When you finally decided to get ahead of your life and quit drugs or alcohol, you took your initial step towards recovery. However, you may have thought that all your anticipated problems will go away when you enter a rehab, only to find out that a bunch of them are still there. You can have mixed feelings about changing your old circle of friends, and you can also feel doubtful about your commitment to stay sober. However, it is important to bear in mind that recovery is a major life decision that takes time. It involves relapse prevention planning so that you can keep your goals. This article shall discuss about relapse and the importance of aftercare and sober living after drug rehab.
What is Relapse?
Relapse occurs when you slip back to old patterns of behavior or habits. It does not necessarily mean that you have to take drugs or drink again after quitting for a while. Relapse may begin when you think that you can control drug or alcohol use and you take a chance to use it again. Some relapse triggers may also include the following:
- Poor stress management of problems related to work, school or family situations. When crisis or stresses build up, some people go back to alcohol and drug use.
- Failing to address your legal, medical or financial problems. You must not only solve the problems, but you also have to deal with your stress.
- You give in to your alcohol and drug cravings.
- You no longer stick to your recovery plan. You may have missed several AA meetings or meeting with your support groups.
- When stressed, you immediately think of drinking or using drugs again to cope up with it. You no longer want to deal with your loneliness, boredom and other negative emotions using the life skills you learned in the rehab or sober living facility.
What is relapse prevention?
Detox and treatment programs may not be enough to establish complete and continuing recovery. You need to learn a new lifestyle, through relapse prevention planning. In a nutshell, you need a guide to your new life without drugs or alcohol. Achieving sobriety is only a baby step towards full recovery. You need to grow as a person and you can only achieve this through a personal evaluation of you entire life and a development of a long-term plan for your total recovery. After rehab, relapse prevention plan aimed to achieving long-term changes shall follow.
A good aftercare program and sober living facility shall help you learn skills that will allow you to stick to your relapse prevention plan. Planning revolves around there major components:
People involved in your recovery: Your sponsor, counselor, family and friends. Family members and friends who also attend AA meetings or family therapy learn how to help the addict stay sober.
Life skills and effective stress management techniques: It is important to know what triggers your relapse and how you can handle them. You will learn techniques on how to reduce your daily stress.
Know when to ask for help: Once you need help because you’re beginning to stay off track again you need to seek for it.