What do you do when your loved one relapses after long term recovery?



I have handled my boyfriend’s relapses differently each time because I learned what works for me. It has been a while since I had to deal with my boyfriend’s relapse as he was doing really well for 18 months but then he relapsed and relapsed pretty hard it seems. I’m trying hard not to let this consume my mind but it’s so tough.

Is there anyone out there who has dealt with a relapse after long term recovery? What did you do? How did you handle it?


Oh yes! I think around the 18 month mark too. My husband had a cocaine bender. When he told me our conversation was very different to past ones, we were able to accept it and move beyond it pretty quickly. It almost seemed like a cry for help - things had been getting stressful for him and I hadn’t been paying much attention. I think the saying about the value of time in recovery felt really true - like all that time adds up. It wasn’t a major backslide just a blip.

That was my experience.

How are things going for you both now? <3 love an update.


Thanks for checking in @polly. We got in a pretty big argument over this one but he was honest with me so I did feel like this time was different. It was still hard because I felt like he went on quite the bender and I think what happened is he took something that made him feel very sick and was afraid it was something stronger than he wanted. He is an opiate/heroin addict and I think he was afraid whatever he took was laced with fentanyl and I’m assuming he felt like that was a wakeup call for him.

He decided to enroll in a suboxone program and has been doing that for a few weeks now. He has always done inpatient rehab so this is his first time doing an outpatient MAT program. It’s hard for me because I’m not sure if his body is adjusting or something but his behavior seems to equate to how he acts when he’s using so I"m not sure how to feel about it all. He seems depressed and isolates himself sometimes. It seems to be getting better slowly but our relationship isn’t quite back to normal.


@Selfcare31 healing takes time and though my partner hasn’t been on suboxone (cocaine was his jam) I understand it is the golden standard of treatment. Makes sense there’d be a transition period. Does he have a good doctor for it?


Wondering if some others with experience loving someone using suboxone can weigh in here, maybe @momentsandlight @Karilyn @stayhopeful244 @Julie_Smith @Dean_Acton @Marie_Marie <3 thanks guys


I hope suboxone works for him. I feel like we’ve exhausted everything else… his uncle has been sober from opiates for 10+ years and recommended this program so I’m sure the doctors are good.


@Selfcare31 My partner hasn’t had more than maybe 10 months of consistent clean time, but every time he’s relapsed he’s learned a little bit more about himself, which is interesting. A few months ago he also used heroin that he said was probably laced with fentanyl and it made him sick. He hasn’t used heroin since.

He’s only used suboxone on his own, usually takes it for about a week and then stops. He doesn’t like the idea of MAT. What has worked the BEST for him is Refuge Recovery - meditation based groups. That plus his intensive outpatient treatment. And he started individual therapy today, so I’m interested to see how that goes for him. Meditating has brought his underlying issues to the surface, and he’s now aware of what triggers him, how it makes him feel, how that makes him act, etc. He can recognize the pattern of relapse and is making an effort to change his behaviors so that he doesn’t start that domino effect. He meditates every morning, and I can notice a huge difference, both in himself and how he treats me. It’s been pretty amazing.

To answer the question of what do I do when he relapses…I call my coach. I don’t know how I would have gotten through his last few relapses (meth) without her. Well, I would have probably just cut him off. She helped me process my feelings about it, create healthy boundaries and she helped me keep the perspective that this is a long term thing and relapse happens and it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. I’ve learned to stop shaming him for the relapses. It doesn’t help either of us. The more open, loving and strong in my own boundaries I’ve been, the better our relationship has gotten.

I’d definitely recommend checking out the BALM: https://balmfamilyrecovery.com/about/

It’s been sooooooo helpful for us.


Thanks @Jane I go into some more detail here