Addiction to drugs or alcohol is a disease that spreads its deadly tentacles into every aspect of your life. Nothing is immune, including your job, relationships, coping skills, finances, and even your physical and mental health. Because addiction is so destructive and pervasive, recovery is an incredibly time-intensive, exhausting, and challenging process. Therefore, it is no wonder that many people encounter bumps in the road and begin using again. Learning coping skills for relapse prevention can be a crucial part of an addiction aftercare program that helps reduce the chances of a destructive backslide.
What Is Addiction Relapse?
Relapse is a common occurrence among people in addiction treatment. In fact, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), as many as 40 to 60% of people in treatment for substance abuse will relapse at some point.
Just as no person is perfect, most addiction recoveries experience one or more incidents of addiction relapse. This happens when you lose your coping skills and begin to drink alcohol or use a drug after a period of abstinence. Although relapse is very average in the recovery process, it can be dangerous and even fatal, mainly if you use a drug in the same quantity you did before stopping. Because your body is no longer tolerant of the drug, you might overdose.
Why does relapse occur so often? The main reason lies in why you started to drink or use drugs in the first place. For most people, substance use relieves physical or psychological pain or helps a person to numb themselves. If your life gets stressful and you lack coping skills for relapse prevention, the chances are good that you will go back to the ineffective coping skills that worked, however poorly, in the past.
Coping Skills to Help You Avoid Relapse
Fortunately, there are several coping skills for relapse prevention that you can put into practice in your life. Many drug and alcohol rehab programs make these coping skills a prominent part of a relapse prevention plan. They include:
- Distract yourself with other activities and wait before responding to stressors
- Talk to someone who is positive and supports your recovery
- Release negative feelings in a non-destructive way such as physical activity
- Treat yourself to something nice
- If you like to write, start a journal
- Make a list of things you are grateful for
- Reach out to your support system
- Find a sponsor or role model in recovery
- Attend 12-step meetings or other peer support groups
- Get regular exercise
- Eat a healthy diet
- Get enough sleep
Another way to avoid a relapse is to think of your addiction as a bully. The less power you allow it to have, the more liberated you will be.
What Is Relapse Prevention Therapy?
Relapse prevention therapy (RPT) is an evidence-based approach that helps individuals who are recovering from substance misuse and addiction. This type of therapy helps by focusing on identifying and addressing triggers, as well as developing coping strategies to prevent future relapses.
RPT can involve individual or group therapy sessions, both of which seek to build relapse prevention skills. Through this therapy, individuals learn how to:
- Identify and manage their triggers
- Recognize warning signs of relapse
- Develop healthier behaviors
- Use coping strategies to address any cravings or negative thoughts that may lead to a relapse
At San Antonio Recovery Center, our certified therapists are dedicated to helping individuals achieve long-term recovery success by providing comprehensive care that addresses substance misuse and addiction from all angles. We offer individualized treatment plans to ensure the most effective recovery outcome and use a variety of evidence-based therapies including RPT.
Get Help Today From San Antonio Recovery Center
Of all the Texas addiction rehab programs, the San Antonio Recovery Center stands apart. That’s because we combine the best and most proven treatment therapies with a person-centered model that is both effective and budget-friendly. Many of our staff members are not just knowledgeable about substance abuse; they are in recovery themselves and will offer you the empathy and understanding that can only come from a fellow traveler on the road to a drug-free future.