What Happens If You Relapse During Outpatient Drug Rehab?

If you’re recovering from addiction, you’re acutely aware of how challenging the process can be, not to mention the ever-looming threat of relapse. But if you fall off of the proverbial bandwagon, does it mean you’re a failure, and how will it impact your commitment towards recovery? These are the hard-hitting questions that this article endeavors to answer.


Although the chemical addiction may have subsided, many former addicts are still trying to cope with psychological dependence; to further contextualize this statement, 40 to 60 percent or relapses occur while an individual is being treated at an inpatient or outpatient facility. Although these figures may cast some doubt over the effectiveness of drug treatment facilities, relapse while in recovery is surprisingly common with an overwhelming majority of people citing a moment of weakness as the catalyst in their decision to start using again. So how does one avoid the triggers that can cause them to relapse? Well, the first step would be to identify those triggers and employ a relapse prevention plan that will enable you to avoid succumbing to your cravings and desire to start using again.


When it comes to overcoming any addiction, there is no such thing as “one and done,” meaning recovery is an ongoing journey rife with potential triggers that can send you spiraling down the path of addiction at any time. Some of the more common triggers include

  • Social pressure
  • Negative emotions
  • Seeing objects reminiscent of past addiction
  • Being in the company of those who still use
  • Using other substances like alcohol

Obviously, this is not an all-encompassing list of triggers, but these are some of the most common among those who have experienced a relapse while going through recovery.


If you have experienced a relapse, there is still hope, and you can get back on track. In saying that, however, you will have to work a little harder to ensure you don’t find yourself in the same situation again. How do you go about doing this, you ask? Well, you have to identify whether your relapse was an isolated incident or a precursor to continued substance abuse. To that point, if it was an isolated incident, it will just be a matter of making the commitment to avoiding the triggers and lapse of judgment that derailed your recovery. Conversely, if your relapse is indicative of continued substance abuse you may have to enter an inpatient treatment facility, preferably one that places a strong emphasis on CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy).


For most people, the hardest part of addiction recovery is the psychological component, but how do block those thoughts that entice you to want to start using again? Well, along with CBT, you can find ways of de-stressing and clearing your mind. This can include practicing yoga and exercising. Also, it would be in your best interest to establish new responses to distorted thinking. What is distorted thinking? Commonly referred to as cognitive distortions, distorted thinking is an exaggerated or irrational thought pattern that fuels the biased perspectives we have of ourselves and the world around us. These thoughts are often used to reinforce one’s negative thinking or emotions. In the context of addiction, some may use distorted thinking to justify reusing as a means of overcoming negative thoughts or unpleasant experiences.


If you relapse requires you to return to an inpatient treatment facility, this should not bring about a sense of shame. Instead, it should strengthen your commitment to move past your addiction and transitioning back to a normal life that doesn’t include substance abuse. Beyond that, an inpatient treatment facility allows you to escape the temptation of reusing as you will be in a sober living environment with therapists and staff who have your best interest at heart. Also, these facilities will stress the importance of accountability and discipline, two the main tenets of successful recovery. Lastly, when the times come to leave the inpatient facility, the staff there can outline an outpatient plan that ensures you remain drug-free as you return to the “real world.” Call to speak to one of our counselors today at 833-762-3739.