If you are in recovery from an addiction to drugs, the threat of relapse is frightening. You have put a lot of hard work into getting sober. The thought of losing what you have worked hard to attain would be a devastating blow to your self-esteem and confidence. Unfortunately, relapse is an accepted part of the recovery process. It is estimated that 40 to 60 percent of those in recovery will experience a relapse. While this statistic is disheartening, your recovery doesn’t have to be part of that statistic.
Relapse may be part of recovery, but you have the power to minimize its impact on your life. In order to do so, you may understand what relapse means, know the signs of relapse, and put into place healthy coping strategies to create a strong drug relapse prevention plan. Call Nashville Treatment Solution today if you have relapsed, on the verge of relapse, or need guidance on creating sound drug and alcohol relapse prevention strategies.
What Does It Mean to Relapse?
You may think that relapse is the actual moment where you use substances after a prolonged period of recovery. This definition is true to a certain degree, but in reality, relapse occurs before you pick up a drink or use a drug. Relapse can be seen as a three-phase process:
The first phase of relapse is known as emotional relapse. In this initial phase, you aren’t actively using substances, but there are emotions and behaviors that you may exhibit which may be setting you up for a relapse. These may include the following:
- · Bottling up emotions
- · Mood swings
- · Intolerance towards others
- · Becoming increasingly defensive
- · Going to meetings but not actively participating
If you haven’t dealt with the signs of emotional relapse, you have entered the mental relapse stage. In this stage, there is an internal war going on inside your head. You don’t want to start using again, but there are increasingly louder voices in your head that are trying to push you towards active use. Some common signs of mental relapse include:
- Cravings and urges to use
- Hanging out with old friends who actively use drugs and alcohol
- Lying to others
- Bargaining with yourself and rationalizing scenarios where using would be acceptable
- Having fantasies about using drugs and alcohol
If you fail to address the signs and symptoms of emotional and physical relapse, you will enter the physical relapse phase, where you actually start to use substances after a period of abstinence. When you start using drugs and alcohol again, you will feel a profound sense of guilt and remorse. If you don’t “get back on the horse” and redouble your effort to get back on the road to recovery, you can be further stuck in your negative thinking. If that occurs, your substance use can intensify, and it will be harder to recover.
Why Do People Relapse?
People can relapse for a variety of reasons. If they are experiencing prolonged periods of depression, anxiety, stress, or frustration, they run an increased risk of relapse. Another common cause of relapse is hanging around the people and places they used to frequent when they were actively using. For those early in their recovery, attending parties, family get-togethers, and other functions where alcohol is present can be a trigger for use. Additionally, people can relapse if they stop going to self-help meetings altogether.
Additional reasons why people relapse include:
- General lack of motivation to work their recovery program
- Feeling “stuck” in their recovery
- Lack of healthy coping skills
- The emergence of or re-emergence of mental health issues
What are the Best Relapse Prevention Strategies?
To minimize the risk of relapse, it is important to develop a sound drug and alcohol relapse prevention plan. The following are some simple yet effective drug and alcohol relapse prevention strategies that will help you stay clean and sober:
- Watch for Triggers—one of the best drug and alcohol relapse prevention strategies is to be mindful of the environmental and social triggers that may lead to relapse. Avoid hanging out with using friends and stay away from social events that may cause anxiety.
- Keep Healthy—be sure you get plenty of restful sleep each night. Eat a balanced and healthy diet and get exercise every day.
- Stay busy—find volunteer work, find new hobbies, and spend quality time with those people who are supportive of your recovery.
- Gratitude Journal—a great drug and alcohol relapse prevention strategy is to keep a gratitude journal and write in it every day. In the journal, be sure to write everything that you are grateful for that day—no matter how trivial. Keeping the focus on positives will keep you focused and motivated.
How Can You Keep Sober? Call Nashville Treatment Solution for Outpatient Rehab!
Another excellent way to keep sober is to enter outpatient treatment. Nashville Treatment Solutions offers excellent outpatient rehab services that focus specifically on relapse prevention. Our experienced treatment team will work with you in developing an alcohol and drug relapse prevention plan that will motivate you to continue on your path to recovery. Empower yourself! Call Nashville Treatment Solutions right now.