How to Forgive Yourself and Move Forward After Relapse 

You’re an alcoholic or drug addict. You’ve admitted it before. You gathered up the courage, took several very deep breaths and called 1st Step’s South Florida drug rehab and residential detox. You successfully completed the program and went home to start living a sober and healthy life. You were moving forward. You were healing. But now you find yourself at what feels very much like square one. The beginning of everything. You’ve relapsed. Maybe you had months of sobriety. Maybe you had years. Maybe you got back from 1st Step’s South Florida alcohol treatment and you were only able to last hours before a trigger sent you into a drinking binge. Regardless of the situation or reason it’s time to take responsibility for what happens next and forgive yourself for making a mistake, even one that feels so consequential as this.

Turn Your Heartache and Grief Into Learning

Some people find that when relapse happens it is difficult to not fall down a shame spiral into self loathing. The grief that comes from doing what you promised yourself all through treatment you would never do can be all consuming. You may find that you’re scouring your memory to understand how you could have picked up that bottle, syringe or pipe. It doesn’t do a lot of good to obsess about the details of why you relapsed unless you take that intense focus and use it as fodder for learning. It can be hard to keep your psyche from settling on a mantra of self hatred when you are looking back at all of the hard work that got you through drug or alcohol addiction treatment to begin with, but something to remember here is that recovery from chemical dependency of drugs or alcohol is a lifelong pursuit. That is to say, there is never going to be a moment when sobriety isn’t a choice you have to make every single day, and sometimes multiple times a day. That’s a lot of times you have to say no to something that it is very possibly  in your blood to say yes to. What I mean is that you should try to remember that addiction is a disease that is both genetic and social in nature. The genetic aspect of addiction does indeed play into if a person is predisposed to relapse. And, unfortunately, the stigma that can come along with addiction can also play a role, socially, in a person’s likelihood of replace since an overwhelming sense of shame is such a catalyst for substance abuse. In light of those facts, how do you learn something from what feels like a catastrophic point on your life’s timeline?

Walk Away From The Temptation to Hate Yourself

Please know that while a relapse may feel like the ultimate failure and self betrayal, you are not alone, many addicts experience a relapse. It always feels tragic and hopeless to the person suffering with the chemical dependence, but even as many so many people experience relapse, something to know is that a good amount of them get clean again and are able to continue their journey of recovery. Don’t look back at your treatment thus far and see it as a waste. You still have all of that knowledge in you and a moment’s decision does not wipe away all of that hard work. The important thing is to take responsibility for your addiction, your reaction to your relapse, and your plans moving forward to sustain a life of health and sobriety. Relapsing does not make you a bad person. It doesn’t make you too broken to recover, it does not make you worthless or unlovable.

What It Means and Doesn’t Mean To Take Responsibility For Your Relapse?

Taking responsibility for yourself does not require you to hate yourself. All it demands is that you seek medical and therapeutic help, and that you are honest with yourself about what happened and how you will manage your triggers moving forward. Taking responsibility is active in nature it is not, in spite of what any one individual or the wider world may have you believe, an exercise in admitting culpability or in anyway playing “the blame game”. On the contrary taking responsibility for your relapse and addiction necessarily includes forgiving yourself. Nothing good comes from self shaming. The fact is that you relapsed and that you need to critically examine what happened in order to be able to heal from the experience, and properly treat the disease, substance abuse and addiction – you cannot do this if your focus is on how disappointed you are in yourself. Addiction is an affliction that is more complicated than a result of a flawed character, and in order to move forward you have to admit that it is true.


Once you’ve forgiven yourself here are a few concrete ways to move forward in treatment.

  1. Make sure you’re attending a 12 step program and don’t forget to share at the meetings.
  2. Find a therapist who you feel like you can trust and attend sessions.
  3. Go back to inpatient treatment


If you’re ready to seek further treatment please call 1st Step at (866) 319-6126. We have a myriad of programs including our South Florida alcohol treatment and our residential detox program. Call us today to hear more about these services. They may be just what you need to get back on your feet.


How to Survive Sobriety In Spite of The Explosive News Cycle

You’re ready to build your new life with strategies to help you succeed at sober living now that you’re back from going to 1st Step’s South Florida detox. Broward county drug rehab with 1st Step Behavioral Health helped you learn that the first step to sobriety, after detox, is understanding your triggers. While the different triggers you can have as someone struggling with chemical dependence on an addictive substance are as complicated as the individuals dealing with them, the news today is almost guaranteed to have something to challenge anyone on trigger management.


No matter your political or social beliefs I don’t think anyone can deny that the news cycles these days are absolutely full of stories that can take a serious toll on anyone’s state of wellbeing.  When you are a recovering drug or alcohol addict, you can be sure, withstanding the overbearing news cycle can be that much harder. Given the fact that many addicts have a dual diagnosis of addiction and mental health disorder, constant attention to atrocities taking place throughout the world and in your own community can really threaten an addicts grip on their hard fought sobriety. So how do you preserve your sobriety in the face of a nation and world that often feels like it’s exploding around you? You have to take breaks.


Sobriety Must Come Before Citizenship

You want to be an informed citizen, but sometimes the state of the things in the wider world and in your community right in front of you are demoralizing, and sometimes terrifying. How can you justify taking a break from the constant controversy and contention through the world when sometimes everything seems to be hanging in the balance? You can justify it because it doesn’t do you or anyone else any good for you to be an informed citizen if you are also falling back into your addiction and mental grief. If you don’t take care of your mental wellbeing you can not take part in being an active member of society.


The News is Everywhere

So how do you get away from it all when the news is everywhere in social media, podcasts, television, comedy – indeed anywhere more than one person is taking up space there will likely be political or current events based conversations and it is not unlikely that those conversations could end up extreme emotions and verbal outbursts. Politics are more divided than ever and political discourse has turned personal.


Social Media makes it very difficult to stay away from the trending news. Everyone from your elementary school camp counselor to your 12 step program sponsor is sharing all manner of controversial news articles and opinion pieces on Facebook and Twitter. You go on to check what time your friend’s party is and you see a headline telling you about the latest death toll for today’s devastating tragedy. It can cause some serious emotional whiplash.

Podcasts are equally as threatening although you have more control over which you consume. Some of the most popular podcasts are those that give you weekly or daily news updates and interpretation. These have become something of a ritual for many people. You get on the bus and you press play to hear what happened yesterday, every morning, like clockwork. You listen to while you make dinner or workout.


TV News is less popular than it was a generation or two ago, but cable news has enjoyed a boon with the uptick of major news stories. Or perhaps you get your evening dose of current events from late night comedy shows. Either way watching news in the evenings can be devastating to your sleep cycle. It can be hard to let yourself rest when your mind is still spinning from that thing your representative said in the house, or the breaking news of the latest senseless act of violence whether by a human’s hands or that of a natural disaster.


Stepping Back Can Be Healthy

There’s no end to the ways you can consume the comings and goings of every celebrity, the rise and downfall of political figures, and the devastation and heartache of warring nations. Sometimes it may feel like it’s just something you have to deal with to be a “good” person, but it’s not. Even taking a few days off from following it all can give your brain and emotions time to rest and reset so that you can successfully stay sober through it all. Try these strategies to take a break from the news, or find a different strategy that works best in your life.


    1. Stop the notifications! Do you have a news application on your smartphone? Do you get notifications from twitter or facebook  or any other social media platform when someone updates? It can be really stressful to have constant, real time updates on the world wide problems haunting society. The more technology advances, the more information speeds up, the faster we get our news. Stopping these motivations can do great things for mental health recovery, especially as you try to take a few days off of the news all together. But some people find it to be such a relief they don’t reinstate the notivations after a break from them.
    2. Consume other entertainment or distract yourself with a passion project. Conceivably you have other interests besides what is being reported on the news. For the few days you are dedicating to taking a break from the news, busy yourself with painting, or writing that movie script you’ve always talked about. Maybe you want to remodel your bathroom or start taking a class at a community college or local neighborhood center. Use the time to be active in ways that bring you life and don’t throw triggers or cravings at you.
    3. So what are you going to do about it? Even if the only thing you can think about is the brokenness of the world and how you have no control over where it will all go next, you need to find a way to process the ongoing eruption of difficult news in a healthy way. How about starting your news vacation by finding a place to volunteer that supports one of the issues at stake in the news cycle right now that you feel passionate about? Helping to contribute to a solution to the problem will likely reduce anxiety, help you gain confidence, and perhaps even lessen the news’s grappling effects it can have on your psyche and your struggle with chemical dependency on drugs and alcohol.



There is of course a chance that it kind of feel good to follow the news that closely. That isn’t to say necessarily that it doesn’t trigger you as well. People are always afraid of what they don’t understand. To someone struggling with drug or alcohol substance abuse, not understanding what is going on around them can really trigger their lizard brain. Maybe you take in the news as a way to stifle a control trigger you have, but then the news pulls other triggers you didn’t even realize you were either not expecting when you opened that article to read or started listening to the podcast. Knowledge is power, it’s true, but you have to take in that information only as quickly as your biological and psychological functions will allow you to digest them. It is okay to take a break. And you should take as many as you need to stay sober and safe in your mental health.


Loving Yourself Through Your Oxycodone Treatment

Coming back from oxycodone treatment at First Step’s South Florida Rehab Center, you may find it hard to forgive yourself for the pain and suffering your substance abuse and addiction has caused in your life, and the lives of the people around you. Even though you would never tear down a friend for their disease, you spend much of your time in shame and self loathing because of yours. But self loathing and shame are part of what helped foster your alcohol and oxycodone habits to begin with.


Addiction Is A Complicated Disease Killing

With so many elements at the foundation of addiction, boiling it down to you just being a bad person or worthless, as you perhaps feel sometimes, is really underestimating your disease. And also, it is simply false. Addiction is the result of a perfect storm of many different life variables, and genetics all coming together.


Often people are exposed to Opioids like Oxycodone as prescription painkillers. They are a slippery slope and thousands of people die every year due to fatal overdose because they so quickly become chemically dependant on the drug. The point is, Opioids are ubiquitous in our current society, readily available to almost anyone via prescription or illicit means. Opioids make you feel euphoric and relaxed, they attach themselves to the reward center in the brain and a person quickly becomes addicted. To someone recovering from trauma, or predisposed to addiction it is a firm possibility that they could be exposed to the drug and very quickly become an opioid addict.

Oxycodone Treatment is Your First Act In Self Care

“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence. It is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare.” Audre Lorde

It’s time to forgive yourself, take care of yourself, and foster a genuine love for yourself. When you were going through withdrawal from Oxycodone and you felt like you were dying you found yourself feeling a deep rage toward yourself for the questionable judgement and poor choices you had made that brought you to that point. You swore if you survived this withdrawal from oxycodone that you would make yourself into someone you could actually love someday. The way to self love is through self care.


The moment you picked up the phone and called 1st Step’s South Florida Rehab Center you began taking care of yourself and taking responsibility for your own self care. That choice is a true act of self love and it’s the one that matters the most.