Once a client completes drug or alcohol detoxification and a rehabilitation program, a person in recovery is then able to return to their normal routine and life at a lower level of care. This lower level of care may include intensive outpatient treatment or outpatient treatment to facilitate the further construction of relapse prevention skills. So, what does that mean? How can someone return to their environment before treatment and maintain their recovery? How do they manage triggers to avoid relapse?
These questions are common and best addressed by involving yourself in continued recovery groups. Continuing support is imperative to long-lasting sobriety. In addition to support groups, we highly recommend individual therapy as well as regular check-ups with mental health professionals. In doing so, you will be able to address withdrawal symptoms, work to uncover internal and external triggers for use, and have guidance as you work to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
What Is Relapse?
Relapse is commonly a part of the cycle of addiction. It happens when a person is trying to stop using drugs or alcohol. They can make mistakes along the way, slip up, and begin using drugs or alcohol all over again. The return to their addiction is known as relapse. While a person is going through the phases of trying to beat a drug or alcohol addiction, it is common that they will experience one or more relapses during that time.
There are four main ideas in relapse prevention.
First, relapse is a process with distinct stages that happens over time. It does not begin the moment a person picks up a drink or uses drugs again. The goal of relapse prevention planning is to help individuals recognize the early stages of relapse, in which the chances of success are the best.
Second, recovery is a process of personal growth with developmental milestones. Each stage of recovery comes with its own risks of relapse.
Third, some essential tools for relapse prevention are cognitive behavioral therapy techniques (which help the individual break out of negative thought patterns that contribute to relapse) and mindfulness techniques (a set of exercises to help an individual ground themselves in the present instead of fixating on past mistakes or anxieties surrounding the future). These are both used to help develop positive coping mechanisms.
Fourth, most relapses can be explained according to a few basic rules.
- Make changes to your life so using becomes more difficult.
- Be completely honest.
- Ask for help.
- Practice self-care.
- Do not bend the rules.
Preventing relapse is similar to losing weight and dieting in the sense that it does take practice and dedication. However, relapsing can be very dangerous and sometimes even life-threatening. It is possible and easy for an addict to overdose if they stop using drugs but then take the same amount they did before quitting.
Being proactive is critical to preventing relapse. There are various strategies that individuals can use to help prevent relapse.
- Support – If necessary, try to join different organizations that will support living a sober life. There are religious organizations and family groups that individuals can join.
- Make friends – It is also helpful to make new friends since your prior friends may not be suitable to hang out with, especially if they use. You can be social and sober.
- Stay healthy – Make sure you get enough sleep each night and ensure a healthy diet to make sure you are getting adequate nutrition.
- Keep busy – The more you stay busy, the better it will be for you mentally. Additionally, it is important to ensure there is time for self-care to prevent burnout.
- Be reasonable with goals – Ensure that goals are achievable and realistic during your journey to recovery. Goals should be short-term with concrete objectives in place to to achieve long-term goals.
- Participate in therapy – Cardinal Recovery offers many different types of therapy, both group and individual, to help people on the road to recovery. Therapy can be incredibly helpful in recovery as it gives people a place to explore their feelings and ask for support.
- Practice mindfulness – Mindfulness is another excellent tool for people in recovery. It involves daily practice of training the mind to stay in the present moment instead of getting swept away by memories of the past or worries about the future.
Signs of Relapse
There are various signs that indicate an addict is experiencing a relapse in their recovery. Some of the most common signs of relapse include:
- Feeling lonely, bored, depressed, and unsatisfied.
- Avoiding recovery meetings.
- Exercise, eating, and sleeping habits have deteriorated.
- Giving in to drug or alcohol cravings.
- Lying to counselors or therapists.
- Convincing oneself that it is okay to have just one drink.
Learning drug and alcohol relapse prevention tactics plays an important role in keeping a person in recovery sober. From cravings to triggers, knowing what signs to look out for is an effective way to remain healthy mentally, and physically.
Understanding how and why one may relapse is the best strategy for relapse prevention. A drug or alcohol relapse can be truly heartbreaking for the individual who used as well as their loved ones. Relapse is extremely common among those in recovery for substance abuse and should be recognized as a normal facet of the cycle of addiction.
Recovery Plan After Drug & Alcohol Rehab
The following is a list of helpful resources to include in your recovery after drug and alcohol rehabilitation. They have proven to be instrumental in helping individuals avoid relapse and live a healthy and happy life in long-term recovery.
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings are community-based fellowships for recovering alcoholics to lean on one another for sobriety support, guidance, and encouragement. AA meetings can be found worldwide, with over 2 million active members. The infamous 12-Step Program was developed by AA’s founders, Dr. Bob Smith and Bill Wilson.
Learn more about Alcoholic Anonymous
Following the massive success of AA, Narcotics Anonymous (NA) was founded to offer to support to people recovering from drug addictions other than alcohol. NA also incorporates the AA-established 12 steps into their meetings and does not distinguish between drugs types, rather addresses all addictions.
Learn more about Narcotics Anonymous
Cocaine Anonymous (CA) also adopted the AA-established 12 steps into their meetings, where the focus is on addicts recovering from a cocaine addiction. The only requirement for members is that they have a desire to stop using cocaine and any other mind-altering substances.
Learn more about Cocaine Anonymous
Adult Children of Alcoholics
Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACA) is an organization created to offer a place for individuals to help one another in recovery from growing up in a household with an alcoholic. While meetings are typically informal, ACA is an excellent resource for members to work toward emotional sobriety.
Learn more about Adult Children of Alcoholics
Overeaters Anonymous (OA) is a 12 step group created to help those suffering from food-related problems. The most common issues that members deal with include overeating and binge eating linked to eating disorder such as anorexia and bulimia. OA welcomes anyone who has a problematic relationship with food and desires to stop eating compulsively.
Learn more about Overeaters Anonymous
Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous
Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA) is a 12-step program geared towards people who are recovering from sex addiction as well as love addiction. SLAA aims for its members to pinpoint their own “bottom-line behaviors”, which refer to sexual and/or emotional acts that lead to a loss of control. Members of SLAA must maintain a desire to abstain from their bottom-line behaviors.
Podcasts have grown into an incredibly useful tool for those recovering from drug or alcohol addiction. The ability to listen to podcasts in your own environment and at your own time serves as an excellent resource for invaluable peer support. Some of the most popular recovery podcasts include The Bubble Hour, That Sober Guy Podcast, Recovery Happy Hour, and Busy Living Sober.
Learn more about Recovery Podcasts
Building a community of like-minded, sober individuals is extremely important to maintaining a sober life. Peer groups allow for addicts to feel less alone in their pursuit of a new life and a way to establish a new group of friends who share the same goals.
Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART) is a program established for those with addictions as well as behavioral disorders. SMART Recovery uses self-empowering messaging to help addicts to control their addictive behavior, manage cravings, and live a balanced life.
Learn more about SMART Recovery
Refuge Recovery utilizes Buddhist teachings that focus on their four “truths of refuge recovery: addiction creates suffering, the cause of addiction is repetitive craving, recovery is possible, and the path to recovery is available. Refuge Recovery approaches recovery in a spiritual manner.
Fitness and Nutrition
Focusing on fitness and nutrition is a main factor in recovery after rehab. Eating healthy and regularly exercising offers a wide range of benefits such as stress relief, increased energy and physical stamina, pain relief, improved sleeping habits, and general emotional healing.
Celebrate Recovery is a 12-step program ideal for someone looking to incorporate Christian spirituality into addiction recovery. Using the spiritual aspect of Christian teachings, Celebrate Recovery is “part of a movement that God is a blessing”.
When individuals attend rehabilitation, there are many plans that are created to help with different situations that may arise when they may feel the need to use drugs or even drink. Any plan for relapse should be realistic and easily attainable. Some people may even choose to write down their prevention plans in a workbook or journal. Either way, the plan should contain both scenarios and actions to maintain sobriety. The more people you have on your side, the better. It is helpful to let your friends and family know what you are going through and to ask for their support.
While successfully completing a drug and alcohol treatment program is an incredible achievement, research points out that 40 to 60 percent of people will relapse at some point in their recovery journey. As such, relapse prevention provides an imperative set of tools to help the individual remain sober. By focusing on the potential for emotional, mental, and physical relapse, individuals are given a greater opportunity to prevent a relapse from occurring.
Whether leaning on the guidance from a 12-step program or an alternative recovery program, continued recovery is critical to sobriety. Since every person’s path to sobriety is different, having a variety of options is beneficial to all. Cardinal Recovery can help you find the right treatment program to ensure you maintain a sober lifestyle.
Do you need help creating a relapse prevention plan geared specifically towards your needs? Cardinal Recovery has a full staff of trained recovery treatment professionals who can help you regain control of your life. Reach out to us today to get started on your recovery journey – (855) 928-1987