Some people may think that completing a drug or alcohol detox and therapy program is the end of addiction. In fact, it’s only the first step of a lifelong process. Relapse is an ever-present possibility because addiction is not something that can be cured, only managed. Successful recovery means that the person struggling with a substance use disorder is able to manage their addiction. During the early stages of recovery, the risk of relapse is at its highest. However, there are certain techniques and programs, such as relapse prevention therapy, that can help.
If you or someone you care about needs to learn relapse prevention skills, San Antonio Recovery Center has aftercare programs to help you manage your life in recovery. We offer a relapse prevention program that can teach valuable coping skills. These skills will allow you to minimize the urge to use drugs or alcohol, and give you a head start on a new, sober life. You can call us at 866.957.7885 to learn more about what an aftercare program can do for you.
Why Does Relapse Happen?
When you experience the cravings associated with a substance use disorder, it is a symptom of the disease of addiction. A one-time indulgence or moment of weakness is not a full relapse, just a recovery lapse. Giving in to these cravings and returning to substance use on a regular basis is a relapse. Many people who complete treatment experience a relapse, and this is not a failure of the treatment or of the person who relapsed. It simply means that the patient needs additional skills or therapies that will help them keep from relapsing.
When someone has a substance use disorder, their brain chemistry changes due to their addiction. They can become dependent on drugs or alcohol and may not feel normal without it. Returning to their old routine may be their way of coping with other external factors or triggers that caused them to use the substance in the first place. That’s why it’s important for a person in recovery to have the skills necessary to address those external factors and triggers without giving in to their cravings.
Tips to Prevent Relapse
1. Manage your stress
Stress is a major trigger for many people who relapse, as the toll it takes on a person’s mental health and emotional stability can be overwhelming. Add in the cravings of addiction, and it can be a recipe for relapse. Day-to-day stress and major life events can both be difficult to handle when in recovery. The loss of a loved one can be an especially stressful event, as a person’s loved ones are meant to form the core of their support system.
There are a number of different stress management techniques, including, but not limited to:
- Staying active
- A proper diet plan
- Deep breathing exercises
2. Manage your cravings
Cravings are a regular part of recovery, and managing these cravings is one of the biggest challenges for a person trying to stay sober. Mindfulness exercises can be helpful, as they put you in the moment and let you accept the fact that you’re experiencing these cravings. Another good way to manage your cravings is to distract yourself from them by participating in a different type of activity to take up mental space. Substituting the craving with a fun activity or mental exercise has almost limitless possibilities.
3. Avoid triggers
Triggers are things, people, places, or events that cause a person to want to use drugs or alcohol. Avoiding triggers is a reality of recovery, as a person’s brain may be hardwired to use drugs or alcohol when it encounters these triggers. Some common triggers include:
- Social isolation
- Memories of past drug or alcohol use
- Places or situations where drugs or alcohol are available
- Family issues
- Relationship turmoil
- Drug paraphernalia
It’s important to have a plan for when the triggers are encountered accidentally, such as asking for support from friends, family members, or a therapist.
Get Relapse Prevention Therapy at San Antonio Recovery Center
We at San Antonio Recovery Center understand that recovery is a lifelong process, and that completing the treatment program is simply the beginning. Therefore, we offer a wide range of treatment programs, as well as relapse prevention therapy and aftercare.
If you are looking for the best options for relapse prevention in Texas, reach out to us at 866.957.7885. With our advanced treatment modalities, accurate diagnosis, and our compassionate staff, you will have the best chance of full recovery.