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Relapse Prevention Planning
Relapse prevention planning should be a key component of any quality drug rehab program. Having a solid relapse prevention plan in place that teaches a person in recovery how to cope effectively with the stressors and triggers that they will inevitably encounter upon returning home from the drug treatment center is vital. Learning new and healthy ways to be able to deal with the stressors in their environment could literally be the difference between a former addict living and dying.
The importance of relapse prevention planning cannot be overstated, as a large majority of deadly drug overdoses have been reported to occur after a person has experienced a period of abstinence. Because recovery from addiction is not a success only journey, oftentimes a former addict will encounter a variety of temptations along the way; unfortunately, in many instances, a person in recovery from addiction who does not have the tools to identify and interrupt the relapse process, is likely to succumb to the temptation. The reason that this scenario could potentially be fatal is that the person may try to ingest the same amount of drugs that they use prior to a period of abstinence, and the consequences could potentially be deadly.
Relapse prevention planning in relation to a person who is recovering from a substance abuse problem, can be as important as a family with a history of heart disease knowing the warning signs and becoming educated about what to do in the case of a heart attack. Knowing what to do and taking proper action on the part of the former addict and other key persons in his or her life can help to prevent or interrupt a potential relapse before it occurs.
The following is a description of some of the symptoms an individual that is recovering from addiction and their loved ones need to be aware in terms of developing of effective relapse prevention planning:
Dishonesty-In terms of relapse prevention planning, it is important to see dishonesty as a major red flag in terms of a potential drug relapse; dismissing untruths as just a white lie or brushing off tale-telling could have disastrous consequences for everyone that is involved in the substance abuse recovery process.
Complacency-In relation to relapse prevention planning, it is important to highlight the fact that complacency should have no part of the substance abuse recovery process; additionally, a former addict and their entire support network should be totally aware that the initial stages of a relapse often begin with the former drug rehab patient slacking off and putting less effort into their drug recovery plan.
Self-Pity –In terms of relapse prevention planning, it is important for everyone that is involved in the addiction recovery process to be aware that when a person in recovery begins to act like a victim by openly having pity parties, this is a sign that a drug relapse may be right around the corner. Attitudes such as "How come everybody else can have a drink except me?", or when an individual adopts a blaming stance, such as" If you had my husband, you would get high on drugs too", are often the first indicators that a drug or alcohol relapse may be imminent.
Frustration – In regard to relapse prevention planning, educating an individual and their support group about traits that have been identified as danger signs, there are two that commonly top the list; these traits are namely a former addict exhibiting poor impulse control, and desiring immediate gratification. A good example of this is when a person that is in recovery for addiction begins to throw fits when things are not going their way; these types of scenarios can easily escalate, and end with the former addict storming off and heading for the nearest bar or going to buy some drugs. In the initial stages of relapse prevention planning, the person in recovery for addiction and their loved ones should become educated in regard to how to readily identify these particular traits; additionally, they should be taught about what to do when these specific circumstances arise, in order to effectively prevent a drug relapse.
In order for a relapse prevention planning program to be highly effective, the person that is recovering from substance abuse and their loved ones should:
Unite to Form a Solid Support System: In the initial stages of relapse prevention planning, the person in recovery from addiction should take the time to make a list of all the people who they are in daily contact with; furthermore, they should select individuals from this list that would be the best candidates in terms of assisting them in their substance abuse recovery process. After the members of a relapse support team has been chosen, all of these key people should gather together for a relapse prevention planning meeting; it is at this time the person who is recovering from an addiction should provide the support team with a list of their personal relapse warning signs. The former addict should then form a contract with each person on the relapse prevention support team; this contract should include what each person will do in the event that any relapse warning symptoms are recognized.
Become Educated About the Relapse Process: In relation to successful relapse prevention planning, a person who is in recovery, and everyone that is supporting them ,needs to learn as much as possible about substance abuse recovery and relapse; additionally, they must learn how to quickly identify drug relapse symptoms and what it takes to successfully manage those symptoms.
Learn to Recognize The Warning Signs of Relapse: In terms of effective relapse prevention, the person in recovery and their support team should work together to develop a complete and comprehensive list of relapse warning signs or indications, so that everyone that is involved in this process can immediately detect when the person in recovery for addiction is at risk for using drugs or alcohol; this list should include all of the most common drug signs along with the personal relapse warning signs that may be that may be unique to the individual. The person who is in recovery, along with their support team, should have a relapse prevention planning meeting; this meeting should be held for the purpose of identifying at least a dozen specific and clear indicators that may indicate that the former addict is beginning to move away from productive and comfortable living, and is moving instead, towards a drug relapse.
Recognize the Importance of Taking a Daily Inventory: In the initial stages of relapse prevention planning, the former addict and the individuals that are involved in supporting their recovery process, should be enlightened about the importance of taking a daily inventory in terms of what is going on in the life of the former addict; this vital step will benefit the person in recovery, through allowing them to address circumstances and problems on a 24-hour basis. In regard to effective relapse prevention planning, the former addict and their support team should also design a special inventory system that can help to monitor the warning signs of potential relapse; additionally, the recovering addict and their loved ones should find a way to easily incorporate this inventory system into the fabric of day-to-day living.
Learn How to Effectively Interrupt a Drug Relapse: Successful relapse prevention planning should always incorporate ways to respond to any identified signs of a drug relapse, in order to be able to immediately determine the best course of action to take.
Relapse Prevention Planning should always include what to do in the event of a drug or alcohol relapse; listed below are the steps that a person in recovery and their support team should take in the event of a relapse:
The individual and their relapse prevention support team should step back and take an objective look at what has actually happened; this includes what specific circumstances or behaviors precipitated the drug or alcohol relapse. Everyone that has been a part of the relapse prevention planning process should help the person in recovery to look objectively at what brought on the drug or alcohol relapse.
During the relapse prevention planning process, everyone that is involved in the recovery process needs to be aware that one slip up does not make the person that is recovering from an addiction a failure; it is at this point that a person in recovery, along with their loved ones, should all take a deep breath and start from the beginning, in terms of what went wrong. Part of making sure that this does not occur again, includes figuring out what relapse warning signs and red flags were missed.
Relapse prevention planning should always cover how the person in recovery who experiences a drug or alcohol relapse should immediately dust themselves off and get back up in order to renew his vows to abstinence; it is at this point, that loved ones may want to remind the person in recovery that they may not be where they want to be, but they have still come a long way. The support team, although they may feel the need to express their disappointment, should also encourage the person that is recovering from a drug or alcohol addiction; this can be accomplished by reminding them that one misstep does not undo all of their previous hard work.
During the relapse prevention planning education process, an individual that is recovering from substance abuse should be encouraged to keep a daily journal; by doing this, if a relapse does occur, they will be able to look back at their journal notes to see what was going on with them at the time. By doing this, the individual in substance abuse recovery will be able to learn from the experience and can further go on to determine what they can do differently next time.
Relapse prevention planning should always include a "back on track" strategy for a person in recovery that experiences a drug or alcohol relapse; additionally, there should be a sense of urgency in regard to implementing this strategy. There is nothing complicated about this particular idea; simply put, in the event of a drug or alcohol relapse, a person who is in recovery should immediately return to abstinence.
Relapse prevention planning should include teaching the individual who is recovering from addiction, how vital it is to call for backup; this is particularly true in the event of a drug or alcohol relapse. A person who has struggled with addiction should always ask for immediate help from those individuals who are supportive and who want them to succeed.
One of the most important keys to successful relapse prevention planning is creating awareness about the most common relapse dangers; these can include, but are not limited to the ones that are listed below:
A classic relapse red flag in when a person who is in recovery for addiction begins to go to places where they in the presence of drugs or alcohol or drug or alcohol users.
In relation to relapse prevention planning, it is important to recognize that it will be much more difficult for an individual in recovery to effectively practice relapse prevention in the presence of negative feelings, such as guilt, sadness or anxiety; because these are common feelings that every individual will experience in life, learning to manage them is the best solution for the person who is recovering from substance abuse.
Ironically, positive feelings that make you want to celebrate can be some of the strongest triggers for a person in recovery when it comes to the possibility of experiencing a drug relapse. The reason for this is because many times prior to an individual being sober, celebrations have generally always consisted of getting high.
A roadblock in relapse prevention can occur when an individual that is recovering from addiction is diagnosed with legitimate medical condition, such as chronic or severe pain. A drug relapse under these conditions can be common; these types of situations need to be immediately dealt with, before a brief drug relapse lands them back in addiction.
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