How do you act after a recent relapse?



There’s been a lot of relapses and slips I have been through with my boyfriend for the past 3 years. When it happens, there is a lot of shame and guilt from both of us especially if there is a big blowout fight about it. I always find the time after the recent relapse and argument or conversation is a bit awkward. I don’t know if I’m just supposed to act normal or show him how much it’s affecting me emotionally. If I act normal, I don’t want him to think I’m ignoring the situation. But if I act like I’m thinking about it all the time, he will be upset and frustrated with me.

Does anyone else feel awkward after a recent relapse? What do you do?


I don’t have an answer but am afraid that one day in my future I am going to be in your shoes. I wish there was a protocol for relapse. I wish our brains had there own protocol. If my husband relapsed I would have a big blowout, argue, go nuts. At least at this moment I would. I’m finally trying to get to a point where if anything like that happens, or even the tiny every day things, I can control myself. I hear that finding your own peace and serenity is insanely helpful.


In recovery daily maintenance is of the utmost importance to a person’s sobriety, hence the reference to steps 10-12 as “maintenance steps.” When a person relapses, I have always been told by counselors that immediacy in restoring healthy habits and maintenance is of vital importance. After all, wallowing in emotions such as shame and embarrassment are often drivers in addiction. With that being said, we are all human and we are all fallible. Every person’s recovery is different and in the end, every person’s recovery is only as strong as their maintenance and their support structure. We alcoholics and addicts beat ourselves up enough without the help of others, so until it begins to drain my well being, I treat individuals in relapse the same as I would any other day. Chances are they know what the triggers are and what the consequences are, they just haven’t reached their personal rock bottoms. This is a disease and people in active addictions are indeed sick in mind, body, and spirit. They deserve dignity and compassion just as anyone else with a disease such as cancer, MS, etc.


I have been the person to be very angry wanting my partner to leave and I have been the person to feel sorry about his struggle and take care of him physically as he can be very sick after. Even with all the information and support I am gaining, I am still human and being angry and disappointed is very human as a first reaction. Its how I go from after that that I have to bring honor and value to myself despite his behaviors.


My boyfriend relapsed earlier this month, and my immediate reaction was to ask him to stay at his place that night because I needed some time and space to process. I called my coach ( and she helped me decide how I wanted to respond and what boundaries I wanted to set. His meth use is almost always connected to promiscuous sexual behavior, so I set boundaries around that aspect of our relationship. In addition to setting the boundaries, I honestly told him how I felt in a way that was simply communicating my feelings, not blaming him for making me feel that way.

His reaction to my boundaries was to feel like I was abandoning him, and also the low that comes after meth use made that worse. So I made an extra effort to show him that I still love him, I still support him, I still want to be partners in life. And I felt good about doing that because I had set boundaries for myself that made me feel like I was taking care of myself first. That’s important for me.

I think it’s important to communicate how we feel, as long as we’re taking responsibility for ourselves and our feelings, not shaming them for causing us pain. I also think it’s important to make the choice to move forward in a way that is supportive of their recovery, if that’s what you want. If you want to stay with him, then you are choosing to support him through relapse. That’s the deal, and it’s simply a choice. So yeah, it’s awkward at first…but honesty and taking responsibility for my emotions has helped immensely.