Get Help Setting Realistic Expectations For Your Addiction Recovery
If youre ready to enter addiction recovery, 12 Keys Rehab is here to help. Our trained staff can help you establish and maintain realistic expectations throughout the addiction recovery process. The 12 Keys Model provides you with individualized treatment to ensure your addiction recovery fits your specific needs. Contact 12 Keys Rehab today to get started on your journey to recovery.
How To Create An Effective Relapse Prevention Plan
After a drug relapse, life can feel like a lot to handle. Developing an effective recovery plan can help prevent future relapse. This means developing a plan to take care of yourself physically and emotionally. It should involve small achievable goals, like staying sober, eating right, and taking time out for yourself.
After a relapse, you need to go back to the basics. Even if you have relapsed after years of sobriety, the basic tools for sobriety are where you need to start. The following are some of the tasks that will help you return to sober life7:
- Accept that you have an addiction
- Be honest with yourself and others
- Develop coping skills for cravings
Becoming Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable
More broadly speaking, I believe that recovering individuals need to learn to feel comfortable with being uncomfortable. They often assume that non-addicts dont have the same problems or experience the same negative emotions. Therefore, they feel it is defensible or necessary to escape their negative feelings. The cognitive challenge is to indicate that negative feelings are not signs of failure, but a normal part of life and opportunities for growth. Helping clients feel comfortable with being uncomfortable can reduce their need to escape into addiction.
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What Does A Relapse Mean
Relapse is not a sign of failed recovery. Its an acknowledgement that recovery takes lots of learning, especially about oneself. Recovery from addiction requires significant changes in lifestyle and behavior, ranging from changing friend circles to developing new coping mechanisms. It involves discovering emotional vulnerabilities and addressing them. By definition, those who want to leave drug addiction behind must navigate new and unfamiliar paths and, often, burnish work and other life skills. Recovery also requires discovery or rediscovery and development of interests that have the power to drive pursuit and deliver rewards, not only spurring the addicted brain to rewire itself but giving life real meaningthe ultimate goal of every person.
The risk of relapse is greatest in the first 90 days of recovery, a period when, as a result of adjustments the body is making, sensitivity to stress is particularly acute while sensitivity to reward is low. The risk decreases after the first 90 days. It is important to know that relapse does not represent a moral weakness. It reflects the difficulty of resisting a return to substance use in response to what may be intense cravings but before new coping strategies have been learned and new routines have been established. For that reason, some experts prefer not to use the term relapse but to use more morally neutral terms such as resumed use or a recurrence of symptoms.
What Are My Treatment Options After A Relapse
In addition to the treatment options mentioned abovedetox , inpatient, and outpatient programsthere are a few other avenues to consider after a relapse.
Behavioral therapies are one type of treatment that can help prevent future relapses. They teach you to modify unhealthy and incorrect beliefs about drug use and provide you with skills to manage stress, cravings, and triggers. The most commonly used form of this is known as cognitive behavioral therapy , which focuses on understanding how your thoughts lead to feelings, which prompt behaviors, and how to change negative beliefs to positive ones.1
Other treatment options you might consider following a relapse include:
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Why Do People Relapse On Drugs
Recent drug relapse statistics show that more than 85% of individuals relapse and return to drug use within the year following treatment. Researchers estimate that more than 2/3 of individuals in recovery relapse within weeks to months of beginning addiction treatment 6.
Why are these drug relapse statistics so discouraging? Without a long-term drug relapse prevention plan, most people will be unsuccessful in their attempts to remain sober, so having a solid plan is place is essential.
The goal of drug relapse prevention programs is to address the problem of relapse by teaching techniques for preventing or managing its reoccurrence. Drug addiction relapse prevention models are based on the idea that high-risk situations can make a person more vulnerable to relapse. A high-risk situation can include people, places, or feelings that lead to drug-seeking behavior 4.
Without a long-term drug relapse prevention plan, most people will be unsuccessful in their attempts to remain sober.
The process of relapse is sometimes compared to a circle of dominos. The first domino to fall might be unwittingly placing yourself in a high-risk situation the second might be thinking you are in control, or denying that you ever had a real problem. While each step may feel insignificant, they are part of a chain of events leading you toward relapse 4.
The Addict Lies Because They Are Good At It
Many addicts have been in active addiction for several years, and during this time, the addict has honed their deception skills. Lying has become second nature for the addict because of the frequency of lying. Many addicts have reported that they would catch themselves lying in situations where it would have been just as easy, to tell the truth in recovery. The addict has subconsciously learned that lying is normal. The experienced and cunning addict can manipulate situations to get what they want, avoid punishment, and con others to give them yet another chance.
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How To Set Realistic Expectations In Addiction Recovery
You know why you need realistic expectations, but how do you go about developing them? Your preconceived notions about addiction recovery may not be the most realistic. Taking a healthy, realistic approach requires some research and careful reflection as you enter and work through the recovery process.
Use these methods to set realistic expectations for your own addiction recovery process:
Relapse During Crisis Or Turmoil
Its easier to notice when things are rough. When external circumstances seem shaky, when workloads become heavy, when relationships begin to waver, both you and your gatekeepers sit up slightly, sniffing the air for a sign of impending issues that might cause a slip. Your awareness goes back into overdrive, and that voice in your head maybe begins a loop, You can do itjust hang in there And if a relapse happens, everyone nods with a sad, hopeful smile, Well, things were awfully toughthat was a huge blownow you can come back stronger than ever It doesnt feel shocking, somehow, because everyone could see, including you, that the train was slowing or wobbling or coming off the tracks altogether, and you take a deep breath and get back to work with the railway, straightening and securing once more the tracks of your future success.
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What Defines A Relapse
There is an important distinction to be made between a lapse, or slipup, and a relapse. The distinction is critical to make because it influences how people handle their behavior. A relapse is a sustained return to heavy and frequent substance use that existed prior to treatment or the commitment to change. A slipup is a short-lived lapse, often accidental, typically reflecting inadequacy of coping strategies in a high-risk situation.
No matter how much abstinence is the desired goal, viewing any substance use at all as a relapse can actually increase the likelihood of future substance use. It can engage what has been termed the Abstinence Violation Effect. It encourages people to see themselves as failures, attributing the cause of the lapse to enduring and uncontrollable internal factors, and feeling guilt and shame. Alternatively, seeing a binge or a slipup as a lapse encourages a person to minimize the size of the lapse, to quickly return to the recovery path, to direct attention to elements that can be controlled, which often means taking time to learn more about personal triggers, beefing up coping strategies, and bolstering a support network.
The Addict Lies Because Lying Leads To Rewards
The addict lies because lying is a process, which is stimulated by a reward. Just as an animal, we humans lie because we are expecting a reward. The habit of lying becomes part of our lives because when we lie, we get rewarded and get something we want, or we get rewarded by avoiding something we do not want. The reason why the addict continues to lies is that they got rewarded before for doing so. Their choice between lying and telling the truth would be lying because telling the truth would not benefit them, whereas lying rewards them. The more often the lie results in the reward, the stronger the reliance on lying becomes in similar situations.
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Things Were Going So Well Then He Relapsed Why
Posted May 20, 2011
I have been working with a wonderful lady for quite some time helping her understand her husband’s alcoholic addiction, as well as guiding her toward her own healthy, confident lifestyle. Everyone was making great strides and days seemed to finally be back to normal. She had reported often that he was clean and sober, attending meetings regularly, found his dream job and they were getting along splendidly.
One day she took a weekend trip and through disconnected and bizarre late night texts from him came to the sad conclusion that he had relapsed in her absence. As per their recovery contract agreement , he realized that he had broken the sobriety statute and opted on his own to move out and into sober living.
One of her friends asked her “how bad did he relapse?” After having experienced this before, she retorted that it didn’t matter whether it’s one drink or 1000, as a relapse is a relapse, and not only his sobriety, but credibility, reliability, accountability and dependability was now out the window and everything starts over. Her husband felt that the years of sobriety he had under his belt were not wasted, but did admit that with every relapse there is a new sobriety date on the calendar.
My client told her husband that she will pray for the day that when the urge overtakes him again, he will merely say to himself “drinking is not an option” and move on with a confident smile.
The Five Rules Of Recovery
This section is based on my experience of working with patients for more than 30 years in treatment programs and in private practice. Experience has shown that most relapses can be explained in terms of a few basic rules . Teaching clients these simple rules helps them understand that recovery is not complicated or beyond their control. It is based on a few simple rules that are easy to remember: 1) change your life 2) be completely honest 3) ask for help 4) practice self-care and 5) dont bend the rules.
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Things To Do After An Alcohol Relapse To Get Yourself Back On Track
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, approximately 90% of alcoholics will relapse within four years. But relapse doesn’t have to spiral back into full-blown addiction.
There are many reasons why people recovering from alcohol addiction relapse. Some people are triggered by stress or exposure to situations they associate with the euphoric feeling previously brought on by alcohol. Others revisit drinking as a coping mechanism for underlying anxiety, depression, or chronic pain.
If you find yourself having relapsed, it is crucial to first accept that the relapse happened and then find a way forward. Let go of guilt and shame surrounding the slip and create a strategy for avoiding relapsing again.
The following steps can help you move past your relapse and get back on track.
Negative Or Challenging Emotions
People who struggle with addiction need effective ways of tolerating, managing, and making sense of the negative feelings encountered in daily life. Alcohol, drugs, or addictive behaviors used to provide temporary relief from those feelings, but you can’t rely on them anymore.
Aim to learn how to get comfortable with uncomfortable feelings and emotions.
Realize that those negative feelings you’re having don’t have to be a sign of an impending setback. Everyone feels negative or challenging emotions. The key is how you deal with them.
View these emotions as an opportunity for growth and understanding. You can learn a lot about yourself by taking an inventory of what you’re feeling and asking yourself why. In fact, learning how to face your emotions without escaping into addiction is invaluable.
So, try journaling, meditating, or even praying when you are feeling negative. Find a healthy way to release your negativity and boost your mood. An addictions specialist or another mental health professional can help you develop additional coping strategies.
If you or a loved one are struggling with substance use or addiction, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.
For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.
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Why Drug Addicts And Alcoholics Relapse
The path to addiction is different for everyone, and so is the recovery journey. Addiction to drugs or alcohol is a force that invades your brain and takes over your life. When you are in the throes of addiction, the choices you make are not healthy or even logical sometimes. Everyone knows that drug abuse has serious consequences, and no one sets out to become an alcoholic.
Addiction takes time and a lot of work to overcome. Even with the professional guidance of a qualified rehab program, addiction can hang on to you for a while. Entering a rehab program does not mean you no longer have the urge to use drugs. It just means you are working toward understanding yourself better and finding ways to address your emotions without substances. Rehab is hard, and sometimes addiction just seems easier.
Although addiction recovery is different for everyone, there are some commonalities. Certain conditions are likely to trigger a relapse. When someone is in recovery and having a bad day, they may have an urge to use drugs again to cope with the hard times. Whatever conditions triggered that drug use in the past will probably make them want to use again. Many people who suffer from addiction find themselves abusing substances as a means of comforting themselves in stressful situations. When the emotions of their past traumas threaten to resurface, the habit of relying on drugs for comfort can be automatic until new, healthier habits are formed.
Is It Normal To Relapse
The majority of people who decide to end addiction have at least one lapse or relapse during the recovery process. Studies show that those who detour back to substance use are responding to drug-related cues in their surroundingsperhaps seeing a hypodermic needle or a whiskey bottle or a person or a place where they once obtained or used drugs. Such triggers are especially potent in the first 90 days of recovery, when most relapse occurs, before the brain has had time to relearn to respond to other rewards and rewire itself to do so.
This is especially the case with relapse among addicted youth. They are particularly prone to relapse because they spent their formative years engaged with substances rather than developing a strong social support network, learning basic life skills, or gaining academic achievementall positive predictors of success. Learning what ones triggers are and acquiring an array of techniques for dealing with them should be essential components of any recovery program.
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Preventing Relapse Long Term
Long-term solutions for managing relapse are really about preventing relapse as much as possible. The following strategies have been proven effective for people who are dependent on alcohol or another drug in helping to reduce the risks of relapse on the road to recovery.
- Avoiding certain people, places and things. Steering clear of people, places and situations that at one time led the person to use alcohol or other drugs is important.
- . A strong support network, whether through a service provider or an informal network of supportive friends and family, will help avoid negative behaviours and situations.
- Doing meaningful activities. Encourage the person to build a sense of positive self-image and pride by doing things they like and that have a positive impact on the community, e.g. joining a community sporting group, choir or special interest group.
- Self-care and a balanced lifestyle. Not taking care of yourself physically and mentally can be a trigger for substance use, so encourage the person to adopt healthier lifestyle behaviours, e.g. getting enough sleep and time for recuperation, eating nourishing food and having a clean living environment.
- Thinking differently. Along with the persons short-term goals of reframing the way they see events, encourage them to try to learn from their mistakes, build a positive self-image and set future goals, including goals unrelated to their alcohol and other drug use.9
Why Do People Relapse: Relapse Factors
It can be difficult to remain sober depending on the environment that the individual returns to after treatment and that can include living situations, family situations, work situations and more.
Many factors play a role in the possibility of relapse and it can also relate directly to the length of the addiction and severity of it. Drug relapse statistics note that the following are some of the more common reasons why people relapse:
Triggers: Triggers are just as they sound. This can be a feeling, situation, relationship or thoughts that cause an individual to want to use substances even after a time of improvement.
This can be by going to a certain restaurant or bar or being around certain individuals from the past with which the substances were consumed. Triggers can also be directly related to feelings in which the individual feels left out or different as well as stress from certain situations.
Care After Rehab: Individuals who dont participate in follow up care after rehab are part of the greater average number of relapses before sobriety because they believe they are cured and are not in need of follow up therapy.
Therapy after rehab can be in the form of counseling, 12- step programs, sober housing and more. These are great ways to hold individuals accountable for their actions and continue education and strategies to avoid certain situations and triggers.
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