Finishing a program to treat an addiction to substances can be an exhilarating feeling. Often rife with numerous and varying emotions, participating in treatment involves a great deal of work on oneself and an ability to really look at one’s past decisions with an open mind so as to experience true interpersonal change. Given the effort required to go through such an experience, it makes perfect sense that once one is done with a program, a celebration is in order.
However, with the end of treatment also comes some additional interpersonal work. Being able to maintain recovery takes far more than just refraining from using drugs and/or alcohol; it necessitates upholding a daily commitment to living a healthier life. Life outside a treatment setting also means making new choices, voluntarily choosing to handle stressors, and surrounding oneself with positive influences that support sobriety.
However, should an individual become disconnected from the principles and skills learned in treatment, there is an ever-present risk for relapse. A relapse occurs when one resumes his or her use of a substance or substances, which can not only compromise a person’s long-term recovery goals but also makes an individual feel as though he or she has been beaten by his or her addiction once more. What is important to know, though, is that relapse is preventable and even if one has relapsed already, it is possible to regain one’s footing as a sober person who is no longer reliant on substances.
Why People Relapse Into Drugs and Alcohol
A common misconception about relapse is that it occurs because an individual possesses a character flaw, is not strong enough to resist the urge to abuse substances, or is not fully committed to remaining substance-free. These beliefs are, in fact, false as many individuals experience a relapse for very different reasons.
Among the many reasons why someone may be on the verge of relapse or has relapsed, the following are the most commonly cited by individuals in recovery:
- Enduring moments of stress, turmoil, or sadness
- Experiencing cravings for one’s substance or substances of choice
- Being in a situation in which one finds it hard to resist the urge to use
- Experiencing self-doubt with regards to being able to sustain one’s recovery
These reasons are just a few examples of what could potentially drive a person back to abusing substances once again. However, as it has been stated, it is important to know that experiencing a relapse does not mean that one is weak or lacks good judgement. Instead, if any of the above do occur following the completion of treatment, it is a good idea to do all that one can to prevent relapse.
How to Prevent Relapse Into Drug & Alcohol Addiction
While the above listed situations and feelings can occur when one is working towards maintaining sobriety following treatment, it is possible to prevent a relapse from occurring. As someone who has been able to defeat an addiction, it is important to know that you are in control of your own destiny, and you are capable of remaining substance-free for a lifetime.
Once you have finished a more intensive treatment program, it will be to your advantage to do the following, as each can help you to feel more confident in living the sober life that you deserve:
- Follow up on the aftercare services that were given to you or seek out services that appeal to you once you have returned home.
- Remain in contact with your sponsor or learn how you can go about finding one.
- Become a member of a support group like A.A. or N.A so that you can benefit from receiving ongoing encouragement and guidance from others who have walked similar paths.
- Make sure that you make every effort to enlist the support of loved ones.
- Be sure to keep up with your coping skills and remain open to learning new ones that can help you through tougher times.
- Try to create a daily routine or schedule for yourself so that you are able to stay on track with your recovery.
By following through on the above suggestions, it is more likely that you will be able to stick to your recovery goals. Additionally, if you, at any time, feel as though you are in need of more care than aftercare services can provide, feel free to reach out to an addiction treatment provider that offers more intensive care so that you can get the services you are needing.
If you or someone you care about would like to learn more about relapse, how to prevent it, and the possible services that are available to you or your loved one, do not hesitate to contact the helpful and dedicated staff at Wilmington Treatment Center today. Let us assist you in making the decisions needed to bring about positive change in your life or in the life of your close friend or family member.