Relapse is a normal part of the recovery process from addiction. Some patients relapse once or twice, and others relapse multiple times as they work towards recovery. While it is important to take relapse seriously, it is also important not to let it deter you from continuing along your recovery journey. So, does that mean you should go back to rehab after a relapse? Sometimes the answer is "yes," and other times, the answer is "no." Here are a few questions you can ask yourself during a relapse to determine your best move.
Are you using regularly again, or did you just have a slip-up?
There is a big difference between a full relapse and a slip-up. If you just used once or twice but now you're mostly succeeding in staying sober again, then you had more of a slip-up. On the other hand, if you've been using regularly for a few days or more and the idea of quitting seems big, then you're having a more serious relapse. There's hardly ever a need to go back to rehab for a slip-up, but full relapses do sometimes require a return to rehab.
Are other behaviors associated with your substance abuse returning?
In other words, have you found yourself slipping back into damaging patterns that you had when you were using before? If you are skipping work, making poor social decisions, skipping meals or overeating, or engaging in other unhealthy behaviors, then this is a sign you could benefit from returning to rehab.
Do you have a good support network where you are now?
Are you seeing a therapist? Are you attending a 12-step program? Do you have supportive friends and family members with whom you can be honest about your addiction and your relapse? If you answered "yes" to some or all of these questions, then you may have the support network you need to work through a minor relapse without returning to rehab. On the other hand, if you feel like you don't have the support you need to abstain again where you are now, then returning to the rehab program may be a good way to get that support.
After a relapse, it may be a good idea to return to rehab, even if just for a week or two. However, there are also times when patients can work through a minor relapse at home with help from family members and therapists. You know which approach is best for you; just be honest with yourself.
To learn more, contact a resource that offers substance abuse rehab.