Encountering a relapse back into addiction does not mean that you are a failure or that treatment failed. You are human and subjected to natural temptations and issues daily. To keep a brief lapse into old behaviors from making you regress, create a relapse prevention plan as soon as you complete an addiction treatment program. Planning your reactions to situations that could cause relapse can keep you from falling back into your old habits, ensuring a longer-lasting recovery period. Many aftercare programs are available to help you maintain your sobriety, such as continued counseling, peer support groups, and an alumni program for those who’ve graduated from treatment. If you need help creating a relapse prevention plan, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Fort Behavioral Health today at 844.332.1807.
Consider Stages of Lapse in Your Relapse Prevention Plan
Relapse happens in three stages at different levels. Your emotions, body, and mind can all feel tempted to give in to substance use. Recognizing the signs of potential relapse in these steps gives you a more specific plan to follow.
1. Think About Fighting Emotional Urges
Emotional urges tend to happen as the first step in a relapse. These feelings and actions don’t often correlate to conscious thoughts about returning to substance use. But, you may feel that using drugs or alcohol will make these uncomfortable feelings disappear. In many instances, these emotions accompany the initial withdrawal phase. Become aware of the types of feelings you could experience and decide how to react to them or prevent them in your relapse plan.
Watch out for the following emotions or actions that signal a need to take action:
- Reduced self-care such as not sleeping or eating enough
- Skipping aftercare meetings
- Isolating yourself
To keep these things from becoming a full lapse into substance use, take regular care of yourself and make a point to attend all aftercare meetings. Having someone to hold you accountable for sleeping enough, eating well, and attending meetings can also prevent these problems.
2. Make a Relapse Prevention Plan to Contest Mental Temptations
Mental temptations happen when you start actively thinking about using substances or your former life when you suffered from addiction. For instance, you may start to miss your old group of friends you used drugs with before treatment. Or you may think that one use won’t hurt or that you can get away with it. These temptations pose a greater risk than emotions for lapsing because your mind actively engages with the ideas.
Think about who to talk to when these temptations hit or activities to do that can distract you. Many mental temptations will go away naturally if you wait at least 30 minutes. Find something engaging to keep your mind occupied for that time. For instance, you could read a book, walk your dog, or play a video game.
3. Consider What to Do About Physical Actions
Slipping into physical actions indicates that you are about to reuse substances that you had quit. For instance, meeting with your former dealer or driving to a bar are types of these actions. When this happens, as soon as you recognize the situation, contact a trusted recovery support individual immediately. Your support person can be a sponsor, a friend, or a family member. You are not alone in your recovery. It would be best to recognize that you have people to help you and that you can reach out to them.
Even if you lapse into use, you can still get back on your feet. Depending on the extent of the relapse, you may require drug or alcohol detox in a medically supervised environment before continuing with a treatment program. Recovery is a process. However, resources from recovery centers can help you through it.
Benefits of Relapse Prevention and Aftercare
Post-treatment aftercare is vital to your maintained sobriety, and there is an option for any need, schedule, or level of required help. Recovering addicts often find lasting success and support in counseling, peer groups, or alumni programs. Some of the benefits of aftercare for relapse prevention include:
- You may find it easier to stick with treatment if you’re surrounded by like-minded people who want the same things as you.
- You may find that your cravings are less intense, and you are less likely to want to use or drink.
- You get an opportunity to learn from a mentor or a group of people who’ve been through the same things and learned the lessons.
- You get an opportunity to make new, sober friends who will celebrate life’s wins and mourn the losses with you in a healthier way.
- You will feel less alone in your recovery.
- The sense of accountability you will feel to your support group will keep you responsible and moving forward.
- You will always have somewhere to go or someone to call if you need immediate support in preventing relapse.
While it is the sole responsibility of an individual not to use drugs or drink alcohol in recovery, you don’t need to deal with that responsibility alone. If you are finding it difficult to avoid relapse after treatment, reach out to a support group or alumni program where your continued success will be everybody’s success.
Fort Behavior Health Can Help You with Relapse Prevention in TX
If you currently have concerns about relapse or want to stop the cycle of substance use running your life, reach out to us at Fort Behavioral Health by calling 844.332.1807. This phone call will give you more information about our addiction therapy programs that give you vital tools for your recovery journey, including creating a relapse prevention plan.