4 Steps You Should Take After You Relapse

DISCLOSURE: I am not a mental health professional. If you need help finding a mental health care provider, call 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or visit Online Therapy to call, message, or video chat a certified therapist online. This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. I may also receive compensation from Online Therapy or other sources if you purchase products or services through the links provided on this page. You can read my full disclaimer.

Although I’ve lived with mental illness my whole life, I am not a medical professional. If you need help finding a mental health care provider, call 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or visit BetterHelp to talk to a certified therapist online at an affordable price. This post contains affiliate links. You can read my full disclaimer.

I write a lot about recovery on this blog. I’ve always tried to be as honest as I can, so that maybe I’ll be able to help one person. Just one person, and it’ll all be worth it.

But as much as I try to help others, it’s still hard for me to help myself sometimes. Because I am addicted to self-harm.

I started to get really serious about my recovery around October 2015, but I still relapse now and then. My biggest stint of recovery was a little over two months. Then I relapsed and recovered for about another month until I relapsed again.  (UPDATE: I made it to one year SH free!)

There’s a lot of shame and guilt that comes with relapsing. You feel like a failure. Maybe you start to think that you’d rather stay addicted than to start all over. Maybe you feel like you just don’t deserve to be clean.

Whether you have a drug or alcohol addiction, an eating disorder, a self-harm addiction like me, or everything in between, recovery is incredibly hard.

With recovery, you have to learn to be selfish. You have to put you and your recovery first. If anyone wants to sabotage that for you, you should reconsider why they’re still in your life.

Remember, everyone’s road to recovery is different. Don’t let that hinder your success.

What steps do you need to do after you relapse?

4 Steps You Should Take After You Relapse


First and foremost, you are human. We’re made to make mistakes. Please don’t beat yourself up, because relapse does not erase your successes. We need to view relapses as learning opportunities, not failures. It’ll only make recovery that much harder if you do.

Learn to forgive yourself:

  1. Look at yourself in the mirror
  2. Repeat “I am not a failure” out loud to yourself until you believe it
  3. Say three qualities you like about yourself
  4. Breathe


What caused you to relapse? Did something trigger you? Or were you honestly just bored?

Most common reasons for relapse:

  • Family issues
  • Relationship issues
  • Financial problems
  • Social pressure
  • Health issues
  • Boredom

Relationship issues are the number one reason I relapse. He’s my biggest support, and when he’s not there I sometimes crumble. And sometimes, I really just don’t care about the consequences. I don’t care about having to start all over again.

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Recovery might just be the hardest thing you will ever choose to do. Remember that recovery is a lifelong battle, and you’re either working on recovery or you’re working on a relapse.

If you understand why you relapsed, you can now make an action plan for what you can do for the future.

  1. Journal your feelings out
  2. Think about what helped you in the past
  3. Learn how to avoid your triggers
  4. Research tips that helped other people recover
  5. Gather the resources you need for recovery
  6. Have a backup plan for when nothing else seems to be working
  7. Most importantly, just breathe

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Are you getting the help you need? Do you have the right people to support you? Talking about your emotional pain is one of the best ways to relieve it.

If you don’t have anyone you’re comfortable talking to, here are some hotlines:
    1. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK(8255)
    2. Lifeline Crisis Chat: Crisis Chat
    3. Free Addiction Hotline: 1-855-315-4766
    4. 911 Relapse: 1-888-997-9398
    5. Contact me: [email protected]

Please get the help you need, however you need it. And know that I am always here for you.

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