5 Ways to Bounce Back After a Marijuana Relapse

5 Ways to Bounce Back After a Marijuana Relapse

Marijuana, the dried flowers of cannabis plants, contains the psychoactive compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that binds to neural cannabinoid receptors and affects memory, concentration, pleasure and sensory perception. The plant is typically smoked in rolling papers, pipes, bongs and vaporizers, but the fat-soluble nature of THC means marijuana can also be consumed as edibles. The 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) found that marijuana leads all drugs in dependence rates, while the 2011 Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) report stated that it also leads all drugs as the primary addiction listed among treatment admissions. Should a relapse occur during addiction recovery, there are several ways to bounce back, including the following:

1. Toss any remaining marijuana or paraphernalia.

When recovering from a relapse, the first step is to discard any remaining marijuana or related product. Immediately. Many relapsed addicts make the mistake of saying they will get back on track after they finish the marijuana they just purchased or received. Allowing such an indulgence makes it more difficult to bounce back, and being able to toss the remaining product is a symbolically significant gesture that can provide more confidence moving forward.

2. Talk with your recovery sponsor

Engaging social support networks is one of the most important cornerstones to a lasting recovery, and sponsors can help with guidance, understanding and mentorship during times of struggle and setbacks. Recovering addicts without sponsors can speak with an addiction counselor for immediate help and connect with potential sponsors at local support group meetings.

3. Try to determine what triggers motivated the use

Relapses are certainly setbacks, but they can also be learning opportunities. Talk with a sponsor or counselor about the events preceding the relapse and try to determine what cues might have triggered the use. Marijuana-craving cues can include people, places, memories, emotions and other environmental factors, and recovering addicts need to identify, manage and avoid them when at all possible. Cognitive behavioral therapies (CBT) and other treatments can help by improving coping skills.

4. Create a plan of action to avoid relapse

Does insomnia trigger cravings? Create a plan that promotes healthier sleep habits. Does anger motivate use? Develop strategies that help better manage anger. Do certain actions seem to help during times of stress and temptation? Write them down, and commit to taking these actions when cravings occur. Whether in a journal, blog or other outlet, create a regularly updated recovery plan that identifies strategies that work and situations that cause problems. When tough times arise, reread the plan for guidance and inspiration.

5. Get additional treatment

In some cases, a marijuana addict may need additional treatment to restart the recovery process. Rehabilitation centers utilize a wide range of therapies to promote recovery, and applying new therapies or reapplying methods that already proved helpful may be just what the person needs. Likewise, it helps to rescreen for co-occurring mental health disorders, especially since marijuana withdrawal symptoms may have hid them during earlier assessments. For recovering addicts who need additional treatment, local outpatient centers provide options with fewer disruptions to daily responsibilities.

If you or someone you care about struggles with marijuana, let us help. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day to discuss treatment options, relapse prevention strategies, warning signs and other recovery resources. We can answer your questions and even check health insurance plans for treatment benefits. Please call our toll-free helpline now.