My loved one relapsed: what can I do to cope



When substance abuse is present in a person’s life, it doesn’t just affect the person abusing the substance, it impacts everyone who cares about them.


How to Cope When a Loved One Relapses


By taking care of yourself and learning how to cope when a loved one relapses, you are better able to help support your loved one.

Here are some coping strategies for dealing with a loved one’s relapse:


Externalize Responsibility


It is not your fault that the person you love relapsed. They have made the decision to relapse, no matter what the consequence. Unfortunately, relapse is a part of many people’s recovery stories. But do not give up hope for the person you love to achieve long-term recovery. It is possible.


Support For Family of Alcoholics & Addicts


If you are unfamiliar with the disease of addiction and are unsure about what to do when your loved one relapses. We at Oregon Trail Recovery are here to help you begin that process. You can call us 24hrs a day, 7 days a week and speak to one of our staff. We also offer a Family Group on Friday night from 7 to 8 pm. This is a safe environment for anyone from the community to come and ask questions about addiction and recovery. This is great support for the family of addicts who are trying to cope with layered emotions.

Our staff and current clients who attend this group are willing to answer your questions and offer support even if you would just like to sit and listen.


Prioritize Your Recovery


Not only should the person you love seek help and healing to deal with the effect addiction has caused on their life, but you also should too. Support for family of alcoholics and addicts like Al-Anon and Co-Dependents Anonymous are groups of people just like you, who are worried about someone with a substance abuse problem. There, you can learn from the experiences of others who have faced similar problems. You are not alone.


Keep Living Life


It may be difficult and even feel wrong to consider accepting invitations from friends and family members to go out to dinner or a movie, while you know the person you care about is suffering. But please remember, you need to be healthy too, for yourself and for the person you love. It can be easy to fall into depression and start to isolate yourself when you are missing your loved one, so stay connected with the people in your life that bring you joy and comfort.


Advice From Alcoholics & Addicts


I am currently a house manager with Oregon Trail Recovery and when I started thinking about the topic of “what to do when your loved one relapses” I decided to ask some of my clients currently enrolled in our 30, 60, and 90-day treatment programs what advice they would give to families who are struggling to cope.

Here is what they said… (And they gave excellent suggestions!)

  • “Accept them. Try not to judge them.”
  • Don’t enable them. But show them you still love them.”
  • “Don’t force them to do anything, it has to be their choice. But be there for them and support them when they do make a decision to change.”
  • “Keep healthy boundaries. If you are willing to help your loved one, and they need food, don’t give them money. Just buy the food for them.”



How to cope when a loved one relapses



Dealing With A Loved One’s Relapse


Healthy boundaries are a great start!

We know it can be hard to establish new and healthy boundaries with your loved one, but it is important for you both to hold tight to those boundaries so that you can both feel safe, loved, rather than used, or manipulated.

Make sure that you clearly identify your boundaries with your loved one and address any violations of those boundaries early on. It is also appropriate for you to have tighter boundaries and loosen them if/when you feel the time is appropriate.


Healthy Boundaries


Here are a few more reminders:

  1. It is ok for you to say no and not feel guilty. And you can change your mind at any time.
  2. Expect respect. If your loved one is treating you in a way that you feel is not appropriate, take a time out or ask for space.
  3. Take care of yourself. Your time is valuable, and your needs should be considered by you and your loved one.
  4. Honesty is the best policy. Communicate openly and truthfully with your loved one about your feelings and circumstances and try and keep a calm and polite tone.
  5. Stay true to yourself. Behave according to your own values and beliefs.

Establishing and continuing to enforce healthy boundaries is one of the best ways you can support your loved one whether they are in recovery or relapse.


Get Professional Help


If you would like to speak with us about having an intervention for your loved one, please give us a call at (844) 243-8358 and we at Compassionate Interventions will help you guide and support you through the process. Or email Ben at

If you would like information about Oregon Trail Recovery’s treatment program for your loved one, please give us a call at (855) 770-0577 or send us an email at and we would be happy to assist you.