Relapse & Relapse Prevention
Recovery Ways understands that addiction is a lifelong disease. While we do our best to give patients all the tools they need to manage stress, triggers, and cravings for their addiction, sometimes things are still too much for them or they have a moment of weakness and relapse. Relapse is when an addict has been clean and sober for a while but have used drugs or alcohol again. Relapse does not mean that the patient failed or that rehab didn’t work it just means that the symptoms of this lifelong disease have reappeared and their treatment model needs to be adjusted. Patients with co-occurring disorders may need any medications they are on to be adjusted or they might need some more time in treatment. However, the goal for every patient is to avoid relapsing and Recovery Ways does our best to offer the patient the tools, resources, and support they need to do so.
Tips to Prevent Relapse
All addicts need to make major life changes and here at Recovery Ways, we help them accomplish this and maintain a life of sobriety. Our aftercare and alumni programs help patients with their future care and way of life. We also provide workshops and seminars with relapse prevention techniques.
Sober Friends & Sober Hobbies: Boredom is one of the most common complaints from recovering heroin addicts readjusting to life without the drug. The best way to combat this boredom is to find friends to join in productive activities. Most of the time the friends you had before rehab contributed to your addiction so the first step is to remove that temptation by making new sober friends that you can do sober things with. You can meet and make sober friends at Recovery Ways, at 12-step meetings, at alumni activities, programs, or service opportunities, and you can even make sober friends out do daily activities. Make sure your new friends support your sober living lifestyle and will not tempt you.
Don’t Go To Old Haunts: We all know there are certain places where drugs and alcohol are usually or constantly used. You may have visited these places to find and use alcohol or drugs by yourself or with old friends. Avoiding these places can help you avoid temptation and triggers. These can include old friends or dealers houses, clubs, bars, raves, and/or certain parts of college campuses. It is better to avoid the temptation, memories, and triggers in case they are too strong to ignore.
Medications are important: Many recovery addicts suffer from a co-occurring disorder which they may be prescribed some medication to alleviate the symptoms. A lot of addicts started their addiction as a form of self-medicating. Make sure to take the medications prescribed when and how the doctor told you to. If you stop taking the medications or start abusing these medications it can cause problems, symptoms can return, and self-destructive behaviors can occur.
Consider Sober Living: Recovery Ways offers Sober Living that is a facility occupied by only sober recovering addicts. Living in such a community can make you feel more comfortable and provide you with extra encouragement and support. Being surrounded by like-minded individuals can reduce the temptation risk and increase chances of successful recovery.
Discuss Your Addiction with Your Employer: Every job has stress and avoiding it completely is impossible. Letting your boss know about your addiction and the effects stress have on you is a good idea so that if you need a little extra time at lunch to attend a group therapy meeting, or need a few minutes to remove yourself from the stressor, they can work with you. Most employers will want to help you live a healthy life.
Remember Rehab: Practicing the things you learned at rehab can help alleviate some of the stress you may be having. Continuing counseling and meetings help lessen temptations. One day of stress can tempt people to use, but support from a therapist or a group therpay meeting can drastically help. If you feel you may need to return to a treatment program for a few days that is a better option than returning to your addiction.
Be careful with new prescriptions: Some people relapse because they were prescribed opiate-based pain relievers like hydrocodone. Recovering heroin addicts that have surgery or break a bone should be upfront with their physician about their addiction. There are non-narcotic pain relievers available and physicians can treat pain while minimizing the potential for relapse.
Plan to Avoid Relapse: Part of planning to avoid relapse is knowing there are going to be temptations, triggers, stress, and cravings. The longer recovering addicts are sober the easier it gets for them to remain sober but sometimes cravings can be so great that if they do not have a plan for how to handle them, they could give in. Know what you will do if you have a craving like going to a meeting, call your sponsor or other supportive people, recognize that you are stressed and take the time to relax, do what you need to make it through the craving. Have a plan ready to use.
Recovery Ways Aftercare/Alumni Programs
Recovery Way’s Aftercare Programs are for patients who have successfully completed a recent addiction treatment program. Completing this addiction treatment is an accomplishment worth celebrating and the Aftercare and Alumni Programs help patients develop and maintain a sober lifestyle. These programs are based on the needs and recommendations for each individual to help them get back to where they were before their addiction or even to a better place. A key piece of the programs is the development of a community-based support. A strong support system is necessary to maintain freedom from addiction. These support systems can help prevent relapse.
If you do relapse you haven’t failed and it is not an excuse to continue using drugs. This is a time to pick yourself back up and resist any future use. Continue your recovery, ask for the help you need, make sobriety your top priority, continue or start going to therapy again, remember the sensory integration therapy and recreational therapy, remember the tools you were taught here at Recovery Ways, and know that we are always here for you.
If you have relapsed, please call our admissions team at 1-888-986-7848 and we can get you back into treatment.