Addiction Relapse Prevention
What is The Best Way to Prevent Relapse?
You have put in the hard work to overcome your drug and alcohol addiction and are committed to living a life in addiction recovery, but the unfortunate truth is that life still happens even when you are living in sobriety. There are ups and downs that can occur that can lead to potential for triggers to arise. In order to ensure that you can avoid relapse it is best to have a plan in place that includes various techniques for relapse prevention including emotional regulation and mindfulness that will help you remain centered and calm as you are experiencing triggering emotions or thoughts. Becoming self-aware of what your triggers are and how to best mitigate the potential of running into triggering emotions or situations will help you to avoid potential triggers and relapse behavior including a physical relapse where you engage in substance abuse again or an emotional relapse where you return back to thoughts, emotions, or behaviors that you engaged in during your drug and alcohol abuse.
Common triggers for relapse are:
- Financial concerns
- Relationship problems
- Specific sights and smells
- Certain places, situations, or people
- Falling into old habits or engaging in high risk situation
- Anger or experiencing other mood swings
- Poor sleeping habits
- Cooccurring disorders that are untreated or not managed through specific interventions
What Does Relapse Prevention Include?
Relapse prevention includes developing new coping skills and strategies that will support you in learning how to mitigate any distressing emotions or triggers to stay on track in your addiction recovery. Common relapse prevention tools and techniques that are utilized to support individuals in remaining on track for their addiction recovery are:
- Self care
- Practicing HALT- checking in with your body if you are hungry, angry, lonely, or tired which are often crucial triggers for those in recovery.
- Mindfulness meditation
- Be aware of your triggers
- Join an addiction recovery support group such as alcoholics anonymous or smart recovery
- Practice grounding techniques to mitigate any feelings of anxiety
- Engage in deep breathing exercises
- Make a list of supports that you can call if you are feeling triggered
- Play the tape through meaning look forward to what it would look like if you returned back to your patterns of substance abuse and the outcomes or consequences that would happen
- Reach out for help from an addiction counselor or treatment center if you need to
Principles of the Relapse Prevention Model’
The principles of the relapse prevention model are designed to support individuals in assessing the risk factors and triggers associated with situations, interactions, and emotions. Understanding and identifying high risk situations and interactions that can result in relapse and then working through that situation to develop a solution to overcome it is the basis of an effective relapse prevention plan.
When is a Drug Relapse Considered Addiction Again?
It is important to know the difference between a relapse and a slip. If someone has been sober from drugs and alcohol for a period of time and had a one-time return back to their substance abuse, it is considered a slip as the person will typically resume back to their ways of sober living immediately after. Whereas a relapse is defined as a person that has had time of sobriety under their belt but then fallen back into addictive patterns lasting longer than just one instance. If a person continues with their addictive behaviors after falling back into the patterns of substance abuse without being able to stop, it is at that point considered an alcohol, addiction or drug addiction again.
Why is Relapse a Part of Recovery?
Drug abuse and alcohol abuse impact the brain’s functioning and chemistry causing long term impacts. When a person is engaging in substance abuse, it changes the brain’s dopamine levels creating an increase in dopamine felt causing the brain to be unable to produce similar large amounts of dopamine on its own. When you enter into addiction recovery, your brain is still attempting to function at a lower rate of dopamine causing someone to experience significant cravings for drugs and alcohol to support the brain in achieving the high levels of dopamine that it was used to. This often can lead to a person relapsing in an attempt to even out of the brain’s chemistry even if the person is adamant that they will not return to substance abuse.
How Can an Addict in Recovery Avoid Relapsing?
Once you are living in addiction recovery, there are steps you can take to avoid relapsing and ensure that you remain on the road to recovery. It is important that you have a strong support system that is in addiction recovery or are someone that is willing to keep you accountable to your goals of remaining in addiction recovery. Utilizing your support and practicing the coping skills and tools provided to you in addiction treatment will ensure that you are self aware of your triggers and putting your addiction recovery first in your day to day life.
How Daybreak Helps with Relapse Prevention
DayBreak is committed to supporting patients in achieving and maintaining a life of sober living. Throughout our addiction treatment programs, we will work alongside our patients to gain an understanding of the root causes of your drug or alcohol addiction while teaching patients the tools and skills for relapse prevention. Once you complete an inpatient rehab program, you are encouraged to participate in an outpatient rehab program or continue with addiction support groups such as 12 step groups that will help you remain focused and committed to your addiction recovery. If you are concerned about relapse or want to know more about the various relapse prevention methods offered to patients, contact one of the supportive addiction counselors at DayBreak today. You are not alone in your journey through addiction recovery, our team will be by your side every step of the way. Get in touch with us today at (844) 695-0083.