How to Handle Feelings of Guilt and Frustration After Relapse

“Relapse is part of recovery.” This statement is what people in rehabilitation centers and AA meetings hear very often. This statement is very dangerous. Why? Most people think that since it is part of your recovery and it is something that’s inevitable, it is okay to indulge when relapse happens.

It isn’t okay, and it will never be. This will put everything you gave up, worked for, and the ones you love at higher risk — the sobriety you’re currently experiencing, the life with your loved ones that you’re trying so hard to rebuild, and the promise of future that your life may have after the addiction.

That is why we personally think that the best way of giving hope for people struggling for sobriety is “Looking for the best way to deal with the inevitable relapse is part of your recovery.”

It’s real, although the distinction is little. It helps deal with relapse, not as an unavoidable phase of healing, but as a potential barrier which may be surpassed by someone who’s dedicated to pursuing their recovery.

Why does relapse happen when recovering from an addiction?

Many folks in recovery from a disorder that abuses substances such as alcoholism and drug addiction didn’t start that process completely willingly — often, they had been persuaded by family and friends, ruled by the Court, or reached their own version of “rock bottom.”

Many times, alcoholics and addicts have other persistent mental or emotional disorders like PTSD, anxiety, or depression. The person doesn’t automatically get rid of the problems brought by the said disorders when he stops taking drugs or drinking alcohol.

When both factors — first reluctance and progressive disorders — unite during the early stages of healing, they can make someone who just enjoyed being sober be dangerously vulnerable to some relapse, particularly when their surroundings aren’t conducive to pursue their current state of being sober.

What other things can contribute to the occurrence of relapse?

The addict/alcoholic may feel overwhelmed and at a loss when trying several methods to live a normal life, socialize with other people, and to feel okay with the stress that they need to deal in their daily life when they just reached the state of being sober.

Until those lessons were learned and always put in mind, the person can opt to develop new habits that should be supported by a strong foundation. When it’s backed up by a weak foundation, different circumstances that may prompt a relapse. These may include:

Wrong people – it’s most of the time impossible to remain sober if those who surround you are still drug addicts and drinking excessively. Connecting with your old buddies in drug-use and drinking who are still actively engaging in these vices may be your stepping stone to joining them again.

Unproductive places – Addiction is a disorder caused by poor habits. When you still continue going to the places that used to tolerate your vices that led to your addiction, you may just go back to your old ways.

Avoid revisiting the pub you used to drink till morning, the house of your previous supplier, and places where you and your previous drug and drink mates meet. Doing this will eliminate one of the risks of taking these substances again.

Old ways – What does this really mean? This is your way of thinking or your mindset and the way you cope up. It was your own unhealthy method of doing tasks which help your illness progress.

Addiction is a disorder stubbornness, denial, and ego as well. When you repeat your old ways like your mindset, reactions to stressors, and your behaviours in the past, then don’t expect that you’ll get better because you’re only preparing yourself to get disappointed.

Striving to do more than what you can – “Keep It Simple Stupid” is just another saying that most people in the rehabilitation center repeatedly follows.

What it implies is that an individual should concentrate more on activities, actions, and institutions that encourage you to heal. Don’t give in to the temptations that attempt and resolve every mistake and a broken relationship in the past while you’re struggling for sobriety.

Getting impatient – Most of the time, an individual who’s in his early stage of healing may become frustrated when they are not regaining the normal lifestyle that they had before they became an addict as fast as they believe that they should. What they fail to understand is that their disease developed slowly so they should also expect to recover slowly.

Losing faith – Often times, the first signs of sobriety are not evident in the early stage. Others might give in and then attempt to take shortcuts because they do not know why a specific activity or measure is vital, but don’t follow their steps.

Recovery may be a long process, and occasionally, it may require to set your ego aside but just put your trust in the procedure which has worked for many folks in a similar circumstance.

Disregarding and not attending meetings – When an individual has just become sober, they might begin to feel as though they got the situation under control.

The simple fact of the matter is, the 12 meeting sessions apart from the provides you with a support group that totally understands what you’re feeling and what you’re experiencing, which is vital in your recovery journey to make sure that you’re not getting overwhelmed nor tempted to go back to your ways.

Absence of a solid support system – As much as you have to avoid those who may lure you into drugging or drinking again, you should also have optimistic, sober men and women who put your best interests and recovery first.

These are individuals who you can open yourself up to whenever things are becoming too overwhelming for you, and who may put you back on the right track when you get tempted to drift away.

The feeling of being depressed – A lot of men and women in the early stages of their healing experience may go through the symptoms of depression since their brain attempts to go back to its right track.

They may feel lonely, like as if they’re mourning for a lost loved one. That may be true in a way since the connection they have with their favourite drug was already broken.

Nevertheless, the difficulties you’re experiencing in your life right now does not compare to the new and sober life that awaits you after your recovery. Realizing that it is a kind of already progress in itself so might as well exert efforts in your journey to sobriety.

When a relapse happens, does that mean that a person did not really recover from addiction?

No, definitely not. Addiction is like hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes — it’s persistent. It comes back, especially if the person suffering from this does not have enough self-control to abstain from using the substance in the early stages of sobriety.

As we mentioned above, recovery takes a lot of time, and it is a process of changing your old lifestyle into new to make addiction controllable. Here are some of the rates of relapse in different conditions:

  • 40 to 60 percent of those who abuse different substances may experience a relapse at some point in their lives.
  • 30 to 60 percent of people who have Type I Diabetes are not following the meal and exercise plan prescribed by their doctors.
  • 50 to 70 percent of those who have asthma disregard their treatment pills and does not take them timely.
  • 50 to 70 percent of those who have high blood pressure does not comply with the requirements set by their healthcare professionals.

No matter how low or high the rate of their non-compliance to their doctor’s prescribed treatment, a person who has diabetes who eats a slice of cake does not translate to being a disappointment who needs to stop trying to get well.

What should you do when relapse occurs?

When you are recovering, and your risk of relapse is definitely high, you should do one thing to keep enjoying your sobriety — Concentrate on your program and do not give in to temptation.

You will not act like you didn’t suffer from the addiction. What you should do is to continue moving forward. For the meantime, do these tips to keep your relapse at bay:

  • Be composed. Having relapse does not necessarily mean that you’re full recovery is already impossible to attain.
  • Do not overthink and try to get out of that situation.
  • Inform your family and those who are involved in your journey.
  • Avoid being alone. As much as possible, keep your support system around you during these times.
  • Attend meetings and group therapies. Be present to as many meetings as you can ever attend. Most of the time, what they say in there may change your perception.
  • Read magazines or newspapers about recovery.
  • Do not fall into the mistake of wallowing in self-pity, guilt, and shame.
  • Do not let yourself off the hook. When you’re always cleaned up and fresh, it affects your overall mood.
  • Eat healthy kinds of food. Your hunger can sometimes be mistakable to substance cravings.

When you’re planning for the long term, one of your goals should be redirection in your recovery program. Do not hesitate to bring up any concern or problem that you experience to your counsellors and therapists. They have dealt with relapses before, and we’re pretty sure they know what to do in yours.

If your program for sobriety has already ended and you are not confident enough to go out and live normally again, you can ask your sponsors and your support system if there are other ways for you to re-enrolled in another course or program. It is important that you get to know what they say about it first.

How do you start over and live a new life after the relapse?

When all you see are problems and difficulties while you’re recovering, it may be pretty hard to hope for a new and clean life after the relapse. Although addiction is a persistent disorder which may involve relapses, being an addict for drugs again is a huge disappointment.

However, the good news is after one relapse; you don’t have to live in the dark phase of your life as an addict. You can bounce back!

The ultimate question when planning to bounce bank is how? How do you fight back and start in a clean state after stopping your alcohol and drug intake when the people around you have something to say, and you feel extreme guilt and shame? Read on to learn more on how to surpass different challenges after the relapse.

Overcoming Guilt and Shame

When you’re working in your recovery, and you went through a relapse, the life after that may be uncomfortable because of the feeling of being a failure. This is especially true considering the effort and amount of time that you put in your recovery.

Being guilty and shameful is pretty much common and understandable when you just went through a relapse. However, you don’t have to let them overpower you. Giving them power is like putting all your hard work to the trash as they can impact your choices and behaviour in the future greatly.

Put in mind that if you let guilt, shame, and the overwhelming sense of being a failure to govern your life, you are most likely to increase the chance of another relapse to happen.

Putting that in mind, here are some of the most practical tips in disregarding guilt and shame:

  1. Don’t point fingers. Although it might be very tempting to put the blame on yourself or to another person, don’t do it. Owning your mistakes doesn’t require wallowing in self-pity and lowering your self-esteem and more importantly doesn’t mean that you need to look for someone whom you can just easily blame. When you’re done going through a relapse, take responsibility for your actions but don’t pass the blame on someone and most importantly on yourself.
  2. Forgive yourself and other people. All of us commit mistakes. Aside from taking responsibility for your actions as a way of starting a new life after the relapse, you can also sincerely let yourself and those who you think triggered your relapse. With that in mind, a good thing to do is write a letter addressed to yourself as a way of reminding yourself how far you have moved from the nasty experience and encourage it to keep exerting efforts on your recovery. Forgiving yourself may be hard when you’re always alone, that’s why you have to attend group therapies as you can learn this from there.
  3. Learn to let go of negativity. Guilt and shame may manifest right after the relapse that can trigger another relapse when not processed and let go the right way. It is better when you shove these negative thoughts and feelings right away. Although letting go is easier said than done, you may need to exert effort in really throwing them away by using either one or both of these methods:

– Talk to your counsellor about it to help process the feelings (preferably one who specializes in this part of curing addiction).

– Spend at least 10 minutes meditating and visualizing how you tend to let go of these things.

  1. As much as possible, eliminate the” all-or-nothing” mindset. Although thinking that you are now back to where you started in recovery may be tempting, don’t give in. You are most prone to this when you think that starting over again is a rock-bottom place with nowhere to go but up. Actually, one relapse may just be a pair of steps back towards the overall course of recovery. When you catch yourself thinking about “all-or-nothing,” reconstruct your thoughts and don’t dwell in this idea. Be more positive and think about things that you want to accomplish when you fully recover from addiction.

Living with recovering addict

Tips for Living with a Recovering Addict

When an addict returns from their rehabilitation treatment, this doesn’t mean that they’re automatically cured. In fact, the recovery process of an addict is a life-long journey that requires the daily decision to avoid temptation and embrace a healthier lifestyle.

For those who are living with an individual who is recovering, they will know that addiction doesn’t just affect the addict. Addiction touches many people close to a suffering addict, and when the time comes for recovery, loved ones can have a huge impact on their success or failure.

If you are living in the same home as a recovering addict, you will be exposed to the ups and downs of their journey much more than others. Fortunately, there are ways that you can be an asset to their recovery, while still maintaining your own health and that of your families.

The following are some of the best tips for living with a recovering addict, including some of the typical challenges you’ll face and how to deal with them.

Learn About the Recovery Process

Of all of the tips for living with a recovering addict, this is one of the most important. Lack of preparation before welcoming a recovering addict home can spell disaster, so learning what you can is necessary.

If you can, take some initiative before your loved one comes home. Research the types of behaviors and attitudes you can expect from a recovering addict, and the best ways to support them.

This is important for partners as well as children, siblings, parents, etc. It is ideal if a family can ban together to make sure everyone is doing their part to help the process.

Embrace Family Counseling

As mentioned, addiction can hurt more than just the addict. Families and friends often battle immensely with the struggles of a loved one, which may mean some relationship issues in the home during recovery.

Consider taking part in some family counseling. This type of program will allow any family members to express how they’re feeling, and help them come to resolutions about how to handle this new situation.

Practice a Substance-Free Home

Even if the other individuals living in your home have no issue with substance abuse, it is important that a recovering addict’s home is free of triggers and temptations.

This means getting rid of all drugs and alcohol in the home, or any other item that may stir up cravings. It may even be necessary for family or friends to embrace a new lifestyle that is free of substance-use; or to at least practice self-discipline when they’re at home.

Attend Meetings

It is very helpful for a recovering addict to attend consistent meetings post-rehabilitation; therapy programs offer support and guidance during this difficult time that can be attended by both the addict and their family.

This not only shows support for the individual, but also helps to keep family/friends in the loop about how the individual is doing.

Encourage Doctor Visits

It’s no secret that substance abuse can have all kinds of negative effects on the body.

If you can, encourage the recovering addict to attend consistent doctor visits during the early stages of their recovery to ensure that everything is healing properly and that there are no areas to worry about.


At the end of the day, every individual is going to make their own decisions post-rehabilitation. Fortunately, a support system that genuinely wants to help can make a huge different in the eyes of an addict, so it’s important to do your best to offer a helping hand.

Consider these tips for living with a recovering addict, to ensure that you’re doing all you can to make their home space the ideal place for recovery.

Things to avoid during recovery

Things to Avoid During Addiction Recovery

Anyone who has made it to the recovery stage of a drug or alcohol addiction has a lot to be proud of. Having recognized their dependency and taken the time and dedication to become clean, the last thing anyone wants is for that person to experience a relapse.

During recovery, it is important that an individual has a strong support system, as well as the ability to recognize triggers and temptations. Something as simple as a certain place or emotion can cause individuals to crave their old habits, and the strength to reject these cravings is critical to an addiction-free life.

To help recovering addicts, there are some specific factors to avoid, which are more likely to sway an individual to use again. To fight addiction, the following are things to avoid during addiction recovery.

Substance-Abusing Friends

It might be hard, and not all of your friends will understand this part of your recovery; however, avoiding your substance-abusing friends might be one of the most important components of addiction recovery.

Unless you were the only person who was using alcohol or drugs before, it is likely that at least some of your friends will maintain their previous habits when you’re around. Being exposed to these temptations, as well as environments that used to encourage your substance use open up huge potential for using again.

If your friends aren’t able to support your current needs, especially during your early stages, then that will be one of the things to avoid during addiction recovery.

High Expectations

Embracing a sober life has the potential to be one of the most amazing, healthy and fulfilling things you ever do for yourself. However, it is important to know that all of the other components of life will still happen regardless of your sobriety.

Things like jobs, relationships and other aspects still require hard work and dedication, and not every single day will be bliss. Having high expectations from sobriety is a quick way to become disappointed, and perhaps relapse.

Avoid high expectations, and instead begin planning all of the other changes you want to make, to ensure that every facet of your life makes you happy.

New Relationships

With your newfound free time, you may think that filling it with a new romantic relationship is a good idea. Unfortunately, these kinds of connections can bring a lot of intense emotions, and it can be hard to provide the support and focus a partner needs when you’re still trying to improve on yourself.

Put some time into yourself for a while and become confident in your new lifestyle before trying to incorporate another huge component.

Taking on Too Much

During recovery, you may feel invincible with your newfound independence; however, take these emotions with a grain of salt. Even if you don’t feel like you need more time, relapses can sneak up at any moment.

Being too busy and taking on too much in the early stages can cause a lot of overwhelming emotions, leading you to feel excess responsibility and pressure. Get on track with your present lifestyle first, and then slowly begin to incorporate new things.


Even if you feel like you’re a totally new person with your sobriety, remember that addiction recovery is a long road. The hard work lies in the journey ahead, and some broken bonds may have to be mended in the process.

If you are committed to staying clean and making a fresh start, then stick to that mindset every single day. Remember the things to avoid during addiction recovery, and stay consistent to show both yourself and others that you are serious about these changes.


Recovering Addicts

Support for Families of Recovering Addicts

When a friend or loved one struggles with addiction, it is common that the heavy weight of those troubles will affect the people around them as well. This is especially true for family members and close friends who have watched an individual fall deeper and deeper into addiction for so long.

Even though addiction surely hurts an addict the most, it is untrue to say that others don’t feel those affects as well. It can be incredibly stressful and hurtful to watch someone go down the dark path of addiction, and oftentimes those experiences stay with loved ones long after.

Support for families of recovering addicts is just as important as support for the recovering addict themselves. Extra help can improve their understanding of what has happened, why it has happened and what they can do moving forward.

The following are some of the programs that offer support for families of recovering addicts.

12-Step Programs

Many people mistaken these programs as being designed specifically for users, but there are some programs focused on recovering families.

In these scenarios, families learn about positive caretaking practices, enabling, co-dependency and other issues they may run into while living with a recovering addict. Families can also learn about self-blame, and how it is incorrect to blame themselves for the struggles of a loved one.

Groups with these programs include Al-Anon and Nar-Anon.

One-on-One Counseling

Not everyone feels comfortable attending counseling or therapy in a group, which is why one-on-one support for families of recovering addicts is also available. This gives everyone a chance to talk through their problems with a therapist in an environment that is more comfortable for them.

Here they can discuss positive behaviours, feelings about the recovery process and how to avoid dangerous attitudes.

Family Therapy

Family therapy allows for all of the members of a family to meet together in a connected therapy session. Here, members can talk about their feelings throughout the rehabilitation and recovery processes, as well as discuss how they can work together to help their struggling family member succeed during recovery.

Group Therapy

Group therapy incudes all family members, as well as other families who are supporting a recovering addict. Oftentimes these situations help families to see that they’re not the only ones going through this kind of situation, and families can offer helpful advice to one another based on their own experiences.

Educational Programs

One of the first things a family can do to help a returning family member is to do their research ahead of time. This means learning about the substance they used, what it does to the body and how they can help best during recovery.

With educational programs, families can maintain their knowledge about the recovery process, learn about potential relapse signs and learn about what to expect going forward.


It hurts watching our loved ones hurt themselves with addiction; many families tend to blame themselves, which only makes the situation that much harder for everyone. Support for families of recovering addicts is important, so that both the recovering addict and their loved ones get the help they need for a successful recovery all-around.