The Guide to Addiction Recovery: Relapse Prevention

When it comes to recovery from addiction, getting sober is not the only challenge. For many, maintaining sobriety after treatment is over can be just as challenging. It can be tough for an addict to be reintroduced to the world once leaving a treatment center. Once back in their daily routines, they will be met with temptation and risks. It’s important for an addict to have drug rehabilitation that is best suited for them, and to build a plan for drug relapse prevention.

A Healthy Mind and Clear Goals

One of the best options for drug relapse prevention is regular meetings with an addiction treatment counselor or therapist, to monitor progress and identify any issues that may occur. Regular meetings keep a recovering addict focused on the coping skills learned during rehabilitation.

There are a few different types of therapies which can be very useful for helping users to remain sober. Cognitive behavioral therapy is an excellent choice and commonly used for drug rehabilitation. In cognitive behavioral therapy, addicts are taught to identify triggers and learn to cope with and avoid situations which may lead to relapse.

In some cases, however, medication may be necessary to give a recovering addict the strength to resist drugs and stay sober. For these people, medications may be used to suppress any possible craving. Some patients may also need medication to regulate chemical imbalances in the brain. For those with opiate addictions, methadone may be prescribed to help suppress cravings. It’s important to use medications properly as well as continue meeting with professionals to manage recovery.

Besides regular counseling, taking care of your mind is also crucial. One of the most important parts of drug relapse prevention is staying focused and keeping the mind healthy; this makes you less likely to think about drugs or succumb to temptation. Pursuing personal goals and keeping yourself occupied with career or educational goals can help maintain sobriety. When you achieve goals, it gives you a sense of accomplishment and pride, which can improve your self-esteem and help keep you from being tempted.

It’s also important to maintain stress levels; those who experience more negative, stressful life experiences after treatment are more at risk for drug relapse. Don’t try to face recovery alone. Keep your appointments, attend meetings, and remain confident during adverse situations. Learning techniques for stress relief that do not involve drugs can help you set new habits for dealing with adverse circumstances.

Healthy Relationships

A healthy relationship can be instrumental in helping an addict with drug relapse prevention. Healthy relationships, whether it be from friends, family, or a significant other, can help in many ways, such as:

  • Providing a support system for sobriety
  • Helping to minimize adverse situations
  • Provide an outlet for openly discussing feelings
  • Helping creates a stress-free environment for recovery

Family therapy may also be very helpful. Family therapy with a trained mental health professional can help you and your loved ones develop communication skills. You and your family may learn to identify triggers and warning signs, strengthen the familial bond, and repair any damage that may have been caused by addiction. Family therapy can also help you build an action plan in case of drug relapse.

Reaching Out to Others

Educating others about addiction can be a very useful tool for maintaining sobriety and avoiding drug relapse. Sharing your story and surrounding yourself with drug prevention materials that you can share with others helps you stay sober, and also contributes to remind you of your progress and success. Spreading encouragement and education can assist in strengthening your sobriety.

One way you can do this is by reaching out to young people, such as students. Roughly 10 percent of youths ages 12-17 use illicit drugs, according to a report done by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) Speaking to these young people about your addiction and struggles could deter them from going down the same path. Promoting drug-free habits and educating others about drugs can be very rewarding and can make you feel empowered. It can also help to reinforce your knowledge of drugs and the dangers and effects of addiction, which could help with your drug relapse prevention.

Beside youths, educating young adults is also helpful and necessary. According to another NSDUH report, around 15 percent of college-aged people drink heavily, and roughly 42 percent indulge in binge-drinking. These high rates can be disturbing, and educating this group of individuals can be very rewarding and help an addict find comfort in knowing they may be helping reduce these numbers.

Group meetings are also very beneficial for recovering addicts, such as Alcoholics Anonymous. These meetings provide a setting for other users to meet, share their stories and struggles, and offer encouragement and support. Group meetings could be very helpful as other addicts may provide a level of understanding and sympathy that non-addicts may not be able to. It can also be inspiring and motivating to hear other success stories and see other addicts maintain sobriety for continuous periods of time.

Mistakes Do Happen

Although there are many methods for drug relapse prevention, sometimes relapse may still occur. If this happens, it’s important to remember that one relapse does not mean that all progress is lost. The road to recovery is not blocked because of a relapse, and you are not the only one who may experience ups and downs during recovery. In fact, 40-60 percent of addicts relapse at some time during recovery, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. It’s not uncommon, because addiction is a disease, and drug relapse prevention is an ongoing process. Adjustments may need to be made to maintain sobriety.

The Best Drug Relapse Prevention

There is not one single form of drug relapse prevention. Everyone is different, and every addiction is different so that treatment will differ accordingly. Overall, the most effective treatment will treat not only the substance abuse but will also address any possible underlying physical or mental conditions.