Relapse Prevention

Relapsing is the act of using a drug or drinking alcohol again after a period of abstinence. When you’re attempting to heal, relapse is always just a misstep away. According to the national institute on drug abuse, 40 to 60 percent of those who suffer from a substance or alcohol use disorder will relapse at least once on their recovery journey.

Learning relapse prevention tools and strategies could make the difference between maintaining long-term recovery or a potential relapse. Recovering from a habit, managing withdrawal symptoms, and suppressing the impulse to use substances or alcohol all require time and patience. Overcoming addiction can be a long, difficult journey, but being aware of the triggers and temptations that lead to relapse is key to staying on track.

Recognize the Stages of Relapse

Recognize the Stages of Relapse

Addiction recovery isn’t easy, but it’s worth the fight. All too often we find ourselves in a downward spiral of relapse with 3 documented stages: emotional, mental, and physical. Learning to recognize these early warning signs can make all the difference in maintaining your sobriety, and possibly saving your life. 

1. Emotional Relapse Stage

Although you aren’t considering using during this phase, your thoughts and actions prepare you for a relapse. You’re isolating yourself and suppressing your feelings, resulting in feelings of tension and rage. Neglecting self-care efforts may also be a tell-tale sign of emotional relapse. 

2. Mental Relapse Stage

You are at battle with yourself throughout this stage, torn between wanting to use and not wanting to use. You may even find yourself reflecting on the people, settings, and enjoyable experiences you had when drinking or abusing drugs. Because only the positive aspects of such experiences remain, you begin negotiating with yourself and making plans to relapse. Romanticizing the using phase of addiction can be very convincing. 

3. Physical Relapse Stage

This stage is when you truly resume using. The first drink or drug use is the tipping point that returns one to habitual use.

Why are Relapse Prevention Skills Important?

Staying sober is a challenging, but achievable goal. Developing relapse prevention skills can be the difference between life and death – 2020 saw almost 92,000 drug overdose fatalities in America alone. Luckily there are proven techniques out there to help people remain steadfast on their path toward lasting sobriety. With self-discipline and patience, your chances of success along this journey of recovery will increase tenfold.

Relapse Prevention Strategies

Some of the most commonly taught, and used relapse prevention strategies are knowing your triggers, urge management techniques, self-care, HALT, mindfulness meditation, grounding techniques, deep breathing, and making an emergency contact list.

Know What Triggers You

Triggers can be anything. You may relapse by drinking or using drugs again because of certain people, places, and things. Recognize your triggers so you can stay away from them.

The following are a few of the most common triggers for a relapse:

Make an Emergency Contact List

Staying committed to sobriety isn’t always easy. It takes ongoing effort and support from loved ones who can encourage you when cravings start to set in. Developing a plan for preventing relapse will equip you with the strategies needed for staying on track. Having someone there that not only motivates but offers assistance like attending meetings or seeing a therapist is recommended during those vulnerable moments on your journey.

Recovery through love

Calling the Agape team is the first step toward your wellness journey. Our admissions coordinators are here to walk you through each and every question you may have. 

Remember Why You Chose to Get Help in the First Place

Remind yourself of your motivation for starting the road to recovery when the impulse to use strikes. Consider how uncontrollable or ill you felt when you were using. Keep in mind any upsetting actions you may have taken or those you may have injured.

Think about how much better your quality of life is now that you finally gave up using drugs or alcohol. Then, consider your motivations for quitting, such as mending broken relationships, maintaining your employment, or regaining your health.

Seek Assistance

You can learn coping mechanisms from a therapist or counselor to deal with the negative thoughts or desires that might push you to use again. When feeling down, your family and friends can lend a sympathetic ear.

Relapse prevention can also be greatly aided by joining support groups and participating in 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA).

Take Care of Yourself

To feel good and unwind, many utilize drugs and alcohol. Instead, look for more beneficial methods to treat oneself. You could even try mindfulness-based relapse prevention tools like meditation, yoga, or chanting.

Establishing a self-care routine can cut down your risk of relapse, also. Try to get seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of fresh produce, lean protein, and whole grains. As well as daily exercise. You’ll feel better about yourself and have more control over your life if you adopt these healthy behaviors.

Self-care also includes making time for your favorite activities. Continue to pursue your passions. Or try new ways to express yourself while sober, like art, or music. 

Relapse Prevention at Agape Detox Center

If you’re concerned about a potential relapse, Agape Detox is an excellent option for getting back on the path to recovery. Their helpful and knowledgeable team can work with individuals or families to decide if entering treatment may be useful. Help is just a phone call away – contact Agape Detox Center now. 

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