to alcohol can increase the risk of relapse.
  9. Lack of Support: A strong support system, including family, friends, therapists, and support groups, is crucial in recovery. Without adequate support, individuals may struggle to stay on the path of sobriety.
  10. Co-occurring Disorders: Many individuals with alcohol addiction also have co-occurring mental health disorders, such as depression or anxiety. If these disorders are not adequately addressed and treated, they can contribute to relapse.

what to do after a relapse

Now, What are the 9 Action Steps To Consider After a Relapse?

Relapse is a challenging and often disheartening experience in addiction recovery. It’s important to remember that it does not define your journey to sobriety. Instead, consider it a setback and an opportunity for growth. 

Here are nine essential action steps to take after a relapse:

Acknowledge and Accept the Relapse:

The first step is to acknowledge the relapse and accept it without self-blame or judgment. Relapses can happen to anyone in recovery, and they do not diminish your progress or potential for sobriety.

Reach Out for Support:

You don’t have to go through this alone. Reach out to your support network, whether it’s friends, family, a sponsor, or a therapist. Sharing your experience with someone you trust can provide emotional relief.

Analyze the Triggers:

Reflect on what led to the relapse. Identify the triggers, emotions, or situations that contributed to the slip. Understanding these factors can help you develop strategies to avoid them in the future.

Adjust Your Recovery Plan:

Reevaluate your recovery plan with the help of a healthcare professional or counselor. Identify areas that may need adjustment, such as therapy frequency, support group attendance, or coping strategies.

Seek Professional Help:

If you’ve had multiple relapses or feel overwhelmed, consider consulting a healthcare professional or addiction specialist. They can provide expert guidance and recommend appropriate treatment adjustments.

Develop a Relapse Prevention Plan:

Work with your therapist or counselor to create a detailed relapse prevention plan. This plan should include strategies for coping with cravings, managing stress, and avoiding triggers.

Recommit to Sobriety:

Reaffirm your commitment to sobriety. Understand that a relapse is a temporary setback, and your ultimate goal remains long-term recovery.

Stay Accountable:

Continue attending support group meetings and therapy sessions. Being accountable to others in your recovery community can help you stay on track.

Practice Self-Compassion:

Be kind to yourself during this challenging time. Recovery is a journey with its ups and downs. Self-compassion is essential for healing and moving forward.



Golden Road Recovery offers a comprehensive alcohol relapse treatment program that is designed to help people who have relapsed get back on track and stay sober. The alcohol relapse treatment program at Golden Road Recovery is designed to be a safe and supportive environment where people can get the help they need to recover. 

The program is individualized to meet the specific needs of each client, and the staff is committed to helping people achieve their recovery goals. If you or someone you know has relapsed from alcohol, Golden Road Recovery can help. 

Contact us today to learn more about our alcohol relapse treatment program.

FAQs on Alcohol Relapse

Q: Is relapse common in alcohol recovery?

A: Yes, relapse is relatively common during the recovery process. It is considered a part of the journey to sobriety for many individuals. 

Q: What should I do if I relapse?

A: If you relapse, it’s essential to avoid self-blame and seek help immediately. Reach out to your support network, a therapist, or a counselor. 

Q: Can I achieve long-term sobriety after a relapse?

A: Yes, many individuals go on to achieve long-term sobriety even after experiencing one or more relapses.

License Number: 191000AP
Effective Date: 06/01/2021
Expiration Date: 05/31/2025

License Number: 191000AP
Effective Date: 06/01/2021
Expiration Date: 05/31/2025

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