One of the most important parts of recovery, especially early recovery, is learning about relapse prevention. Relapse prevention is a very useful tool to have available when suddenly triggered. Relapse prevention should be practiced daily, and it can also be useful in real-life situations. According to the National Library of Medicine, they have concerns regarding relapse rates:
One primary concern in addiction treatment is the high rate of relapses within a short period after even the most intensive treatment. Many studies have shown relapse rates of approximately 50% within the first 12 weeks after completion of intensive inpatient programs that often last 4 to 12 weeks or more and can cost tens of thousands of dollars. (NLM)
Relapse prevention is essentially learning how to cope with life without turning to drugs and alcohol. Most treatment centers educate clients on relapse prevention and help them develop a plan specific to their needs.
Relapse Prevention Skills Are Helpful But Not Bulletproof
Let’s go through some relapse prevention skills that can be very useful in a situation where you’re thinking about using, but still have enough rational self-control to make a decision before the impulses and cravings take over your thoughts and actions. Self-Care – No matter if you are in recovery or trying to learn better-coping skills for life, practicing self-care is extremely important. Exercise and eating a healthy diet are two great self-care techniques to practice. Getting daily exercise and eating a balanced diet, improves mood, improves sleep habits, helps with anxiety and depression, and helps you feel good about yourself. HALT – HALT is an acronym that stands for hungry, angry, lonely, and tired. These are the four most common triggers for a person in recovery. Part of this goes back to self-care. If you aren’t eating or getting enough sleep, it is really hard to cope and stay sober. Staying away from negative emotions and people is another part of HALT. When you are around negative people, it will drain the energy out of you and then you start becoming angry and negative. And, it is very important to surround yourself with a positive support system. Everyone can use supportive people in their lives and someone they can call or talk to if things aren’t going well. Deep Breathing and Meditation – Learning mindfulness meditation techniques (being self-aware) and how to practice deep breathing are two other important skills for recovery or everyday life situations. Stress affects us all, when you practice these techniques it will help relax you almost immediately. Mindfulness teaches you acceptance and increases your awareness. Know Your Triggers – Knowing what triggers you specifically, is an extremely important part of the recovery process. Triggers are what lead to relapse. Making a list helps you to become more self-aware so that you are suddenly hit with something you aren’t prepared to handle. List of Emergency Contact Numbers – Having a list of numbers, of people that know your situation and can be there for you, is very important. If you are having a bad day or find yourself experiencing cravings or triggers, pick up the phone immediately. Support Groups – Regularly attending a support group or 12-step meetings is important for someone in recovery. Addiction is a disease that has to be treated every day for the rest of your life. Support groups can be a great tool for anyone that is having issues with anything. There is always a risk of relapse, no matter how far one has come in one recovery. Being prepared and never forgetting where you came from is of great importance. Healthy coping skills are important for everyone, not just someone in recovery.
Solution-Focused and Personalized Addiction Treatment
If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction, our addiction specialists are available around the clock to assist you. Evoke Wellness at Miramar offers cutting-edge addiction treatment. We offer a safe environment and treat our clients with respect. We specialize in making sure our patients have the most comfortable detox process possible. You no longer have to continue to suffer out of fear of the unknown, because you’ll be taken care of every single day while under our supervised clinical care.