My Friend Had a Relapse, What Should I Do?

Many people in sobriety see each other frequently at fellowship meetings, go out for coffee, or participate together in recreational activities. They form a community of friends and acquaintances—all with the purpose of helping each other stay clean and sober. Hearing about someone who’s relapsed can be very hard on the group, and especially on those who’ve established a tight friendship.

If one of your friends has a relapse, you may feel betrayed, discouraged, depressed and lonely. Try to remember that you friend’s relapse, while it affects you, isn’t about you. It’s about them, and it’s about the disease.

It can be tempting for those new to sobriety, to throw in the towel and follow suit with the person who relapsed. Have you heard the words from a scene in the 1992 movie, A League of Their Own, when the coach exclaims, “There’s no crying in baseball”? For the benefit of your recovery, you can make up your own saying, “There’s no relapsing in recovery.” Just because your friend relapsed doesn’t mean you will. Stay strong!

You can use your friend’s relapse as a means for being grateful. You have the strength, courage willpower and support system to stay sober yourself. Being grateful won’t take away the pain you feel for and about your friend, but it can fortify your resolve to keep your focus on your sobriety.

Unfortunately relapses occurs often. So, what can you do about your friend who relapsed? You can call and tell them you’ll be there with support the minute they walk through the door of a fellowship meeting. You can offer to have coffee with them. You can talk with their family and see if an intervention is appropriate at this time. Another option is to let go.

Your life before sobriety may have been disappointing. The hard truth is that when you get sober, life doesn’t necessarily become easier with fewer disappointments. Sobriety will, however, enable you to handle the disappointments and hard times with greater ease and grace. Your friend has her or his own path. Sometime we lose friends. Sometimes they leave our side for awhile and find their own way home. Say a prayer for them.

“You have to get up each morning and tell yourself, ‘I can do this.’”—Julie Johnston

From daily reflections and process groups to 24/7 support during times of crisis and self-doubt, the Infinity Malibu Treatment Program is designed to guide men and women along a path to a future of lasting change. Call 888-266-9048 today and find out more about our amenity-rich facility.

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