Addiction recovery isn’t always a straight line from start to finish. Many people struggle with relapse, which occurs when they begin using drugs or alcohol again. Relapse isn’t a failure: it’s an indication that additional treatment and support are needed. The treatment process teaches tools and strategies to avoid relapse, often as part of a formal relapse prevention program.
What Does Relapse Prevention Do?
The goal of relapse prevention is to build skills to help you to avoid relapse. That sounds simple, but these are skills that take some practice and education. Relapse prevention will help you to:
- Build coping skills: Coping skills are a necessary part of recovery as they enable you to manage stressors or triggers in your life that could otherwise lead to relapse.
- Feel empowered to thrive: Relapse prevention also focuses on teaching healthy lifestyle skills that enable you to thrive mentally, emotionally, and physically during recovery so that you can achieve your goals.
- Improve habits: Most people have habits that could limit their overall health or put them on the road to relapse. Here, you learn about those habits and how to change them.
Relapse prevention is one component of your care, not all of it. During treatment, you’ll learn about your addiction, why it occurs, and what your triggers are. You will also work on mental health, physical health, and dealing with past or present trauma. A variety of therapeutic modalities and techniques will help you to develop the confidence you need.
What to Expect in Relapse Prevention
Though every treatment facility is different, here are a few core components of relapse prevention you can expect in drug and alcohol addiction treatment.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy program designed to help you improve your thought patterns. It can help you to recognize how negative thoughts lead to bad decisions. By better understanding how you can control those thoughts, you’ll gain one of the most important tools available to help you on your path to recovery.
You’ll also learn a great deal about positive thinking and the power that having positive thoughts can have on your actions.
A big part of the work you will do in addiction treatment is to create an emergency plan so that you’ll know exactly what you need to do when you find yourself in a situation that could put you at risk. There’s no way to eliminate all stress from your life or control every part of it but having a plan will increase your commitment to staying sober. You’ll know how to react when you feel an urge to have a drink or are surrounded by others who are drinking. You’ll know how to get out of that situation, who to contact for immediate help, and what to do next.
Developing Key Skills
The more skills you have for avoiding relapse, the better. Relapse prevention will teach you a number of those skills, such as:
- How to communicate in a risky situation, like learning how to say no to a drink
- Recognizing triggers (and defining what your specific triggers are) so that you can minimize their occurrence in your daily routine
- Managing cravings through urge surfing, a method that helps you to cope with intense desires to use
- Building confidence in who you are and what you are capable of rather than focusing on your addiction and its impact
- Developing skills to manage high stress levels that could put you at risk for using both in the short term and the long term
Relapse prevention helps you realize that you are in control. When you have these skills and tools, you will feel empowered to live a life you love knowing you have the ability to remain sober.
We Can Help You
If you are struggling with thoughts of relapse now or you are ready to see a significant change in your future, reach out to our team today. We’re here to support you and put you on the path to healing. Contact our counselors in Sevierville, Tennessee, to get started.