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Relapse and Prevention

Addiction Relapse

Alcohol Relapse Help and Drug Relapse Prevention

Anyone who has been to rehab or got clean and sober all on their own will know, it is not easy and for an addict, to stop even for a short period of time is a huge achievement so don’t forget that. Addiction Relapse, be it alcohol relapse, drug relapse or any other re emergence of associated behaviours, is common but not the end, we should all guard against it by using the alcohol relapse and drug relapse prevention ideas below and if the worst does happen we can offer relapse help to pull you out of that hole again. As an addict in recovery myself, I don’t see my relapses that happened before finally getting clean and sober as complete failures, I learnt form them and for me they were a part of a bigger process. This is not to say relapses are inevitable, some people don’t do it but if and when it happens it’s important to look at why and to use it as a positive, rather than doing the default addict thing of beating yourself up and getting angry with yourself and everyone around you. I relaspsed about 4 or 5 times and each time it got worse, the thing I wasn’t aware of at the time was that every recovery experience prior to the relapses, I had learnt something new and valuable and it was all building up to one final push and a sober life ahead. The important thing is to not give up and to keep on trying. I believe it is relatively easy to stay clean and sober whilst in treatment as all the tools are provided to assist, relapse prevention plans are developed and plans for aftercare are made. Finishing treatment is a big achievement, don’t get me wrong, but it’s only the start and maintenance is the key to a successful and prolonged recovery.

Having worked in the addiction field in the UK and as an alcoholic in recovery myself, I applaud and encourage the accomplishments of all clients, whatever stage of their personal journey they may be on. Progress is the key at the beginning and any insights gained or an increased awareness of addiction and addictive behaviours is all a part of what equips the addict for the future. However, I don’t buy into the ‘quick fix’ model of addiction treatment, 21 days in a clinic and the brain is back to normal! My addiction lasted 25 years, that’s less than a day of treatment for a year in active addiction and that is simply unrealistic! I always encourage secondary, tertiary or sober living as remaining drug-free will always be a challenge however confident the person may feel, because true recovery is a life-long journey. It’s impossible to tell at the rehab stage who will remain clean and who will relapse and in my experience some of the most screwed up people in rehab go on to achieve amazing things and often, those who breezed through rehab without any evident problems fall by the wayside. I believe this is because desperation and desire is the number one factor in staying clean and sober. Some people will become what is commonly referred to as “chronic relapsers” and I was probably one of these for a couple of years at the beginning of my journey. At the time I would use any drug relapse or alcohol relapse as reinforcement that I couldn’t do it, that I was somehow beyond help and in my mixed up mind that was actually comforting! The thing is that I never gave up on myself and whilst others had maybe had enough of my bullshit, I had to believe that there was a way out, otherwise I had no reason to live anymore.

Addiction Relapse, Drug Relapse Prevention, Alcohol Relapse Help

With all this in mind, there is no special formula to help substance abusers in avoiding relapse; remaining clean and sober takes a lot of hard work and tons of commitment. However, these are a few ways to decrease the chance of a relapse, do this until you are in a daily recovery routine, people in the game refer to it as ‘faking it ’till you make it’. So here are my tips for Alcohol Relapse and Drug Relapse Prevention.

Alcohol Relapse and Drug Relapse Prevention, do these five things thoroughly!

1. Stay away from tempting situations, people, places and things! This the key to drug relapse prevention!

Whilst I was in the initial crazy stages of rehab I would hear some fellow clients saying that they wanted to prove to themselves or other people that they could safely be around their drug of choice and not use it. This used to make me laugh as in my vulnerable state I knew that if I went within 100 feet of a bar then I would be in it without a second thought! Avoiding the temptation in a particular moment is one thing and fair play if that’s how they want to do it but for someone in early recovery I would say it’s not even an option so dismiss these peoples notions immediately if you want to remain clean and sober. It’s not worth the risk. These situations can also be emotional as well as physical, many have issues with relationships alongside their substance use. We were advised to avoid relationships whilst in treatment and at the time it seemed like the counsellors were just trying to control our actions, with time this made complete sense, as much as I hate to admit it. I have seen and still do see many addicts falling to relapse because they move from relationship to relationship without allowing themselves time to be happy and comfortable on their own, to love themselves. It’s a very addict thing to put all our self worth into another person loving us or finding us attractive and avoiding this is a sometimes difficult but I would say necessary measure. So, in short, try at all costs to avoid going to places where there will be substance use or even where there will be obvious things that remind you of times you used. Addicts are forgetful and after a while they only remember the good times and not the chaos and destruction. Also try to avoid people or situations that can be emotional triggers, for some, this just means checking your motives when interacting with members of the opposite sex.

2. Find and build a network of supportive and ‘healthy’ people. Get addiction relapse help if needed from like minded people.

I always say that the single most important thing in recovery is the people. The idea of humans helping humans is limitless and hugely powerful. When I was drinking, my circle of friends was essentially people who liked a drink, although they weren’t alcoholics, I fitted in very well with the pub lifestyle and for many years believed I was just very sociable. In fact, these ‘friends’ were just drinking buddies and I was the opposite to sociable, I was becoming more and more distant to those who were important like family and real friends. My suggestion now, in early recovery, would be to surround yourself with positive people who do not use drugs or alcohol initially though this doesn’t mean you can never be around people who drink, just for the short term surround yourself with those who are supportive of your substance-free lifestyle. It is very important to have ‘healthy’ people who have your needs at heart and who will be able to support you in your times of need. You may need to totally cut off the unhealthy relationships and the ties to those that bring you down or don’t encourage you. It sounds harsh but change your telephone number, delete their numbers, block them on Facebook, do whatever is necessary to create a new and healthier support network.

3. Create a schedule and stick to it. This is vital to addiction relapse and drug relapse prevention so get a schedule and relapse help comes naturally.

This is another thing that used to do my head in when I was in rehab during the early days! A daily plan of what you were going to do for each and every hour of the next day. It should include times for any recovery related stuff like treatment and meetings, any unavoidable and necessary activities such as work or family time, daily routine stuff, what we call activities of daily living or ADL’s in the nursing profession and free time, social activities, even time alone to read or watch a film. I’ll be honest, I struggled with this! Again, with hindsight, that’s the point though, I had no routine, my life was just one huge chaotic mess. Although I don’t subscribe to planning every hour these days, I think the early planning stages gave me a benchmark, I now set goals for what I want to achieve in a 24 hour period and it works for me.

When in rehab, clients are required to follow a strict schedule as a part of learning to build structure into their lives. It can get a bit robotic and repetitive but the logic behind it is again very simple. Once out, we are not bound by the structure and everyone knows that self-will can be an addicts worse enemy. By developing a bit of a schedule at least, for when treatment has ended, the patient is able to continue with the structured living that worked on the ‘inside’. I guess the key is to not get board so for me it can even be as simple as getting up and going to bed at a ‘normal’ time and doing constructive things in between. People in early recover, go to NA and AA meetings as part of a daily schedule, you not only might learn something but it really helps to build confidence, make friends and follow at least some sort of structure!

4. Do not allow complacency to creep up on you. Addiction relapse help may always be required, you cannot do it alone. Avoiding complacency is key to maintaining sobriety and the main factor in drug relapse prevention in later years of recovery.

Complacency is dangerous and a very real cause of relapse, particularly amongst people who have been clean and sober for a long period of time. In early recovery we focus a lot on milestones, months, weeks and even days. The approach is really doing everything to stay sober for that day only and it is an effective approach. As time goes on however, normal life gets in the way and the important things seem less important. Addicts are famously very forgetful and I believe it’s important never to forget the horrors and struggles of active addiction. An addict fresh out of treatment and following all the steps above is motivated and sees the differences and it is vital to stay that way and not lose focus as life improves. Keep up the social circles you’ve built, continue to do set meetings every week without fail. Keep in touch with how it used to be, for me today my biggest motivation for not picking up a drink in the difficult times is looking back to the dark days and the pain it caused everyone. I know that a drink will end my life and destroy the lives of those who care about me so I don’t do it. Having said that, everyone must find what recovery program works for them, the key is that when you do find what works for you, stick with it and continue to make it work.

5. Addiction Relapse – Don’t view yourself as a failure should you have a drug relapse or alcohol relapse. Addiction Relapse is very common.

If you do relapse then don’t view it as the ultimate failure. This type of thinking is fuel for an addict and buys into all the self loathing and self pity that led to drinking or using in the first place. Our addict loves to tell us that we are a failure and that we are too weak to battle this disease so don’t listen to it.  If you found a way to stay clean and sober before, you will certainly be able to do it again. Get in touch with those friends in the recovery community, tell them about it. Remember it is not unusual and probably just a sign that you need to work more on what is causing the problem, the underlying issues. Do what you did before, the stuff that worked for you and process the events and emotions that led to the relapse so that they are not repeated again in future. We learn from our mistakes and in my experience, every relapse I have had, and there have been a few, I have learnt something new and valuable that helps keep me sober today. At the start of my recovery process five years ago, I had a lot of issues to deal with and spent the first two years trying and relapsing repeatedly. Eventually it all clicked together and now I am approaching three years sober, although I don’t dwell on the past, I never forget it because ultimately, the deep desire to not go back there keeps me sober.

Drug Relapse Prevention and Alcohol Relapse Help

Addiction Relapse Help

So, having read all that, what do you do if you’ve relapsed and can’t stop again alone? As I said a drug relapse or alcohol relapse is not the end of the world and we can offer relapse help to get you back on track. You may need a period of controlled medical detox to avoid the dangers of detoxing. My suggestion would be to do a refresher month in rehab and really focus on what it was that caused the relapse, I can arrange this for you. Trauma can be a big factor for many and unresolved trauma is one of the biggest causes for addiction relapse, alcohol relapse or drug relapse and strangely, this is often forgotten during an alcohol relapse help plan or drug relapse prevention plan. Addiction relapse help is available all the time, drug relapse prevention is not science, address that now while you can and whilst you have the previous experience of rehab and recovery fresh in your mind, all I can say is that it does get better. If you want to get me on e-mail at simon@caperecovery.co.uk then I’d be happy to help you all I can. Alternatively simply fill in this Contact Form and we will get back to you and find the best possible course of treatment to get you back on your feet! Addiction Relapse doesn’t have to be the end, you learn every time it happens. We are always around to offer drug relapse prevention advice before it happens again and alcohol relapse help is something that every addict needs from time to time so don’t stress!

So, whatever you need, be it Alcohol Relapse Help or Drug Relapse Prevention or any addiction relapse at CapeRecovery we offer only the best, impartial advice and information based on actual experience of treating addiction and being in addiction. For any Addiction Relapse be it alcohol relapse help you need or drug relapse prevention advice, simply Contact Us today and we will arrange everything for you!