A relapse is a series of activities and events that lead to a return to substance abuse. Developing coping skills, which make it possible to prevent and disrupt this series of events, is an important part of maintaining long-term sobriety.
A relapse prevention program is an integral component of any addiction treatment program and an asset to every recovering addict.
Substance Abuse Prevention Programs Include:
- Coping skills for triggers, cravings and situations that incite a desire to use
- A support system of others who can help you anticipate and prevent relapse
- Skills that prevent a momentary slip from becoming a full-blown return to substance abuse
To maintain sobriety, it is important to make lifestyle changes and always have a plan in place to minimize the chance of relapse. The ideal relapse prevention plan is different for each individual and will need to be developed and honed throughout addiction treatment and the rest of your life.
By attending our substance abuse prevention program, you will feel more confident in knowing that you have help if these cravings begin to happen. We customize our relapse prevention program to coincide with the underlying cause of the addiction.
The Relapse Process
A relapse is about more than just returning to drug use. It’s about falling back into a cycle of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors which justify and perpetuate the return to substance abuse.
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At the beginning of a relapse, we may feel resistant to the changes we’re making in recovery. Though we might not immediately begin using again, we may start to lose faith in treatment and put ourselves in high-risk situations. As cravings grow stronger, and we begin to feel that old behaviors will help us relieve them, the risk of returning to substance abuse continues to grow until we may eventually give in.
It’s important to understand that the desire to use is natural for any alcoholic or drug addict.
Many people experience a relapse or multiple relapses during recovery, and this never means that long-term sobriety is impossible to achieve.
Drug Relapse Prevention – Stopping the Cycle
At any point in the relapse cycle, it is possible to stop the process from continuing. Any time you experience thoughts, feelings or behaviors that may indicate a relapse is coming, you need to put your relapse prevention plan into motion. This can be accomplished by:
When you struggle with difficult emotions, begin to fall into old behaviors or recognize that a relapse may be imminent, it’s important to immediately reach out to the members of your support system, like:
- Your Sponsor
- Your Counselor
- Other Healthy People Who are Going Through Recovery
- Healthy People Outside Recovery Who can Encourage You and Help You Remain Sober
All of these individuals can help you navigate the difficult feelings and experiences that can lead to a relapse. Reengaging with them is the most important thing you can do to prevent a relapse. Because these individuals may also be able to recognize signs that you are at risk of relapse, it is important to stay in consistent contact with them
Rather than allowing yourself to disconnect from treatment and resume substance abuse, it’s important to reinforce your dedication to the activities and organizations that will help you remain abstinent. You can recommit to recovery by:
- Going to an AA, NA or Other Group Meeting
- Attending an Individual Counseling Session
- Engaging in Healthy Alternative Activities like Exercise or Meditation
A relapse prevention plan is a valuable part of maintaining sobriety for any recovering addict. But regardless of what happens, do not ever feel that you have slipped too far to return to treatment or reach out for support. Help is always available.