While beating an addition to drugs or alcohol is a tremendous accomplishment, relapse prevention cannot be ignored. Because addiction is a disease, relapse prevention is an important tool in preventing a person from returning to his or her addictive behaviors. Recovering addicts often fear a relapse will occur, which can create increased stress and actually facilitate a relapse in some instances. Preventing a relapse through participation in a relapse prevention program can give a person freedom from damaging thoughts.
Prolonged relapse prevention participation can increase a person’s chance for successful sobriety. The longer a person is sober, the more likely he or she is to maintain sobriety. Less than 50 percent of people will relapse after staying sober for a year, according to “Psychology Today.” Those who are five years sober have a chance of relapsing that is less than 15%.
Relapse prevention involves using specific strategies known to be successful in helping people beat their addictions in the long term. It is a cognitive-behavioral strategy in which a recovering addict identifies the signs he or she may be at risk for relapse. Once these are identified, they works with a therapist or other support group members to single out behaviors that can help them cope with the desire to once again use drugs and alcohol. This training teaches a recovering addict how to create a new, healthy lifestyle free from drugs and alcohol.
Strategies for relapse prevention focus on numerous aspects of a healthy lifestyle including exercise, as well as supportive therapy. The following healthy habits are part of a relapse prevention strategy.
Supportive therapy is important because it provides an outlet for recovering addicts to share their feelings, thoughts and concerns. Having an impartial, trusted professional to speak to that is informed of the best practices to prevent a relapse. A person does not have to attend therapy for a lifetime. However, engaging in therapy sessions in the early days of sobriety can provide added support.
Participating in distracting and enjoyable activities can give a recovering addict a positive outlet for expressing energy. Activities also provide an opportunity for new social groups, away from a people who may contribute to a relapse. Finding these activities, especially therapeutic pursuits such as journaling or painting to express emotions, are an important part of relapse prevention.
The support of positive role models, friends and family are vital to a recovering addict’s success. Through learning positive statements and the value of simply “checking in” with a person in recovery, support becomes an important part of prevention.
While physical activity and exercise can benefit a recovering addict, there are additional, non-strenuous exercises that a person can utilize. These include deep breathing exercises designed to help a person work through a time of cravings and keep a person from making a rash decision.
Sober living facilities provide a supportive atmosphere as free from the temptations of substance abuse as much as possible. These temporary housing options provide an escape for those wishing to pursue a sober lifestyle outside of the stressors of daily life.
Alcoholics Anonymous is a proven support program designed to prevent relapse. Those in recovery have a sponsor who holds them accountable for their sobriety. The program also features regular supportive meetings and 12 definitive steps for a life free from substance abuse.
If you have experienced a relapse or are on the verge of a relapse, call Drug and Alcohol Relapse Prevention Centers Commack, NY at (631) 729-7139.