Worried about Relapse?
Helping your friend to stay well
On this page we look at how you can support a friend to maintain recovery. We also consider how to manage setbacks and the possibility of relapse.
There are a few things that friends can do to offer support during this stage of recovery:
- Have a list of signs of relapse and encourage your friend to be aware of these.
- Provide support and encourage coping skills.
- Reinforce bonds with support resources.
- Watch for creeping denial.
- Encourage new healthy interests.
- Encourage more independence.
Relapses can feel frustrating, distressing and disappointing. It is common to feel overwhelmed or panicked, but important to try not to lose perspective. Relapses are commonly experienced during the course of recovery. The spiral model suggests that most people who relapse do not revolve endlessly in circles and that they do not regress all the way back to where they began. Instead, each time a relapse occurs and people re-cycle through the stages, they learn from their mistakes and can try something different the next time around.
If you think your friend is relapsing there are a few things that you can do...
- Review what has been learned.
- Encourage and maintain new perspectives.
- Maintain a positive attitude.
- Regard relapse as part of the learning process.