Relapse is a very common part of the addiction treatment process. Individuals who are addicted to drugs or alcohol have a chronic disease. Like any other chronic disease, addiction does not simply go away on its own. It is important to know that there is no shame in relapse and that the addiction recovery process is a journey over time. In order to do everything you can to help yourself or a loved one prevent relapse, it is important to come up with a plan of action with steps that can be taken. Here are some things that you can do following substance abuse treatment.
Practice Healthy Coping Mechanisms
Long-term recovery involves much more than simply going to detox. We recommend finding a treatment program that incorporates individual therapy, as well as a peer support group so that you can take care of the mental health components that accompany alcohol and substance abuse. There is also strong evidence that medication assisted treatment can help individuals move beyond the withdrawal symptoms in the detox process and decrease cravings. You should continue some level of treatment or counseling beyond your initial treatment program. You can also take the following steps as part of your overall relapse prevention plan.
- Create a trustworthy support system. A good support system should consist of friends or family members that support your recovery journey and can identify any warning signs of relapse.
- Practice self-care. Taking good care of your mental and physical health is an important step for continued recovery. Poor self-care is often an entry point into relapse. Take the steps needed to keep yourself feeling good and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you begin to feel down or discouraged.
- Practice good coping skills. Life can be challenging. Identify your mental, emotional, and physical triggers and work on finding ways to cope with things that increase your risk of relapse. Common triggers may include: financial problems, stress, relationship issues, certain smells or triggering environments, or isolation.
Identify Signs Of Relapse Before They Take Over
Stay closely connected to yourself and those in your support system so that you can identify early warning signs of relapse. Often there are signs of emotional relapse prior to physical relapse taking hold. Below are some behaviors that are common in the early stages of relapse.
- Lying or being deceitful to those in your support system or employers.
- Spending time with people who are not sober or do not support your sobriety or recovery.
- Thinking about trying drugs or alcohol again.
- Avoiding those in your recovery community.
- Missing counseling or support group
- Making justifications like “this time will be different” than your past use.
Sticking With A Solid Relapse Prevention Plan
Alcohol addiction and substance abuse are hard. It is important to point out that these are chronic diseases and nothing to be ashamed of. Developing a solid relapse prevention plan can help. If you or a loved one have relapsed and are in need of help, please reach out today. 1-833-510-HELP