Drug Rehabilitation Blog

relapse prevention plan

What If I Relapse After Addiction Treatment?

Since relapse is a chronic condition, there’s always the possibility of relapse even after an otherwise successful treatment program. The rate of relapse varies based on the substance involved. Relapse rates for alcoholics, for instance, can range from 30 to 70 percent. Some recovering addicts have underlying psychological disorders that can contribute to a relapse.

Contributing drug relapse factors may also include:

  • Social pressures (or being encouraged by enablers)
  • Easy access to the addictive substance
  • Stress at home or on the job

What to Do If a Relapse Occurs

If a relapse does happen, it doesn’t mean that the initial recovery was a failure – it just means that recovery isn’t complete yet. While it’s understandable to feel ashamed or embarrassed following the return to previous habits, this shouldn’t be a hindrance to seeking further assistance. While a relapse doesn’t always require re-admittance, it often includes a comprehensive evaluation to determine what triggered it. If you do experience a relapse, the following steps can taken:

Contact Your Follow-up Counselor or Sponsor
You should have been given some contact information following your discharge. This person should be able to help you decide what next steps are best for you.
Take a moment to breathe and relax. If you’ve been keeping a journal as part of your recovery, take a moment to express your thoughts and frustrations as you regroup and refocus.
Start Again
In some cases, your initial program may not have worked out for you because it wasn’t structured based on your needs, so consider looking for another inpatient program that’s more specific to your needs.
Seek Reassurance
Friends and family members can be a source of comfort and support if a relapse happens. If you can’t get reassurance from others, reassure yourself be realizing that a setback isn’t the same as failing.
Reflect and Learn
Since you’ve already been through a treatment program, you have have an understanding of what likely triggered your relapse. Be honest with yourself and determine what likely influenced your setback.

Realize that you are not going to judged if you return to an inpatient facility following treatment. Relapse is not unique to you and can happen to anyone recovering from a pattern of addiction and substance abuse. The key to avoiding relapse is successful management of addiction. If relapse does happen, it should be viewed as a temporary detour on the road to recovery.


  • jim Haynes

    Very truthful blog, I have experienced the relapse a few times and I am now proud to say I have been clean from Heroin for 1 year. I had to find new friends to hang around with and we sit around watching movies and eating popcorn and I feel better than I have felt in many years.

  • Zsofia H

    Don`t think you`re failed if you relapse. Sometimes to stay sober is more difficult than get off of drugs it is really hard. You should ask your family or friends for help tell them what is happening to you that helps a lot. If not you need to get special help and looking for another inpatient program.

  • Peter M

    I know from experience that the best way to the prevent relapse is to have a strong support system of friends and family.

  • Jigree

    What is the chances of getting relapse?

  • kelvin keiso

    Really a great concept!! Finally I have found something which is very very useful to me! Thank you so much

  • Vincent Agosta

    Relapsing can happen where you have to seek treatment a 2nd or 3rd time, depending of the help and medicine does not work. Best thing i can suggest is to try and avoid drugs the best way you can, and remember that drugs kill the body and ruin your life and relationships.

  • Paul DeLuca

    It’s sad how the mentality of treatment centers is to put addicts on the path of being a victim ,to blame society and enablers as the reason they relapsed. They relapsed because they were uncomfortable in their own skin. Also,treatment centers are only places to get dried out ! Then go to AA and work the steps ASAP and get RECOVERED!

  • Salvatore Cavataio

    Relapses are prolly the hardest to overcome as you get down on yourself with failure. Its not that you failed its the addition that is hard to beat. With the right skills and a little help from a friend to call for help from you will be able to get yourself to stop “picking up” or just to talk it out. A call to someone can usually get you on the right track.

  • Nancy Jones

    My husband has a dual diagnosis of addiction and bipolar disorder. I have been very frustrate by his relapses. This blog has helped me to understand his issue better.

  • chaune phipp

    it’s all in mind , once you control your brain you can do any thing.

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