Bringing an addict out of addiction is a mean feat. Keeping an addict out of addiction is even more of a task!
The majority of addicts fail to remain clean once released back into their everyday routines. This is because it becomes difficult to differentiate right from wrong in their old environments. To educate yourself, view the Reasons for Relapse.
Most addicts will convince themselves that they can go back to using without once again becoming addicted. This is not the case.
A Relapse Definition
A dictionary “relapse” definition, describes it as “to fall or slide back into a former state”, “to regress after partial recovery from illness”, “to slip back into bad ways; backslide”.
The correct words and phrases to emphasise here are “regress”, “partial recovery”, “illness”, “bad ways” and “backslide”.
Essentially, relapse occurs when an addict returns (regress, backslide) to using (bad ways), after undergoing rehabilitation (partial recovery) for their addiction (illness).
Relapse is a common, and, often expected, occurrence during rehabilitation. Most addicts experience a relapse or two before successfully beating their addiction. Often this is because they lack the support and self-discipline that they had during treatment.
It is important to understand the relapse definition in order to assist an addict in relapse. Other than that, it is imperative to also be aware of reasons for relapse, symptoms of relapse, and relapse prevention plans.
Perhaps the most important part of relapse prevention is to actually have a relapse prevention plan in place! The greatest part of this plan should be to anticipate the signs and symptoms of relapse, and to learn healthy methods of controlling them. Here are a few relapse prevention tips.
- Seek Help – Seek out relapse prevention plan treatments, such as relapse prevention groups and counselling.
- Practice Self Care – Introspective reflection on reasons for use will assist in identifying dangerous emotional states. Creating healthy situations for oneself free of mental and emotional strain is a big part of self-care.
- Tackle Issues Immediately – Handling day-to-day problems and feelings as they occur will diminish an addict’s weight of stress.
A recovering addict will require the support and assistance of loved ones. Looking after physical wellbeing, by eating well and exercising, will also allow addicts to feel good about themselves. A balanced life of work, healthy play, as well as self and spiritual awareness, is massively beneficial.
Reasons for Relapse
Most individual reasons for relapse can all be linked to the same core issues.
- Boredom – Idleness and loneliness is dangerous.
- Stress – Emotional, psychological and physical stress can act as a relapse trigger.
- Harmful Associations – Friends, associates and places linked to using.
- Sensory Reminders – Seeing, smelling, hearing or sensing anything that in any way reminds the addict of their weakness, in their immediate surroundings, or on TV.
- Challenging Emotions – Frustration, anger, sadness, anxiety and loneliness are top emotional triggers for relapse.
- Parties and Celebrations – Getting carried away by a sense of moral “abandonment”, or using to calm social nerves is common.
Many recovering addicts will lack the restraint and self-control to overcome these reasons for relapse. Correct emotional management and stress management, is imperative to a recovering addict.
Symptoms of Relapse
As an addict, or the loved one of an addict, it is imperative to study the symptoms of relapse.
- Denial – Withdrawing from the problem of addiction and telling self and others that everything is fine, when in fact it is not.
- Avoidance and Defensive Behaviour – Avoiding those who are honest, such as family and therapists, and becoming angry and irritable with them.
- Crisis Building – Ordinary, daily issues become overwhelming and impossible to beat.
- Depression – Constant sadness and low energy.
- Obsessing – Constantly talking or thinking about substance of choice.
A general change in attitude and honesty is a major symptom of relapse. Hiding things from loved ones and lying to them, and others, signifies behaviour that an addict finds shameful.
Relapse and Recovery
Bethesda Retreat offers much-needed relapse and recovery aftercare for recovering addicts who have left the treatment clinic.
To avoid drifting away from the sanctity of the family and recovery community, addicts are advised to make use of Bethesda’s free outpatient care. This comprises of a 12 month period during which recovering addicts see a primary counselor monthly, and are provided monthly access to Bethesda’s group therapy sessions. This is useful for relapse prevention.
For recovering addicts who have already relapsed, Bethesda’s emergency relapse-rescue plan is a good option. This relapse-rescue plan is open to all of Bethesda’s 3-month Primary Programme graduates. It consists of seven to 10 days of free reintroduction into the therapeutic community, after which, a decision is made by everyone concerned whether therapy should continue or not.
All family members are always informed about a relapse, and, are involved in the relapse and recovery processes. This is important for a full successful turnaround.
Relapse Management Plan
Bethesda Retreat provides addicts with a practical relapse management plan to take out into the world, for the purpose of relapse prevention. However, they also have an effective relapse management plan in place, for those who return due to the setback of a relapse.
Bethesda Retreat is highly family and spiritually focused. A family is an effective tool for both relapse prevention and relapse recovery. Bethesda Retreat is not a hiding place, which is why family members are always informed, should a recovering addict return due to relapse.
An effective relapse management plan is to be connected to oneself and to truly understand the reasons for using, or reasons for relapse. Once this is established, healthy methods of avoiding these situations are formulated.
The family is a massive support structure, which an addict can also be made to feel accountable to. This combination of support and accountability usually motivates the recovering addict to stay clean.