Drug relapse prevention is the combination of skills and strategies individuals put in place to maintain sobriety after gaining it. They can be especially useful for individuals struggling to maintain sobriety and going through early stages of relapse. By implementing these strategies, individuals can identify their risks and respond accordingly.
At Indah Recovery, we help addicts develop comprehensive relapse prevention plans and learn how to implement these strategies while in treatment and after. Our supportive therapeutic programing is designed to assist clients with achieving and maintaining sobriety.
What Is Drug Relapse?
Drug relapse is the process a sober individual goes through when returning to their previous addiction. It can be described in as many as 11 steps (Gorski) or as few as three. Melemis describes the three stages of relapse as emotional, mental, and physical.
Emotional relapse is when an individual’s emotions and actions are setting them up for a physical relapse. While they aren’t actively thinking about using, persons going through an emotional relapse may be “1) bottling up emotions; 2) isolating; 3) not going to meetings; 4) going to meetings but not sharing; 5) focusing on others (focusing on other people’s problems or focusing on how other people affect them); and 6) poor eating and sleeping habits.” This is especially dangerous because it can lead to a mental relapse.
During a mental relapse an individual is actively considering using. According to Melemis, there are several significant signs. “1) craving for drugs or alcohol; 2) thinking about people, places, and things associated with past use; 3) minimizing consequences of past use or glamorizing past use; 4) bargaining; 5) lying; 6) thinking of schemes to better control using; 7) looking for relapse opportunities; and 8) planning a relapse.” For someone who has previously been motivated to maintain their sobriety, this change can be obvious, but for individuals who have been struggling consistently, it can be identified through increased conversation and more obvious behaviors.
Finally, there is physical relapse. This is when the person starts to use drugs again. This can be a single time or returning to previous use. Individuals in this stage can often feel extreme guilt, depression, and defeat.
So how do you support your loved one or yourself to prevent a relapse?
What Is Drug Relapse Prevention?
Drug relapse prevention are the skills and strategies learned in treatment or counseling that can support you when you begin to struggle.
One of the first and main goals of addiction treatment is to teach these skills to help individuals maintain their sobriety when they are in triggering situations and high-risk environments. Drug relapse prevention strategies help you stick to the five rules of recovery.
- Change your life
- Be completely honest
- Ask for help
- Practice self-care
- Don’t bend the rules
The foundation of recovery can be found in these five rules and can be maintained through proper use of drug relapse prevention strategies.
Tips for Drug Relapse Prevention
While relapse prevention can look different for each individual, there are several consistencies across the board that can help people who are struggling. Relapse prevention is based on the idea of self-care and making positive changes. For individuals this can look like practicing self-care, using positive self-talk, identifying high-risk situations, learning coping and problem-solving strategies, and learning how to release negativity in a positive way.
Practicing self-care and using positive self-talk can help individuals who may be experiencing an emotional relapse. By taking the time to take care of yourself and do the things you enjoy and need, it can create a positive change in your life, and you should praise yourself for making these changes.
Learning to identify high-risk situations and coping and problem-solving strategies can help you to avoid triggers and negative opportunities. By not having to directly face challenges, you can build up your tolerance against them and learn to manage and fight against addiction.
Finally, learning how to release negativity in a positive way can help individuals with relapse prevention. By finding healthy outlets for the things that can overwhelm, individuals can live a more calm and peaceful life. This can even be combined with practicing positive self-care with things like yoga and exercise.
At Indah Recovery we work with individuals to help them learn all the skills and strategies necessary for successfully maintaining sobriety. Through thorough detoxification and intensive residential therapy, our clients can focus on achieving their wellness goals with the support of our experienced and compassionate staff.