What Is Relapse Prevention And Aftercare?
After checking into an addiction treatment and rehabilitation program, one of the first things that you will learn is about relapse prevention and aftercare. This is because of the high risk of relapse that every addict carries.
Relapse refers to quitting the use of alcohol and/or drugs for a time before going back to using again. This might happen immediately after you leave a rehabilitation program or several months or even years after you were discharged from the treatment center. Your relapse will also largely depend on your will power, the triggers that you encounter, the environment that you live in, the people you associate with, and you as an individual.
Many people relapse and start using drugs and drinking alcohol again before returning to a rehabilitation program. This is because it might take you several tries before you finally overcome your substance use disorder and become permanently sober and clear.
To this end, a relapse does not necessarily mean that you are a failure or you gave up. It is simply an indication that you need a more robust relapse prevention and aftercare plan and program.
It is also important to keep in mind that the first few months after your rehabilitation program will come with the highest risk of relapse. This span of time is commonly referred to as the early recovery period and you need to be particularly vigilant to ensure that you do not relapse.
This means that you should continue practicing the relapse prevention and aftercare techniques that you were taught when you were in an addiction treatment and rehabilitation program to reduce and completely eliminate your risk of relapse.
In the same way, you should ask your addiction treatment program to help you develop a robust relapse prevention plan early on in your rehabilitation. This is crucial irrespective of your state of sobriety and your practices in recovery. Additionally, it would be in your best interests to ensure that you continue implementing your relapse prevention and aftercare plan all through your recovery.
Preventing a Relapse
One of the most effective ways to plan for relapse prevention is to thoroughly review your history of substance abuse and addiction. It might also be useful if you were able to identify all the behaviors, thoughts, and feelings that used to lead to your substance abuse especially they could also cause you to start using again. Once you have recognized all these triggers, you might start seeing a definite pattern.
To this end, when any of the triggers that cause you to take drugs or drink alcohol occur, you will be in a good position to implement your relapse prevention and aftercare plan and protect yourself from relapsing.
You might also want to write all your risks and triggers down and keep them in a visible area. This way, you will always have them fresh in your mind - and better able to implement your relapse prevention strategy.
After identifying your triggers, you should also come up with some alternatives to substance abuse. This could help you learn how to deal with your triggers - meaning that there will be less chances of a relapse.
You should also keep in mind that you might not always be able to avoid every trigger. However, you can manage almost all triggers as long as you are fully aware of them before you even come across them.
While looking at relapse prevention and aftercare, it is also important to have a good idea about what aftercare involves. In particular, you should know that addiction recovery will not stop when you check out of a treatment program.
Aftercare, to this end, is a type of continuing treatment and rehabilitation. It will come immediately after the short period of addiction rehabilitation and treatment care - irrespective of whether you choose outpatient or inpatient treatment.
According to statistics, over 2.15 million people in the United States struggle with a substance use disorder. At the same time, relapse rates across the country continue suffering high rates of relapse that range from 37 to 56 percent.
Research also indicates that people who take advantage of relapse prevention and aftercare plans and programs have a higher likelihood of significantly decreasing their rates of relapse. This goes to show just how important these programs and plans can be.
To ensure that you have the highest chances of success, it is essential that you always pay attention to the time interval after treatment. This is because it is during this period that the strides you made during your addiction recovery will be reinforced.
Types of Relapse Prevention and Aftercare Options
After identifying your triggers, you should consider different options that can bolster your chances of success in recovery. Some of the most common types of relapse prevention and aftercare treatment options that could reduce or significantly decrease your risk of relapse while also expanding on the coping strategies that you learned in rehab include:
a) Support Groups
Support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are widely available across the United States and elsewhere in the world. These groups are useful if you are struggling with and recovery from a substance use disorder. They can also prove valuable in ensuring that you do not relapse.
The people in these group will most likely have a good idea about relapse prevention and aftercare planning because most of them would have already been through an addiction treatment and rehabilitation program. They could also have unique plans to ensure that they remain sober.
Every person is full of valuable information. They can also furnish you with stories about their substance abuse, addiction, and eventual recovery. As such, you might find that these groups are valuable sources of information that you can use to bolster your chances of success in recovery. Further, they could encourage you that it is possible to attain sobriety in the long term as long as you have the right plan.
b) Support Teams
It might also be in your best interests to create a support team around you. This means that you should identify people on whom you can count for support as you continue making the journey to full recovery.
These teams could be comprised of family and friends who don't use drugs or drink alcohol, as well as other friends you have met in support meetings and groups. As long as they can encourage you to continue maintaining your sobriety, they could prove useful as part of your support team.
You should also dedicate part of your relapse prevention and aftercare plan to identifying all the supportive and loving people that you have in your life as well as writing down their contact details. You should then place this list in a place that is easily accessible. Whenever you feel that you are about to relapse, you should get in touch with these people.
In the same way, you might want to consider creating intervention strategies that your support team can help you implement. For instance, if you end up relapsing, you should ask someone in the team to get in touch with a counselor on your behalf or take you back to a rehabilitation center.
c) Outpatient Treatment
This is a type of additional treatment that you might be able to take after checking out of an inpatient treatment and rehabilitation program. In such a program, you will continue living at home but also attend rehab a couple of times every week.
d) Group Counseling
In group counseling, you will get the opportunity to share and listen to experiences linked to substance abuse and addiction, as well as relapse. This group setting could also prove useful in helping you work on building the coping and social skills that might help with your relapse prevention and aftercare.
e) Individual Therapy
In individual therapy, you will get the opportunity to meet with therapists and counselors several times a week. The goal of these meetings would be to help you continue building upon the program that you made when you enrolled for initial addiction treatment and rehabilitation.
While working on your relapse prevention and aftercare plan, your clinicians will most likely prescribe different periods of time during which you can continue receiving extended care - depending on your particular disposition and needs - and this could reduce your risk of relapse while increasing your chances of achieving full recovery from your substance use disorder. It is for this reason that you might want to check into an accredited addiction treatment and rehabilitation program where you can get the best relapse prevention and aftercare advice and guidance.
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