This blog answers the question: what to do when you have relapsed. A relapse occurs when an individual stops maintaining their goal of reducing or avoiding use of drugs, alcohol, or self-harming behaviors.


Disclaimer: This blog offers mental health tips for individuals after a relapse, and does not include information regarding seeking medical help or providing medical advice. If applicable, contact your sponsor or mental health provider. Connect with your designated support group/person in the event of a relapse.


If you have relapsed on drugs, alcohol, or self-harm and are in a life-threatening position, please dial 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.


Having a relapse can feel defeating. You may feel an overwhelming sense of shame, guilt, and hopelessness. It’s possible that you even feel powerless, and that you will never be able to achieve your goals.


Maintaining hope in yourself and your recovery is crucial. There will be days where it feels easy, and days where you feel barely able to get by. When prioritizing your mental health, you can experience feelings of hope and motivation within yourself. 


Individual therapy in Simi Valley, CA provides you with a non-judgmental space. Not only will you be validated and heard, but you will be given effective coping skills. Make sure to read our blog on Taking Responsibility for Your Mental Health.


What to Do When You Have Relapsed: Be compassionate towards yourself 

man struggling with compassion for himself as he battles shame is in need of trauma therapy in simi valley

After a relapse, you may experience two trails of thought. One being disappointment, regret, or frustration for doing so. Another being that you’re detached or dissociated, and block out strong or difficult emotions. This is to avoid feeling any way, even being neutral about the relapse.


You may think to yourself, “Well, of course I failed that. I’m going to keep failing. There’s no purpose in trying – I’m hopeless”. This puts you in a position of viewing yourself as having little to no power, and that giving up on yourself is the only option.


Hold space for yourself to experience any negative feelings or difficult emotions. Maybe you’ve made significant progress with your goal, and feel that time was wasted. Rather than put yourself down, find ways to be compassionate towards yourself. 


Forgive yourself and acknowledge that you are doing your best. You can do this literally, by thinking, “I forgive myself for doing this. I’m trying, and will make mistakes along the way. I’m stronger than I know”. 


Therapy in Simi Valley, CA helps you work on dismantling your negative self-talk and replacing it with more acceptance or neutrality. Make sure to read our blog on Having Compassion for Yourself When You Don’t Want To.


What to Do When You Have Relapsed: Acknowledge small steps or actions

man feeling that hes lost hope is in desperate need for therapy in Simi Valley, ca

On your journey to recovery, relapsing is common. For example, you may be someone who struggles with self-harm through cutting yourself. You are wanting to stop doing this in times of distress, and replace it with healthier coping mechanisms. 


However, after 6 months of not self-harming, you pick up the razor blade again. It all happened so fast, during a blur of frustration or feelings of rage. You feel annoyed with yourself, but handle it differently this time around. You clean the razor, wash your cut and bandage it to help it heal. 


Maybe you’re trying to reduce your drinking or stop altogether. This can be difficult for you when you’re around certain social situations, and you feel tempted. Sometimes, though, you opt for a redbull or a soda instead of a beer. Even here, you are taking small steps or actions towards your goal.


Individual counseling in Simi Valley, CA helps you highlight your progress you’ve made so far. Make sure to check out our blog 5 Signs You’re Growing as a Person!


What to Do When You Have Relapsed: Connect with others who are in recovery

woman finding community and purpose after a relapse thanks to individual therapy in Simi Valley, ca

Establish ongoing support – either in a treatment program, with a therapist, and/or with a community support system. This is crucial to the progression of recovery. You can find others with similar struggles and goals they’re working towards.


It’s likely that there are local groups available or gatherings for individuals with similar goals. Whether that’s attending group therapy sessions designed for your issue, or activities outside of therapy. They may not necessarily have to do with recovery, as well.


This includes meeting up with others for activities that do not include substances, or have goals to increase overall well-being. Whether it’s being outside in nature, being active, going to a coffee shop, or more. You can find a community and make new connections, it may just take some searching.


It’s normal to experience feelings of shame or guilt for relapsing. By incorporating this mental health advice, you may find it easier to validate yourself, forgive yourself, and remain focused on your goal.


In-person therapy in Simi Valley is ideal for those seeking a separate, safe space from their home. Check out our blog on Online Therapy or In Office Therapy to understand what format is best for you. Another great blog to read is ours on if you need Therapy or Medication to address your issues.


By seeking out support, you can begin your journey to feeling relief. You don’t have to go through finding the right level of support alone, either. 


Consider calling our therapy group at (805) 774-1506 for a free consultation on how you or a loved one can get started today!


Seek out a validating, safe environment with us today. We will help you get to where you want to be. Our therapists provide trauma therapy, teen therapy, individual adult therapy, LGBTQIA+ therapy, anxiety therapy, depression therapy, family therapy, and more in-office in Simi Valley, CA.


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