Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing disorder of brain circuitry that deals primarily with impulse control and the reward system. Like other relapsing disorders, such as diabetes, a return to the drink or the drink is part of the disease. One thing many people don’t realize about relapse is that it begins months before a person takes a drink or a drug. In order to prevent unnecessary relapse, creating a relapse prevention plan can be vital to someone’s continued sobriety.
Why People Relapse
It can be difficult to understand why anyone would return to the devastating grip of addiction after finally getting sober. But the fall back into old habits is a process that often happens in stages. According to a 2018 National Institute on Drug Abuse report, stressful life events cause a significant reduction in a person’s ability to remain abstinent in the first three years of recovery.
Stages of Relapses
During emotional relapse, you will not be thinking about using a drug or alcohol. In fact, this will be the last thing on your mind. You’ll remember relapsing last time or the dire conditions in which your life became and won’t want to go back.
You will perceive your abstinence from substances as evidence that you are on the right track. Because of this, you won’t see that your behaviors and emotional responses are setting you up to relapse.
Signs of emotional relapse include:
- Focusing on others as the source of distress
- Stopping or attending less meetings
- Bottling up emotions
- Falling out of rhythm with proper nutrition or sleep
- Not asking for help
As a whole, these symptoms all point to one major concern: poor self-care.
The longer you remain in emotional relapse, the sooner you will begin to feel a familiar discomfort, which will provoke random thoughts of using. One of the primary indicators that you have slipped from emotional to mental relapse is that you suddenly experience a war raging in your mind. Without relapse prevention, it’s as if the old addict is reborn, and he wants to convince you that using isn’t a bad idea.
Signs of mental relapse include:
- Visiting people, places, and things related to old habits
- Minimizing consequences of using
- Bargaining or lying to yourself and others
Just because you have thoughts of using doesn’t mean that you have to relapse. Rather, you should take these thoughts as vital warning signs that should be addressed immediately.
If you don’t talk about your cravings, reengage self-care, or ask for help, the war inside your mind will only get louder and stronger until the urge to use seems to be the only answer to relieve the pressure. Going from mental to physical relapse can happen in a cursory second.
Relapse Prevention Plan
One of the major reasons a person relapses is that they tend to think that relapse occurs in a moment of weakness. Yet, relapse is actually a gradual process that begins when you start to become complacent with the importance of self-care and being honest. Most treatment facilities will help clients create a relapse prevention plan as part of the aftercare.
In addition to offering relational therapy, First Step Center of sunny Arizona also specializes in dual diagnosis treatment and trauma-informed care. With a small clientele base, First Step Center’s all-male residential treatment facility is designed to create custom treatment plans for each client in order to meet individual needs.
In addition to working the traditional 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, First Step Center clients will also benefit from principles of Codependents Anonymous, which focuses primarily on building relationship skills with both the Self and others.
Having healthy relationships will only further assist in preventing relapse. When you have healthy attachments and people you can depend on, you are more grounded in a solid foundation of support.
First Step Center also offers:
Don’t wait any longer to get the help you need. Just because relapsing is a symptom of the disease, doesn’t mean you have to live a life swinging back and forth between sobriety and addiction. First Step Center’s staff is committed to the full recovery of its clients offering comprehensive treatment designed to treat the roots of addiction. To find out more about relapse prevention or addiction therapy services, don’t wait another minute. Call us now at 866.832.6398.