Struggling with drugs or alcohol is an experience that many people endure. Whether you or a loved one has dealt with this journey, you know how arduous it can be. Seeking treatment can help to alleviate and resolve the issues, and understanding relevant information about relapse prevention creates a more comprehensive overall experience.
Understanding the Truth About Relapse Prevention
Many people believe that going through detox and rehab is all they have to do to become free from addiction. The one thing some of them fail to understand is that recovery is a lifelong journey, and some addicts relapse many times before actually succeeding in continued abstinence. Eight things addicts need to know about relapse are listed below:
- Relapse does not mean failure.
Some people look at relapse prevention as though it is a magical cure. Understand that it does not always work. Some individuals go through therapy and still relapse. The idea is to avoid turning that relapse into a failure. If you relapse, you can return to therapy and speak with a specialist about methods you can employ to prevent the problem from happening again. Go into the program with the idea that it will work, but recognize that you may need to try several times.
- It’s part of the program.
You may view a relapse as entirely separate from your first addiction, but it is not. Realize that during the program, you will learn about methods for coping with relapse. Understanding what the program can help you to become more immediately comfortable with it. Furthermore, you can begin to open your mind to different modes of treatment. On top of that, you know that you can go back to speak with your specialist if relapse does occur.
- Relapses can happen years later.
Once you have finished your rehabilitation program, you are likely going to want to start tracking how long you have been free from the powers of drugs and alcohol. Doing so gives you a strong sense of motivation. However, keep in mind that a relapse could happen many years in the future. That is not to scare you; it is to remind you that you need to keep up with the techniques that you learned throughout your life.
- You can ask for help.
People around you want to help you. Whether your relatives, friends or other individuals have supported you throughout this journey, you can lean on them. Let them know what your triggers are. Explain that times may come when you call on time to help you get away from your triggers. When people ask you if you want to talk, don’t just turn away and shun them. Open up if you feel empowered to do so. Also, keep in mind that the counselors at your rehab center can help guide you in the future too.
- Relapse can be a learning tool.
- Relapse can be a learning tool.
Think about other things that you have done in your life. For example, maybe you played the piano when you were younger or learned how to drive as soon as you could get your permit. Chances are, you made some mistakes no matter how skilled you were. If you do relapse, remember that you have not failed; you have made a mistake, and people can recover from mistakes.
- Learn to handle your triggers.
When you are in rehab, you are likely going to learn about the different stimuli that trigger you into using drugs or alcohol. For example, you may drink excessively when you are stressed at work. You may use drugs when you are among particular groups of people. Preventing a relapse from happening is likely going to involve avoiding the stimuli or learning how to deal with them differently.
- You might need to make more significant lifestyle changes.
Sometimes, avoiding your stimuli means that you need to make major changes to your life. For example, you may need to move to a new community where you are not always surrounded by negative people, or you might have to pursue a career path that is more aligned with your dreams. Having to make these changes can feel overwhelming. Do not forget that you have already shown your strength to change by attending rehab for drugs or alcohol.
- You can return to rehab.
Right now, your goal is likely to continue with your life and not to experience a stay in a rehab facility again. You must always keep in mind that the rehab centers are there to help you. People do return after their initial stays. If you are struggling to stay sober, you can return to rehab. You may decide to do the same program again. Also, you may opt to do an outpatient program if you are struggling to avoid your triggers but feel that you can do it with guidance. Do not think of yourself as a failure for going back to rehab; you are strong for admitting that you need to do so.
Relapse prevention is a process that requires effort and dedication, and when you know more about it now, you can begin to build up the necessary motivation.