While the achievement of recovery is the end goal, it makes preventative measures throughout your recovery that much more vital. So much effort is focused on recovery that relapse prevention techniques can often go overlooked even after recovery is achieved. Bringing Real Change Healthcare represents everything you need to instill a relapse prevention plan that will stick with you.
The title can also represent the steps that will help you in the progress of your recovery. By ‘Bringing yourself to us you can meet ‘Real’ professionals that give you the ‘Change’ you need. During your time in addiction treatment therapy, you should’ve worked to understand the underlying causes of addiction. This is the base for you to build your plan for recovery.
At BRC healthcare, we understand the importance of a substance abuse relapse prevention plan.
The following details the importance of having a prevention plan for relapse in place. Through understanding the root phases that lead to eventual relapse, you can attack your temptations at the source.
Why are Relapse Prevention Techniques Important?
A relapse prevention plan will keep you prepared for the daily struggles ahead on the road to your recovery. Having a relapse prevention plan means you are implementing measures to make certain that relapse never occurs.
Retired general Colin Powell once said, “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” With that said, allow your lessons from addiction to fuel your hard work and preparation for a clean today and a sober tomorrow.
Understanding Your Triggers
A relapse prevention plan is developed by taking what you have learned during treatment and applying it to direct actions when you become faced with your triggers. Through your therapy, you should have developed a list of triggers that could cause you to relapse to drugs and alcohol. Triggers are things such as people, places, or emotions that often led to your substance abuse.
Once you have recognized your triggers you are able to develop a list of actionable items for when they occur. Make sure you give yourself plenty of options to choose from as you may need several direct responses to overcome temptation.
Keeping Your Guard Up
Having zero techniques for relapse prevention is like a boxer lowering his gloves at any point during a match. Your relapse prevention plan will be that guard that prevents your addiction from delivering that relapsing blow. The moment you lower your gloves in recovery, you open up the opportunity for your addictions to swoop in. In sobriety, that match doesn’t end until the final bell sounds, that is until your life comes to a conclusion. It is a daily battle.
Like anything in life, there must be a strategy to maintain a certain standard. Sobriety is no different. Many lower their guard most when they begin the recovery process, falsely thinking they are safe just because they finished addiction treatment. Many also, unfortunately, lower their guard later in recovery, making relapse very common.
According to research, 40-60 percent of recovery patients experience relapse. This does not in any way indicate you are likely to fail. It is, however, indicative of a failure of having a relapse prevention plan in place. Utilizing relapse prevention techniques will be your guide to keeping your addictions at bay
Keeping a Backup Generator
The purpose of a backup generator is to provide fuel or energy when the primary source falters. In recovery, this means when the habits you developed fail you, you have a relapse prevention plan to help get you through. In other words, you have fail-safe preventative measures in place to keep you focused on sobriety. Without a backup generator or a plan of prevention for relapse, the foundation of your sobriety is in jeopardy.
What are the Three Phases of Relapse?
Relapse never begins with the intent to revert to the addictions we spent so long to recover from. There is a sequence of events at play that result in weaknesses leading to the eventual relapse. Understanding the following phases will equip you with how to prevent relapse at the source. Each of these root stages is an orderly progression that leads to the final step of physical relapse.
An increased emotional state can often throw our sense of better judgment out the window. This stage is your body’s reactionary response that causes many to desert the good impulses developed in rehab. Anxiety, anger, or depression poses a threat to destabilize the new foundations instilled in recovery. This emotional vulnerability leaves the affected individual open to possible relapse.
The emotional affliction is what gives way to conceiving the thought of relapsing.
Even conceiving the thought is dangerous because many addictions are impulsive. This is why even allowing the thought to enter your mind can entice you to give in to the mental relapse.
This mental desire of relapse often consists of memories of previous substance abuse associated with the thought of indulging. Remembering moments with friends who also abused substances may feel overwhelming for someone who is struggling with a lack of companionship in recovery.
Physical relapse is the final phase that the previous two phases ultimately lead to. This phase consists of the action of contacting your dealer, purchasing the alcohol, or physically carrying out the action of relapse. Up until the act of drug or alcohol use, it is still not too late to prevent that final act.
It’s important to remember that even if you go through with the act of substance abuse, it does not mean you cannot go back to life in recovery. Relapse is common, many people go back to treatment or therapy after it occurs. A relapse is not final, but steps should be taken immediately afterward to ensure it does not occur again.
Components of a Relapse Prevention Plan
Understanding Your Own Addiction History
This means understanding what caused you to perform the act of substance abuse, to begin with. Through addiction therapy, you will review the process by which you became addicted. Was it caused by a particular event? Did you start by abusing one substance and then move on to another? Learning your past pattern of abuse will help you recognize any patterns in the future.
Learning Your Addiction Triggers
Know the triggers of your desire for substance abuse. Anything that causes you to crave the substance you struggle with. These vary by individual and substance. Stress however is among the highest causes of addiction relapse. Stress is caused as a result of most things because they are a bi-product of a financial, personal, emotional, or physical impact. Maintaining your stress levels in therapy can save your life.
Other common triggers include:
- HALT (hungry, angry, lonely, tired)
- Mental or physical disorders
- Places you used to abuse substances
- Social situations
- Celebratory events (holidays or job promotions)
Learning your triggers and developing a corresponding relapse prevention plan can help you mitigate risk.
Finding Addiction Habit Replacements
Simply ceasing from an addiction cold turkey rarely works without altering your habits. This means replacing your substance abuse habits with new activities, hobbies, and actions to keep you busy. Beginning new activities and hobbies you enjoy outside of your strongholds will, in turn, develop new healthy habits to replace the old ones.
It’s important to keep in mind when replacing habits make sure you are enjoying these activities and with individuals that do not encourage substance abuse. Having the right support system in place is crucial for your recovery.
Addiction Accountability Partner
This does not mean you are not held accountable for your actions in any way. You alone are responsible for your own decisions. But the influences you place around you are a key component in obtaining sobriety. A relapse prevention plan must include a reliable accountability partner or several, you can reach out to at any time.
This could be a friend or family member. If you can’t find anyone close to you for help, consider reaching out to someone in a support group like AA or NA. These groups have plenty of individuals who can work with you and keep you on the right path.
The greatest assistance and support you can get is the help of a compassionate and understanding professional. A caring professional will help you identify those addiction triggers while help you develop new habits based upon your desired new activities. This professional can also be your anchor and accountability partner in your path to sobriety.
A Relapse Prevention Plan is Necessary
Not having a relapse prevention plan opens the door for a relapse to occur. It is unsafe for your sobriety to allow any gaps in your sobriety armor. Any opening is an opportunity for addictions to regain their grasp on your life.
Understanding the importance of a relapse prevention plan is a direct bi-product of the expert compassion and understanding of BRC Healthcare. Your friends here at BRC Healthcare can bring real change to your life while providing a full-proof relapse prevention plan with techniques to keep you sober. Keep your guard up by acting now to ensure relapse doesn’t happen to you.