How Can I Prevent Relapse?
After successful treatment for substance abuse, addicts are faced with new challenges when reintroduced to the world as sober individuals. All addicts face temptations in recovery, and some may feel lost in the quest for sobriety. Drug relapse prevention is crucial in maintaining a sober lifestyle. There are many roads you can take to prevent relapse in recovery. Getting sober is the hardest part of recovery for most, but staying sober is made easier by taking certain measures. You can prevent relapse by attending ongoing support in the form of individual therapy, group counseling, 12-step meetings, non-12-step meetings, sober living homes, and more.
A Healthy Mind and Clear Goals
Facts About Relapse Prevention
A great option for drug relapse prevention is to regularly meet with an addiction treatment counselor or other mental health professional to discuss your progress in sobriety. These meetings are a key part of your addiction relapse prevention regimen. Ongoing meetings with a professional strengthen an addict's sobriety by reinforcing the skills learned while in rehabilitation.
Addiction counselors use a variety of methods to help addicts remain sober. When you or your loved one meets with a counselor, different types of therapies will be used, such as cognitive behavioral therapy. In this type of therapy, an addict will learn to cope with and avoid situations where drug use is likely to occur. An addiction treatment counselor may also use motivational incentives that encourage you or your loved one to remain sober. However, if drug relapse prevention measures are to be effective, they need to give addicts the strength to avoid drugs, not just the motivation to do so.
Some addicts may require medications to remain sober. These medications suppress cravings that an addict may experience and help regulate brain functioning in patients who may experience imbalances. An example of this would be methadone, a synthetic narcotic used to suppress cravings in opiate addicts. Meeting with a psychiatrist will help you or your loved one manage recovery with medications if needed.
Outside of counseling, it's important to take care of your mind. An integral part of drug relapse prevention is keeping the mind healthy and focused. An engaged, healthy mind is less likely to be constantly thinking about using drugs. Staying occupied with positive things such as career, educational and personal goals are great ways to maintain sobriety. As you achieve these goals, you will gain a sense of pride and improve your self-esteem. As these things occur, you will be less tempted to use drugs.
Maintaining your stress levels also helps in drug relapse prevention. A study by the Social Ecology Laboratory showed that addicts who faced multiple negative life experiences after treatment had worse results than those who did not. It is important in times of negativity to remain positive. At these times, you may require more visits to counselors to help maintain your sobriety. This is normal and a very healthy decision to make. Don't stress over handling recovery alone.
Maintaining your sobriety goes hand in hand with caring for the relationships in your life. Healthy relationships will offer you support in your recovery. This support is essential in drug relapse prevention. A healthy family environment helps in many ways, such as:
- Providing support in sobriety
- Creating a stress-free environment
- Providing happiness and overall well-being
- Offering a healthy outlet to talk about your feelings openly
You can strengthen your relationships with your family by attending family therapy with a mental health counselor. You and your loved ones will work on your communication skills with one another and strengthen the bond that you share through therapy. You will learn to work through potential conflicts in healthy ways and establish a healthy family atmosphere.
Reaching Out to Others
Another important aspect of drug relapse prevention is educating others about your addiction. Surrounding yourself with drug prevention materials encourages you to stay sober and serves as a reminder of how far you've progressed. Drug relapse prevention is strengthened by holding yourself responsible for spreading encouragement and education to others.
An opportunity to reach out is to speak to members of our youth such as students at a high school. According to the 2010 NSDUH report, 10.1 percent of youths ages 12 to 17 use illicit drugs. Speaking to youths about your addiction promotes drug-free habits in young people, and working with them is very rewarding for some addicts. Educating others about drugs helps you feel empowered and reinforces what you know about drugs and the effects of addiction. This will lessen your risk of relapse as you will continue to feel good about what you're doing. You will begin to feel responsible for your work as a drug educator and feel a sense of accomplishment. This feeling of accomplishment will help you in drug relapse prevention.
Over 15.6 percent of college-aged persons are heavy drinkers, and 42.2 percent are binge drinkers...-Rehabs.com
Educating young adults is especially helpful in alcohol relapse prevention. Over 15.6 percent of college-aged persons are heavy drinkers, and 42.2 percent are binge drinkers according to the 2010 NSDUH report. These rates are extremely alarming, and a recovering alcoholic may find solace in educating students about alcoholism and sobriety.
Attending group meetings for addicts is very beneficial for recovering addicts as well. Meeting with other addicts provides peer support for recovering addicts. Other addicts understand what you are going through and provide encouraging words to help in recovery. Seeing people who have maintained sobriety for an ongoing period is uplifting and helps in drug relapse prevention.
Mistakes Do Happen
As hard as recovering addicts try, some may slip up and relapse. If you suffer a relapse, do not fear that your path to recovery is blocked, because you are not the only one who may go through ups and downs on the road to recovery. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), 40 to 60 percent of substance abusers relapse at some point in recovery. Drug relapse prevention is an ongoing process that may need to be adjusted after treatment.
Should a relapse happen, It is important to immediately seek treatment for yourself or a loved one. Starting the addiction treatment process over again is most beneficial as you or your loved one will relearn the essentials of sobriety and detox in a safe environment that is free of temptations. It is also important that the addict remains in treatment for as long as needed. According to NIDA, the most effective treatments for substance abuse addiction last longer than three months.
The Best Drug Relapse Prevention
As with treatment, the best form of drug relapse prevention varies by the addict. Different addicts need different kinds of treatment to continue recovery. The most effective method of drug relapse prevention is one that not only treats the substance addiction but also any underlying physical or mental conditions that may exist.