Recovery from drug addiction and alcoholism begins with the firm commitment to get- and stay- sober. That commitment inherently forces honest communication about a relapse. Relapse is an unfortunate part of many adolescent’s recovery journeys. Getting sober at a young age can be difficult. By the time many other people their age are starting to party or have fun experimenting with substances, your teen is maintaining sobriety or entering treatment for the first time. Needs to fit in, be a part of, or feel “normal” can take precedence over understanding of the fatal consequences of substance abuse.
Relapse itself is never as dangerous as the actions taken after the relapse. Sadly, oftentimes that “one last time” is the very last time. The body, completely clean from drugs and alcohol, is unequipped to handle one more hit or drink. Other times, “just one more” leads to many more. It may be years before an adolescent returns to recovery as an adult. With honest communication, relapse can be and remain a singular episode.
If your loved one has made the commitment to sobriety, you will want to encourage them to be as honest as possible as soon as possible. Have them contact their sponsor and take accountability for their action. Calling their treatment providers and counselors on their own will prevent them from perpetuating any cycle of lying or deception. Many programs have a zero-tolerance policy. However, when a client honestly and willingly admits their relapse, program directors may be inclined to make accommodations. Facing the consequences of a relapse despite the fear of what might happen next will be a better practice for ongoing recovery.
Sharing the relapse experience at group level will rarely be met with shame, blame, or criticism. Peers, sponsors, and professionals in recovery have likely experienced relapse and understand the incredible challenge which is long term sobriety. Honestly approaching relapse will open the door to support, encouragement and guidance for getting back on track and starting again.
Learning from a relapse only happens once the relapse ends. Getting back into treatment or a structured after care program will promote understanding the triggers which might have lead to relapse. Drinking and using happens when our adolescent loved one forgets that drugs and alcohol aren’t the solution to whatever problems they are facing.
There is a solution to drug addiction and alcoholism. We find and practice it each day through our unique adolescent and young adult aftercare program at Sustain Recovery Services. Call us at 949-407-9052 for a confidential consultation and answers to your questions about the importance of extended care services for long term sobriety.