At Willow Place for Women, we understand that relapse is a part of recovery. However, it doesn’t need to be a part of yours. We work hard with each client to identify possible causes of relapse and how to stop them before a relapse occurs through relapse prevention programs. When a woman goes through our program, she will leave with a customized relapse prevention plan designed especially for her needs. Education about relapse triggers, cravings, and relapse prevention techniques is vital to preventing relapse in the early and late stages of recovery. Our goal is to prepare each individual that walks through our doors for a lifetime of sobriety. This, inevitably, includes drug and alcohol relapse prevention strategies.
The Dangers of Relapse
The reality is that only 20 percent of people that attend rehabilitation treatment will remain sober after their first year. With the chance of relapse so high, relapse prevention is vital for the opportunity of recovery success. Drug and alcohol relapse rates are fairly high in the first year after treatment. Overdose rates are increasingly high as well. In fact, the majority of overdose deaths occur in the early days of recovery. This is caused by a decrease in tolerance after drug or alcohol detox. When a relapsing individual takes their previously high tolerated dose, they result in overdosing. Preventing relapse isn’t only about retaining sobriety. It is about saving lives.
Recognizing Drug and Alcohol Relapse Triggers
From the moment a client or their loved ones reach out to us for help, we begin identifying triggers and causes of addiction. These triggers are likely to be causes of drug and alcohol relapse. Being able to recognize what triggers a relapse is a key ingredient used in relapse prevention strategies. Triggers are what lead to cravings for the recovering individual’s drug of choice. Examples of relapse triggers include:
- An emotional event like a death, divorce, or job loss
- A decline in putting recovery as a priority
- Thinking addiction is “cured”
- Being overly confident about sobriety
- Picking up a different substance or habit thinking it is better than the old one
- Anxiety, depression, or another mood disorder that has not been treated
- Pressure to abuse socially
- Exposure to substances
- Converting back to old addiction forming habits (lying, cheating, stealing, and skipping out on responsibilities)
- Being surrounded by people that an individual uses to use drugs or alcohol with
- Going to places an individual uses to use drugs or alcohol at
First is the emotional stage, where something happens to, or triggers, the individual to cause them to put their guard down.
Second is the mental stage, where a person is considering using or drinking. They are likely to be having an ongoing battle in their mind about using or not using. An individual may start glamorizing past drug use, being dishonest with others, hanging around others who use, fantasize about relapsing, and planning a relapse. This stage can last for as little as 5 minutes to as long as weeks or months.
The third is the physical relapse stage, where a person reverts back to old habits and behaviors, actually ingests a substance, and is back to actively using. This is the stage that we aim to prevent by intervening at stage one or two. If you have recently relapsed, it does not mean that you cannot go back to recovery. There is still hope for those that relapse. In fact, most individuals that claim successful recovery has previously relapsed. If you commit to returning to treatment, The Willow Place for Women can help. Remember, relapse is extremely common in the quest to gaining successful recovery. Don’t be let down. Instead of continuing the cycle of addiction, use your relapse as a learning experience on your recovery journey.
Drug and Alcohol Relapse Prevention Strategies
Preventing relapse is not easy and it takes a lot of work. Also, you can never completely control what goes on around you. But, with the right dedication and commitment to learning through the relapse prevention strategy program at Willow Place for Women, you will learn to be prepared for any situation, emotion, or relapse trigger that you will come across. In the relapse prevention strategy program you will learn:
- To recognize what your triggers are
- The importance of a web of support to help keep you motivated
- How to handle exposure to addictive substances
- The importance of opening up to others through therapy
- How to handle situations and people that are triggers to relapse
- How to manage emotions that may lead to relapse
- Holistic ways to dealing with triggers