Preventing Relapse after Leaving Treatment

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There are many uncertainties a person must face when getting for a drug or alcohol addiction. What will treatment be like? Will it work? Will I relapse? The fear of relapse is sometimes enough to keep a person from starting treatment in the first place. It is important to learn why relapse happens and how to prevent it.

Learning How to Prevent Relapse

Relapse can be prevented, but it takes hard work, dedication, and honesty on the part of the person in recovery. Below we have laid out several ways to prevent relapse using the resources you gained during rehab.

Stay connected to the recovery community. This is most important. Continue attending sessions with a therapist or counselor. Make it a point to join a support group or your treatment program’s alumni group. This will provide you with encouragement and support that you will need when days get rough. Don’t be afraid to contact one of these people when you feel weak. They have committed to helping you through this and want to see you succeed. Whatever you do, don’t pull away, because isolation is one of the first things that happens when a person is about to relapse.

Play the tape all the way through. The compulsion to drink or use will often pass if we play out what will happen if we do take that first drink or pill or whatever. The consequences are often far greater than the desire to ease the pain, if we can realize that this too shall pass.

Pick up the 100lb phone. This is an old saying from AA that is often true for most of us who struggle with addiction. When we are in the middle of make that life altering decision and it’s either our will or God’s will, many times, hearing from a friend or someone else in the program who “gets it” is enough persuasion to allow us to do the right thing.

Pray. Often the obsession doesn’t get lifted or returns because we forget that our Higher Power is in charge and not us. Asking for help from a power greater than ourselves is sometimes the only solution to a problem we are so powerless over.

Have a Plan of Action. Planning out your day when you are in early recovery is a big help for many successful recovering addicts. Boredom or down time can often be a trigger, giving us too much slack and freedom to pick and choose when often our best thinking is still to use or drink. Planning out your day the night before or in the morning allows us to stay focused and committed to being a productive member of society.

Staying Accountable. There are many ways to do this; checking in daily with a friend in recovery or a sponsor, taking commitments at meetings, or sharing and getting current with trusted friends or in a fellowship. Doing this allows you to connect with people and gives others the ability to get to know you and to follow up with you.

Finally, if relapse happens, it is not the end of the world. Just continue to try, ask for help, and begin the process again. Don’t consider relapse to be a defeat, but rather a setback that will make you even stronger and more prepared the next time around.

They say, if you aren’t actively working on your recovery, chances are you’re working on your next relapse. Keep coming back!

If you need support, don’t hesitate to give us a call.

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