Rehab is not an easy or quick process or even a process with a linear thread. If addiction were easy to overcome, we wouldn’t need as much support and infrastructure in rehab as we have now. And while some people succeed in overcoming addiction after one treatment, most people require multiple attempts. Considering relapse prevention is a smart, practical approach to maintaining sobriety.
Staying sober is an activity you have to spend your time and energy on every day, and there will be days, maybe even months or years, when you feel like you have it under control. But then, one day, something might happen. You might have a bad day, or a memory or a person might trigger you, and that’s when it becomes difficult again.
What Can Trigger a Relapse?
The most important thing to remember is that no addiction develops in a vacuum. Situations can arise in daily life that are triggers for substance use. A trigger is anything that makes you want to use drugs or alcohol again. Some triggers are external, such as being in the presence of people who use substances, while others are internal, such as feeling anxious or stressed.
Often relapse results from old feelings or habits returning to the surface when you’re thrust back into the environment that brought on addiction in the first place. Relapse starts with your emotions and mind long before your actions happen. That’s important to remember. Emotional relapse can look like depression or anxiety, while mental relapses involve similar thought patterns as you had before. All of this precedes physical relapse, where you begin using again.
Triggers for a relapse include:
- Hanging out with old friends who still use
- Being in places where you used to use
- Feeling stressed or anxious
- Being around people who are using
- Lack of routine
- Lack of support
- Missed recovery meetings
- Toxic family or home environment
Addiction relapse prevention groups are just one tool to combat relapse in your life. Ultimately, it will come down to you and your choices. Understand that relapse is not random. Engagement in groups can help you; having a support network is essential, and emotional sobriety is just as important as physical sobriety.
What Happens After a Relapse?
For those who have been through rehab and have relapsed, the idea of going back may be daunting. However, it’s important to remember that relapse is a part of the process for many people. In fact, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) estimates that 40% to 60% of people in treatment for addiction will relapse.
The first step is acknowledging that a relapse has occurred. This is difficult for many people because they’re ashamed or embarrassed. They might think that this means they’ve failed, but it doesn’t—relapsing is a normal part of recovery. The important thing is to get back on track as soon as possible.
Many people think that if they relapse, all their progress is gone. That’s not necessarily true. It’s important to remember that a relapse is not a failure but rather a learning opportunity. After a relapse, you might feel like you’re starting from scratch again, but you have the knowledge and experience to get back on track quickly.
The next step is to figure out what led to the relapse. This cannot be easy because it requires introspection and honesty, but it’s essential to understand your triggers and what situations or emotions might lead you back to using. Once you know your triggers, you can develop a plan to avoid them or deal with them in a healthy way.
Setbacks are not just common. They are often expected, which is why many relapse prevention groups in Colorado and elsewhere exist. Continuing care is so vital for the rehabilitation process. It doesn’t end when you walk out of a facility or stop undergoing intensive treatment.
What Is Continuing Care?
Continuing care for patients struggling with addiction recovery can include:
- Individual therapy
- Group therapy
- Outpatient treatment
- Partial hospitalization programs
- Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs)
- Sober living homes
- Alumni support groups
At Mile High Recovery Center, we offer a therapeutic alumni program to assist those who have successfully completed the third phase of their treatment. This addiction relapse prevention meets for 90 minutes weekly to provide a space for discussions around the long-term recovery process and how individual members are faring in their journey. It’s an excellent way to stay connected to your fellow recovering addicts and help maintain and encourage sobriety in your community.
Prevent Relapse at Mile High Recovery Center’s Alumni Program for Addiction
Are you considering relapse prevention services? Please get in contact with Mile High Recovery Center today to discuss your addiction treatment options. We’re your ally and friend in this journey and aim to offer the best possible environment to help you achieve long-lasting sobriety. Call 855.796.2102 or contact us online to get started today.