Cheers to Tears

Recovering from Relapse: Learning Adjusting and Moving Forward

Recovery from Relapse

Relapse is a common obstacle in the journey towards sobriety. It can happen to anyone in recovery, and it can be discouraging.

However, it’s essential to recognize that relapse doesn’t mean failure. Recovery from relapse is possible, and with the right mindset and strategies, individuals can get back on track towards a healthy, sober life.

Understanding the effects of alcohol on the body

To recover from relapse, it’s important to understand how alcohol affects the body. Alcohol increases the production of GABA, a neurotransmitter that slows down the brain’s activity and creates a sense of relaxation.

At the same time, alcohol reduces the production of glutamate, a neurotransmitter that stimulates the brain and keeps it alert. When alcohol leaves the body, the brain’s GABA levels decrease, and the glutamate levels increase, causing anxiety, restlessness, and mood swings.

Self-forgiveness and moving forward

Recovering from relapse requires a sense of self-forgiveness. It’s important to recognize that relapse is a setback, but it doesn’t diminish the effort and progress made towards sobriety.

Take responsibility for your actions, and identify the triggers that led to the relapse. Trust yourself and your ability to make positive changes, and focus on taking actionable steps towards sobriety.

Making a relapse recovery and prevention plan

To recover from relapse, you need a plan. Identify the triggers that led to relapse and develop actionable steps to manage those triggers.

For instance, if happy hour is a trigger, plan to avoid bars and other social events where alcohol is served during that time. If people or situations are triggers, consider reevaluating your relationships or seeking professional help.

Establish and set boundaries for yourself, and hold yourself accountable to them. Remember that recovery is an ongoing process, and it takes time, effort, and dedication.

Avoiding Triggers and Creating a Support System

Identifying and avoiding triggers

One of the most effective ways to prevent relapse is to identify and avoid triggers. Triggers are the people, places, and things that can lead to temptation and cravings.

Common triggers include happy hour, bars, and people or situations that remind you of drinking. Avoiding these triggers is an essential step towards sobriety.

Instead, surround yourself with people and situations that support your sobriety, such as friends who don’t drink or sober support groups.

Reconnecting with reasons for sobriety

Another way to prevent relapse is to reconnect with why you chose sobriety in the first place. Journaling can be a useful tool in this.

Write down your reasons for sobriety, the benefits of staying sober, and the consequences of relapse. Reflect on your progress towards sobriety and take note of your victories, no matter how small.

This will help reinforce your motivation and increase your commitment to sobriety.

Seeking support from a sponsor or counselor

Finally, it’s important to have a support system in place. This can include a sponsor, counselor, or peer support group.

These individuals can provide empathy, guidance, and accountability, helping you stay on track towards sobriety. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help when you need it.


Recovering from relapse is possible with the right mindset and strategies.

Understanding the effects of alcohol on the body, self-forgiveness, and making a relapse recovery and prevention plan are necessary steps.

Avoiding triggers, reconnecting with reasons for sobriety, and seeking support from a sponsor or counselor can help prevent relapse. Remember, sobriety is an ongoing process, and it takes time, effort, and dedication to maintain.

Stay committed, stay accountable, and stay hopeful.

Learning from Relapse

Relapse is often a part of the journey to recovery. While it can be difficult to accept, relapse can teach us valuable lessons and guide us towards a stronger, more resilient sobriety.

By identifying these lessons, making adjustments, and moving forward with a new perspective, individuals can use their experience to grow and continue on their path towards recovery.

Identifying the lesson learned

When someone experiences a relapse, it’s important to take time to reflect on what happened. This introspection can help identify the mistakes or vulnerabilities that led to the relapse.

It’s essential to focus on emotional preparedness, developing a sobriety plan that includes potential triggers and a contingency plan for how to deal with them. By taking responsibility for their actions and decisions, individuals can develop a new sense of personal accountability and agency when it comes to their sobriety.

Adjusting behavior to avoid future relapse

Once the lessons from a relapse are identified, it’s crucial to make appropriate adjustments to avoid future setbacks. This can include letting go of limitations, being honest with oneself and others, and acknowledging that recovery is not a linear process.

During this time, it is normal to experience feelings of fear and frustration. However, by adjusting their behavior and making changes to their environment, individuals can help restore confidence in their ability to live a sober lifestyle.

Moving forward with a new perspective

Relapse does not have to signify a failure in an individual’s journey to recovery. Instead, it can be a moment to pause, reflect, and grow.

By learning from one’s mistakes, individuals can come out stronger on the other side and move forward with a new perspective. This perspective can include cultivating a sense of humility and gratitude for life without addiction and being mindful of one’s triggers, pitfalls, and motivations.

Dealing with Emotions and Mindset Shifts

Coping with feelings of shame and guilt

Experiencing shame and guilt after a relapse is a common occurrence. It is important to identify and acknowledge these feelings, as they can be difficult to manage on one’s own.

Guilt and shame can lead to hangxiety – a term that describes the heightened levels of anxiety people can experience the day after drinking or using drugs. One way to manage these feelings is by seeking social support.

Speaking with a sponsor, counselor, or support group can provide an opportunity to process one’s emotions and receive reassurance that relapse does not have to equate to failure.

Identifying and shifting negative thought patterns

Negative thought patterns can be a significant barrier to recovery after a relapse. Individuals may experience feelings of inadequacy, hopelessness, and shame.

It’s essential to identify these thoughts and work towards shifting them towards a more positive and affirming perspective. One strategy for doing so is to engage in cognitive-behavioral therapy.

With this approach, an individual can work with a therapist to identify the negative thoughts and behaviors that hinder recovery and learn how to replace those negative patterns with more positive and motivating ones.

Finding purpose in sobriety and looking ahead

Finally, finding purpose in sobriety is crucial to maintain sobriety. It can be helpful to reflect on personal values, goals, and interests to cultivate a sense of purpose and meaning apart from addiction.

Mindfulness practices like meditation, yoga, or journaling can also assist with self-awareness and finding peace with the present moment. Furthermore, connecting with a supportive community can inspire motivation, provide opportunities for growth, and help sustain sobriety in the long term.


Learning from relapse is an essential part of the recovery process. By identifying the lessons learned, adjusting behavior, and moving forward with a new perspective, individuals can transform a setback into an opportunity for growth.

Coping with emotions and shifting negative thought patterns can be a challenge, but it is possible. By finding a sense of purpose in sobriety and cultivating mindfulness, one can develop the resilience needed to continue on the path towards a healthy and meaningful life.

In conclusion, recovery from relapse requires emotional fortitude, patience, and persistence. By understanding the effects of alcohol on the body, self-forgiveness, and developing a relapse recovery and prevention plan, individuals can recover from setbacks and work towards maintaining a healthy and sober lifestyle.

Additionally, identifying the lessons learned, adjusting behavior, and finding purpose in sobriety and mindfulness can cultivate resilience and growth, creating a life of meaning and purpose beyond addiction.


Q: Is relapse a failure in recovery?

A: No, relapse can be a common part of the recovery process, and it can be an opportunity to learn and make changes to secure long-term sobriety. Q: How can one cope with negative thoughts and emotions after a relapse?

A: Seeking social support, therapy, and mindfulness practices like meditation and journaling can help manage feelings of shame and guilt, and shift negative thoughts into a more positive and affirming perspective. Q: Is it possible to avoid triggers and prevent relapse?

A: While it’s impossible to avoid all triggers, identifying them and developing actionable steps to manage them, like establishing boundaries and avoiding situations that promote drinking, can minimize the risk of relapse. Q: Can a support system help in recovery post-relapse?

A: Seeking support from a sponsor, counselor or peer support group can provide empathy, guidance and accountability, and help maintain motivation for recovery after a setback. Q: Is self-forgiveness important after relapse, and if so, how does one achieve it?

A: Yes, self-forgiveness is essential for moving forward. It involves accepting responsibility, acknowledging mistakes and focusing on actionable steps towards healing.

It may also involve therapy or journaling to process feelings of guilt and shame.

Popular Posts