What Happens When Your Loved One Relapses?
After a child or partner is released from drug or alcohol rehab, there is usually a dark thought in the back of the mind. This negative thought is doubt. Having doubts about the choices your loved one will make once normality begins again is normal.
Dreading every phone call, being anxious about any conversation that begins with “Mom, I need to talk to you about something,” or the recovering addict just leaving and giving up.
It’s there for many of us and is so difficult to escape. They say attitude is everything, so trying to go on with your life without dwelling on the “negative nellies” in your mind is what is recommended, and can be done with attending meetings, having open and honest conversations, and counseling.
But, the reality is still there.
Back to Rehab
If a relapse happens, try not to give up hope. I learned that relapse is certainly not uncommon, and when my son had his relapse one month after rehab, he went right back. But, he was willing to go right back. He felt like a failure, and it was most definitely a low point – not the lowest point – but it could have been if he didn’t recognize that he needed more help.
If your loved one relapses try again. It’s okay. What matters is the willingness they have to get help. You know your child or partner more than anyone, and if you have the gut feeling that this was something they truly regret and are willing to go back into a facility, then just believe that everything will eventually be better.
Don’t Give up on YOU
Try not to focus on your addict. Yes, it is tough…it really is. But not sleeping at night, letting your self-care go, and being an emotional wreck all the time will only hurt you and the rest of your family. Try your very best to think about yourself and your needs.
If your loved one has chosen to go back to rehab then focus on the fact that help is underway and healing is beginning. If they have chosen another path that does not include rehab again, then do your very best to focus on you and seek your higher power that they will find their way once again.
Be Supportive Without Enabling
Continue to listen and be there for your addict, but never be enabling. You may want to think back to the boundaries which were put in place when your loved one first came out of rehab.
The way not to be enabling depends on if your addict is back in rehab again. If they are still using, you may choose to cut off any funds or have them live elsewhere, as hard as it may seem. You can still be involved in their life without making their life easy and giving them what they want.
Always let your addict know how much you love them, but resist the urge to give in. It’s hard, as is any type of tough love.
Reach Out for Support
You will destroy your inner being if you try to understand why your loved one is addicted to drugs. One thing is for sure: it is not your fault. I struggled with this; I asked myself over and over again “why?” and “what did I do as a parent to cause this?”
If you are struggling with your child or partner’s relapse, no matter what they have decided to do after, reach out for support. Find a counselor who can listen and give you advice on how to cope. Go to Al-Anon and Nar Anon meetings as often as you can and continue to attend consistently.
Lean on your family and trusted friends. Read self-help books on being the parent of an addict or the spouse of an addict. These things do help, and once you take the first step, you will find yourself seeking many avenues for your own treatment.
Relapses happen. Recovery is not a one-time thing and then all of a sudden the addict is “healed.” It takes time; it is a process that lasts as long as the person needs it to last.
As long as they keep working on it and know how much they mean to you, in time it will hopefully subside. Just stay strong, keep those boundaries, and don’t forget about loving you.