Relapse Prevention

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Not many people realize that getting sober is not just about going through detox and clearing the drug from your system. The majority of recovery is based on fighting the old demons that kept you on the path of addiction, as well as learning how to recognize and prevent the triggers that also contribute to a relapse. While relapse is part of the process, the goal is to get to the point of complete sobriety by applying a series of relapse prevention techniques.

What are common triggers that can lead to relapse?

Everyone’s story is different. How they grew up… what their family situation was like… who their friends were… their level of education…?

No one’s journey is the same and even siblings who grew up in the same home have different stories. Internal physiology, as well as outside influences, make every cause and effect vastly different. That means that what triggers one person to take a hit is different than the next one. For example, a woman who had a great relationship with her father might thrive working with a male counselor while her roommate at rehab was sexually abused by her father and fared better with predominantly female interactions. The risk of relapse exists no matter how long the addict has been sober, and similarities are present as to the reasons behind these events, which include:

How do you recognize and make a relapse less likely?

There are three stages to a relapse. It generally does not just happen. Someone who recognizes that these are occurring, can divert the course and prevent the final moment when they falter. What are the stages?

What are relapse prevention skills?

Learning how to love life without relying on the effects of drugs or alcohol to get you through everything from happy times to stressful situations is an ongoing process; however, there are coping mechanisms that a previous user can institute in their daily lives that will make that process proceed in a smooth fashion. Some believe that it is only necessary to use these techniques when they are in crisis, but if they have been made habits, they will come naturally when they are facing a moment of weakness. Some skills that have been proven to help include:

Living a sober life is not the path that you initially envisioned. In your previous life, you did not realize the intense feelings that drugs and alcohol could cause. You knew the consequences. You learned about them in school, but what you didn’t realize was how effectively they could change your brain chemistry and make you feel like you couldn’t live without them. You have worked hard to take your life back. You went through weeks of detox, months of therapy, and continue years later to be an example of what good can come of rehab. You have reestablished relationships and are a contributing member of society. This is something that you never dreamed could become a reality for you; however, you now realize that executing the relapse prevention skills that you learned back in rehab and adjusted throughout the years is still a necessary part of life. One day you could not be thinking about using, and the next you are watching a movie and are reminded of that life, but you get through it with your relapse prevention skills. You are a success story.