When you have completed a treatment program and are working on building a new, addiction-free life, there are many obstacles you must consider as addiction is conceptualized as a chronic relapsing brain disorder. One of the most intimidating factors in early recovery is the possibility of relapsing. It is important to understand that the path to long-term sobriety is a unique experience for everyone. As so, finding the most effective tools to help prevent and manage relapse will also be a unique process for you.
The realities of addiction recovery are complicated. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), 40-60% of individuals working toward recovery will experience some kind of relapse. This is especially true if they don’t stick with their prescribed medical treatment plans. How can you mitigate any damage that a relapse may bring to your recovery?
Navigating a Relapse in Recovery
Addictions are among the most prevalent psychiatric disorders in the world but there is a very fine line between understanding that relapse is a very real possibility and excusing frequent relapses. A high potential of relapse is a reality that must be accepted and dealt with in healthy, constructive ways. You should never use the chance of relapse as an excuse. Additionally, you should always follow the medical treatment plan that you have worked out with your treatment team. Maintaining healthy lifestyle changes should be your top priority to avoid future relapse.
The Dangers of Relapse
A relapse during recovery can be extremely dangerous. People who have completed a detox and treatment program may no longer have a tolerance for drugs and alcohol. As a result, indulging in substance use after becoming sober may lead to an overdose situation. Your body is no longer used to processing drugs and alcohol at the same exposure levels as before. For this reason and more, staying committed to sobriety can save your life.
If you do experience relapse, it is crucial, to be honest with yourself. The first thing you should do is reach out for help. Because the chances of relapse are high, your treatment team is specially equipped to help you get back on track as quickly as possible. Relapse is not something that you should try to handle yourself. A relapse or setback is not something you should be ashamed of. Needing extra support and help from professionals is perfectly acceptable. It will be better to face your situation head-on as quickly as possible, rather than ignoring it.
Using Information From a Relapse Situation as a Tool for Sobriety
If you have experienced a relapse in your recovery process, it is important to understand that relapse is not a sign of failure. Likewise, it is vital to address your relapse as a tool that can be used to strengthen your lasting recovery. Along with your circle of support and the help of medical professionals, you can examine your relapse to learn a lot of things about yourself and your treatment plan.
First, you must examine all the factors that may have contributed to your relapse. Consider the following questions:
- How were you feeling prior to the relapse?
- Were you struggling with feelings or situations that left you feeling helpless or depressed?
- What behaviors led you to be in a situation where drugs or alcohol were an available temptation?
Talking things over and examining your thoughts and feelings is crucial. It will be the best way to utilize the information from your relapse to, ultimately, benefit your sobriety.
Once you understand some of the factors that led to a relapse, you will be able to adjust your treatment plan and lifestyle choices. Making positive changes will empower you in the future. Sometimes a relapse can indicate that different methods of treatment or new strategies are needed. Finding the path to sobriety that works best for you can be a challenging process; however, setbacks should be used as a tool to make positive changes.
Utilize Your Community
At Lantana Recovery, we believe that a community-based approach to sober living gives our clients the best chance for success. When you have strong ties to the people you interact with every day, you will be able to lean on them for support. You may also be in a unique position to educate people. When people are educated about the realities of addiction, it can help reduce societal stigmas. This can help you feel empowered to utilize your relapse prevention tools and experience lasting recovery. Having a strong circle of support is a crucial asset to utilize throughout your healing.
Our goal at Lantana is for every client to be independent and self-sufficient. We understand that having support and resources available to our clients is vital when they face natural challenges to their new lifestyle. It is important to recognize that there will be both successes and challenges along the way, and both should be accepted and utilized as a part of the recovery process as a whole.
“Relapse to substance use after successful detoxication and rehabilitation is a public health concern worldwide. Forty to sixty percent of persons in general relapsed after completing detoxication and rehabilitation treatments” (Determinants and prevalence of relapse among patients with substance use disorders: case of Icyizere Psychotherapeutic Centre, Kabisa et al., 2021) Transitioning out of treatment into independent recovery is a fragile time for anyone dealing with a substance use disorder.
There will be natural challenges and growth experiences that will have to be managed. At Lantana Recovery, our goal is to support our clients, using all the tools and information at their disposal to support long-term sober living. Our program is specialized to provide a unique community-based program that will teach crucial skills needed to handle any situation that may arise.