Some Solid Fundamentals
In the recovery community, relapse isn’t a part of everyone’s story. However, it’s a part of more stories than many people would care to admit. A study by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism states that 90% of alcoholics who have received treatment are likely to relapse within a year. Furthermore, the numbers are similar (about 80% within a year) for heroin and meth users. Overall, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the relapse rate for substance abuse disorder is 40-60%, regardless of timeline. These are discouraging numbers and they point to the importance of a strong relapse prevention plan. While the specifics of each plan will vary based on the clients and therapists involved, there are some solid fundamentals that are essential to any relapse prevention plan.
This one may seem so obvious that it isn’t even worth mentioning, but self-awareness is one of the most important elements of a successful path to recovery. It’s also one of the most difficult to achieve. Most of the people on the planet, whether they’re in recovery or not, are riddled with blind spots when it comes to the subject of themselves. And these blind spots are where relapses lurk. This is why we go to treatment, work with therapists, and participate in process groups. It’s only with these outside perspectives that we can start to recognize triggers or slow slides back into old habits. However, most of us can’t afford to have a therapist on call 24/7. Which brings us to the next step.
Professionals are a great start, but the more people that are involved in your recovery, the better your chances are. Start opening your mouth and letting the people in your life know what you’re going through. It means extra eyes for accountability and it’s a lot easier to carry what you’re going through with help. Hit a variety of meetings and get to know some people with some time. Ask around and see if some of the people close to you would be okay if you called them during an episode of strong cravings. You’ll be surprised at how many people are willing to help if you just ask and you’ll make some lifelong friends in the process.
Map It Out
One thing you’ll want to do is set up a contingency plan in the event of a relapse and let those in your burgeoning network know about it. It may sound like planning for failure, but it’s just the opposite. Having a plan keeps a slip from turning into an out-of-control slide. You’ll also want to plan out some personal goals. It could be something complex like finishing school or something simple like hitting the gym a few times a week. This will start to reinforce a positive sense of self-worth and keep you engaged in moving forward.
If all of this sounds a little overwhelming, that’s completely understandable. Recovery involves creating an entirely new life for yourself and it requires a lot of work and a lot of assistance. That’s why it’s essential to ask for help when you need it. If you or someone you love is continuing to struggle with substance abuse and relapse, please consider seeking professional help. The staff of Simple Recovery is ready to assist you on your journey to a new life.