It is hard to watch your friend relapse after treatment. You were hoping that going to rehab would put your friend in the right direction. While you may want to be angry at your friend and feel like giving up on them, it is important to be understanding about what your friend is going through and to continue leading them towards the path of sobriety.
A friend’s relapse should not be seen as an attack towards you as this is their battle. If the course of treatment did not work on your friend, ask your friend what it was about that method that did not work for them and what triggered their relapse. Then convince them to go back to their addiction counselor and to ask for another course of treatment. For example, your friend might want a form of therapy that is more spiritual like meditation or yoga.
This is not the time to blame your friend for their relapse but to encourage them by going to support groups with them or going to family therapy so you can let their therapist know how their substance abuse has affected you. Make sure to get rid of anything that can trigger your friend to relapse again such as not going to restaurants with open bars, ask the waiter or waitress not to bring an alcoholic drinks menu, have no drugs or alcohol in the house, and do not go in areas where there could be drugs and alcohol activities occurring.
It is important to show your friend how important it is to be healthy. When you go to the gym or you go for a walk, invite your friend to come with you. Your friend has a better chance of recovery if they get as much support as possible. It is important not to ignore your friend’s relapse but to let them know how important it is for them to be sober for their mental and physical health. You cannot force your friend to get better as only they can do that. Make sure that you do not enable your friend’s addiction if they feel like giving up on themselves and asking you to financially support their drug or alcohol habit. The best thing you can do as a friend is to tell them you will always be there for them and that the only thing you will support is their recovery.
Castle Craig is one of the most established and respected addiction rehab centers in the UK. Castle Craig treats alcoholism and drug addiction as an illness and promote abstinence as essential for long-lasting recovery. We help patients recover through an intensive, personalised programme that combines medical treatment, 12 Step therapy, CBT and other psychiatric therapies and complementary therapies. For information, call our 24 hour free confidential phone-line: 0808 256 3732. From outside the UK please call: +44 1721 788 006 (normal charges apply).
Page last reviewed and medically fact-checked | January 27, 2020