A drug rehab program doesn’t just focus on patients who are initially coming into the facility once they hit rock bottom. 3 continuously monitor patients to assist in the event a patient relapses. The program wants to build a strong bond with the patient to help him or her to success throughout the rest of life. The patient must be able to recognize the signs of a relapse though in order to receive the treatment he or she needs when he or she needs it most.
What is a Relapse?
A relapse is any return to the use of alcohol or drugs after a period of sobriety. Once drug and alcohol abuse stops, it can go into a type of remission, like most diseases. Simply put, a relapse is the resurfacing of this abuse. During recovery, there may be any number of triggers or cravings that can make you want to return to substance abuse, triggering a relapse.
Regrettably, relapses are relatively common among recovering addicts, but that does not mean that they cannot be stopped or prevented. A relapse prevention plan can do wonders for addicts in recovery, giving them a set plan to follow whenever they feel the urge to return to their substance of choice.
1. Forgetting the Bad Times
It’s easy for a patient to relapse when he or she starts looking back on the substance abuse and only remembers the joys of drinking or drug abuse. They think of the laughs they shared with friends and neglect to remember how alcoholism cost them their job or drug abuse caused them to lose custody of their children. A patient who is continuously striving to remain substance free always keeps in mind the negatives of substance abuse because it keeps him or her from going back to that place, no matter how much fun substance abuse was.
2. Meeting Up With Old Friends
Once a patient gets clean, he or she is encouraged to separate him or herself from old friends who he or she abused drugs or alcohol with. The patient is taught that it’s not selfish to walk away from people who are negative or may affect his or her recovery negatively. Right before a relapse, a patient might find him or herself looking up his or her old friend’s numbers and asking to go out for lunch or just to come over. If the patient is well aware of the negative influence the person is and doesn’t avoid the situation, it’s a good sign a relapse is soon to come.
3. Start Getting Lazy
The patient might find him or herself in a rut where he or she is removing his or herself from the activities started upon recovery. These are the hobbies or activities that calm the patient and keep him or her centered to alleviate the need for drugs or alcohol. After the patient begins giving up that daily walk or that weekly yoga class or the blogging, he or she will look for something else to fill the void. The person will search for something else to calm him or her down, which is oftentimes the drugs or alcohol that the patient used to accomplish this prior to treatment.
4. Changes in Attitude or Behaviors
Prior to treatment, the patient may have become selfish, Or, maybe the patient was overly critical of his or herself. The patient may have even over-personalize actions of others or start feeling extremely anxious once again. When a patient begins to drift back to the person he or she was before treatment, it’s a sign he or she is heading toward a relapse. Rehab teaches patients to change who they are in order to stop using. Going back to being the same person generally is an indication the patient is going to partake in actions he or she did previously.
5. One Won’t Hurt
Drug and alcohol treatment programs see a great deal of patient who relapse after saying, “Just one drink won’t hurt” or “I have the drug abuse under control, so I can just take one pill or hit.” However, for almost all addicts, the “One won’t hurt” mentality is completely wrong. One really does hurt. It tends to branch into taking more than one, even if it’s not right away. It might not happen after having the one drink or popping that one pill. However, the patient eventually decides if that one drink didn’t harm him or her, he or she can do it again at a later date. A few weeks later, the patient might believe that two drinks won’t hurt, and then it can either slowly or quickly convert into a full-blown relapse.
Isolation might feel good to the patient at the time. It might feel good to walk away from the bad friends and stay away from the good for the time being. It turns into a routine of constantly being alone. Eventually. the isolation turns into depression, and the temptation of injecting “H” or taking a few hits of crack seems appealing to numb the pain.
7. Feelings of Discontentment
The patient may have begun using to take away the pain of discontentment. Whether or she did or not, doesn’t change the fact that a person who isn’t feeling like life is going right is more likely to relapse.
8. Increasing Stress
Stress is a scary word in our culture because it is often tied to words like mental or physical breakdowns, sometimes both. We hear horror stories of people becoming so stressed that they become ill, injured or medicated. We all have different ways of coping with stress—whether it’s exercise, calling a friend to talk, listening to calming music, etc. But for an addict, an increase in stress can potentially be a trigger for relapse, as that was once the only way the individual knew how to deal with stress.
9. Using Addictive Thinking
Things are tough. You addicted brain tells you that it’s because you’re sober. Sober people don’t understand what you’re going through. The sober lifestyle just doesn’t work for you. These lies make you forget about the positive, and look to the past for relief.
10. Returning to Addictive People and Places
Warning Sign: Visiting places and people associated with your drug or alcohol use.In an attempt to “get away” from the recovery lifestyle, you return to your usual hangouts and buddies. You may even think “I’m not going to do anything.” Surrounding yourself with familiar faces seems comforting. After all, when you were at these places you didn’t have problems like you do now.
The importance of identifying the potential warning signs of relapse is self-awareness. When we anticipate what may happen in the future and plan how to deal with it in real time, we are more likely to overcome a situation by having adequately prepared for it. It’s when we are caught off guard and with no knowledge of how to cope with such things when addicts may find themselves in trouble. By recognizing that these are parts of life that will inevitably have to be dealt with, you are already committing to facing them head on and to overcoming them to continue on your path to recovery.
How To Deal With Signs Of Relaps
Our relapse prevention program for long term recovery teaches clients that it’s normal to go through stages where they will feel the urge to use drugs and/or alcohol again. All of our clients will have certain thoughts or situations that act as triggers that stimulate the desire to revert to previous behaviors.
Create a plan to cope with stress
If you notice any of those feelings or behaviors in yourself, it’s time to take a closer look at what’s going on. These warning signs indicate a problem that you’re not dealing with, and the stress of it can build until you eventually relapse. You need to identify that problem and create a plan to handle it.
The sooner you catch the warning signs, the better. The longer you ignore them, the closer you’ll get to relapse. It helps to be honest with someone in your support system (family, friends, therapists, sponsors, etc.), and that person can help you stay on track in reaching your goal to resolve the issue that’s putting your recovery in danger.
Ways to Prevent Relapse
The best ways to help prevent you, a friend or family member from relapsing is to focus each day on recovery and why sobriety matters to you. If the warning signs of relapse begin to pop up, get help right away. This may be in the form of:
- Re Entering a treatment facility.
- Participating in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or another form of psychotherapy.
- Talking to a sponsor.
- Attending 12-step program meetings.
- Asking for support from friends and family.
If you or your loved one feels like there is a chance a relapse will occur, don’t wait to take action until it’s too late. Instead, call 212-832-5699 to find out more information on the best ways to prevent relapse.
We teach our clients to understand how to identify these situations when they are vulnerable to a relapse. Our clients also learn how they can get help and support to deal with their difficult feelings and stay committed to their sober lifestyle.
Also read about marijuana addiction warning signs
To have slipped does not mean to have failed. Recovery is a journey, not a destination. Find out more about our relapse prevention and our other programs by calling us now.