If you’re caring for someone who’s struggling with opioid addiction, you may already realize that relapse can be a common part of the recovery journey.
I said common, not welcome. This can definitely be a tough time. But if you let go of guilt, blame and fear, you may be surprised at what you could learn from this experience.
I know from personal expierence that as someone in recovery, as well as a Certified Addiction Professional, relapse can be a time to explore open and honest conversation.
For instance, talking with your loved one openly and honestly about what led to a relapse may help. Think about what this relapse means. Until now, your loved one has been keeping a daily commitment to stay sober—even if only for a few weeks or months. How can you help them get back to that place again?
A conversation about your loved one’s relapse to opioid addiciton can be revealing.
I’ve seen it again and again—people relapse for different reasons. And that’s a reason why every person’s recovery journey is different. But one thing I see in people who come to me after relapse is the possibility for them to return to their recovery journey again.
Together, you and your loved one may want to talk to a healthcare professional about how to reassess your loved one’s approach. Through all of this, it’s helpful to be patient and remember that recovery from opioid addiction is a process—a lifelong process, with some ups and downs along the way.
Check out Sharon’s blog post, "Talking to a Loved One With Opioid Addiction," for more tips on how to talk to your loved one. Most of all, I’ve found it helpful to point out that relapse does not define a person. What defines them is the decisions they make right now with their new and refreshed insights.
As a caregiver, you can help them remember that they’re still loved. That they can keep fighing this chronic brain disease. And that you still believe in them.
Lastly, always remember to talk to a healthcare professional as you help your loved one continue their recovery journey.