Man refuses alcoholic beverage being offered to him by friend.

How to Keep Your Recovery Moving Forward When a Friend Relapses

Your journey through the recovery process is sure to include both beautiful moments and difficult scenarios. That’s why having a strong network of friends and loved ones who are there for you when times get tough is essential to overcoming setbacks and staying on track when the temptation to relapse arises. 

After all, each and every member of your sober support network can play a key role in helping you maintain your sobriety after treatment. These individuals can inspire you to remain focused on your health and wellbeing when the stress of life becomes difficult to manage. 

  • Because your sober support network may also include individuals navigating their own recovery, relapse incidents from those closest to you may occur — which is something to mentally prepare for so someone else’s difficult times don’t throw you off balance, too.

Without question, planning for when a friend relapses is difficult because you want to imagine that the people who hold you up when you’re feeling weak are impervious, but relapsing during the recovery process (for anyone) is more common than you might imagine. 

So, preparing yourself for this potential scenario is not being pessimistic; it’s an important possibility to consider to avoid your friend’s setback becoming your own.

How Common is Relapse?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 40-60% of individuals struggling with a substance use disorder will relapse after treatment.

In other words, between four and six — out of every 10 — individuals who attend treatment to address their substance use disorder will relapse at some point in their recovery journey. 

In addition, 90% of individuals who recover from alcoholism are likely to experience at least one relapse within four years, and less than 20% of patients who complete a drug and alcohol treatment program remain clean for an entire year.1 

This reinforces the idea that everyone, including those friends who have supported your sobriety the most, can potentially find themselves facing a setback during their own recovery. 

Understanding this fact is essential to avoid feeling blindsided if they do experience a relapse incident.

Staying Sober When a Friend Relapses

So, your friend relapsed and left you feeling extremely vulnerable. You expected them to be your strong sober support, but they have slipped a bit, and that’s caused you to question your own ability to remain sober. 

Ways you can stay mentally strong and healthy if you find yourself in this situation can include:

  • Stick with your recovery routine 

Find a way to channel your energy and emotions into something healthy if you start feeling overwhelmed. Like when you first achieved sustained sobriety, replacing that impulse to use with a healthy habit can provide an outlet and effectively shift your focus. 

This can be anything from stress journaling to physical activity. Whatever helps you find peace of mind and get rid of negative thoughts can genuinely deliver a sense of relief during a difficult time.

  • Embrace the fact that relapse is sometimes part of the recovery journey 

Instances of relapse are often considered to be a moment of failure for anyone in recovery. But the fact of living with a substance use disorder is that relapse incidents happen and are not the end of the world. 

Taking a moment every day to acknowledge that relapse is nothing more than a small part of the recovery journey that can be overcome is helpful. This positive approach can make it easier to accept your friend’s relapse and keep your own sobriety moving forward.

  • Keep living your life to the fullest 

As difficult as your friend’s relapse may be to accept, it doesn’t have to destroy your life and all the progress you’ve made in recovery. Remember, their relapse isn’t a foreshadowing of your own future, especially if you continue to practice self-care. 

Keep doing all the things you enjoy. Let your sober life be the inspiration your friend needs so they can once again achieve a sober state of being.2

If You Experience a Relapse, Here’s How to Jumpstart Your Addiction Recovery Journey Again 

  • Learn from your setbacks 

Acknowledge that your relapse was a moment of poor judgement and figure out what led you to make the choice to use. Was it a certain feeling you had or peer pressure from those around you? Determine where you went wrong and find ways to eliminate those triggers from your life.3 

  • Surround yourself with sober supports 

Gravitate toward other people who are on the right track and living a sober lifestyle. You’ve heard countless times that recovery is not a solo journey but a process that requires sober supports.

  • Remember your triggers 

The best way to jumpstart your addiction recovery is to remove all the triggers that could potentially cause a relapse. That means removing certain people from your life, avoiding certain places and finding ways to manage your emotions in a healthy way.4

Finding your way back to sobriety after a relapse is important for everyone living with an addiction. While there are various methods to addressing a relapse incident, approaching the setback from a holistic perspective — like the relapse prevention program found at Ranch Creek — is an excellent place to start.

Techniques rooted in whole-body wellbeing that focus on healing the mind, body and soul allow you to not only face your relapse incident, but to also continue repairing the mental and physical areas of yourself that can help you once again achieve sustained sobriety.

Life-Changing Addiction Recovery and Relapse Prevention at Ranch Creek Recovery

Relapse can happen to anyone, but your rehabilitation route can mean all the difference and better prepare you for the challenges ahead. Indeed, when you find the right recovery facility that is focused on healing your entire being – you mind, body and soul – you will be better prepared to evade triggers and prevent relapse.

At Ranch Creek Recovery, we address addiction recovery and relapse prevention head on through our non-12-step, individualized, holistic addiction treatment programs. Our team of treatment experts will work one-on-one with you to create a custom treatment and recovery plan that will help you feel confident and ready to re-enter your sober life.

When you’re ready, we’re here for you!

Have questions? We’re here to help. Contact us today.  


CALL NOW: (877) 997-8931



1 National Institute on Drug Abuse. Can addiction be treated successfully? Accessed July 30, 2021.

2 Very Well Mind. How to Stay Sober: 12 Tips for Your Recovery. Accessed July 30, 2021.

3 WebMD. 4 Things To Do After An Alcohol Relapse To Get Yourself Back On Track. Accessed July 30, 2021.

4 PsychCentral. 7 Strategies to Help You Recover from a Relapse. Accessed July 30, 2021.