Do you have a loved one who has been in an addiction treatment program after battling a substance abuse disorder or alcoholism? Studies have shown that anywhere from 40 to 60% of people who seek treatment for an addiction to drugs or alcohol end up relapsing within one year. It’s what makes relapse prevention so important.
People aren’t always able to break out of the addiction cycle after the first time they receive addiction treatment. Often, people who are new to recovery do not follow the treatment center’s discharge plan and do not have the right support needed to stay sober.
Many will relapse once or twice, and in some cases, chronic relapse becomes an issue.
Oftentimes professional help is needed after treatment, whether a loved one goes into an extended care program or gets help from a professional interventionist or counselor.
Following a stint in an addiction treatment facility, it’s important for a person to feel confident in their ability to segue back into the “real” world. They should feel like they’re going to be able to continue to battle their addiction.
But they should know their limitations. Addiction is cunning and powerful. Most often an addict or alcoholic who has not fully recovered will think, “This time it’s going to be different.”
A mental relapse could happen at any time, especially if they do not stay spiritually and mentually fit. Having an attitude of, “I got this,” and not seeking additional help or resources is usually a sign that a relapse plan is not being followed.
When a person has a substance abuse disorder or is an alcoholic, they’ll often get into the habit of telling lies to cover up their addictive behavior. They’ll lie about everything from who they’re hanging out with on a daily basis to what they’re doing during their free time.
Honestly is a fundamental belief and action when recovering. It is our ability to be honest with ourselves and another human being that we can move forward with our own recovery.
It takes rigorous honesty to face any treatment discharge plan or relapse prevention plan.
The book of Alcoholics Anonymous states that some people “are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty.”
Those who are dishonest have little chance to change and stay recovered.
Honesty is a principle that is required to stay recovered.
Actions Speak Louder Than Words
People who are active in their addiction spend much of their time either thinking about using drugs and alcohol or actually using them.
When using and constantly being dishonest, it’s best to look at their actions. What does their action say about their character and their honesty?
Someone who has relapsed might suddenly start skipping days at work. They may not show up for a family event or a counseling appointment.
Their actions speak louder than their words.
Not the Family’s Role to Be Relapse Prevention Police
Common relapse prevention techniques that are usually cited are as follows:
- Looking out for “triggers”
- Surrounding themselves with a strong support system
- Steering clear of old friends who still use drugs and/or alcohol
- Attending support groups to talk about their struggles
Often these techniques fail because they do not provide the actual support needed to recover.
The reason is that the transition from a treatment center to regular life can be taxing on an addict or alcoholic who is new to recovery. Life still happens. But using the new tools learned in treatment to handle life in a healthy way has not become a habit.
Most often, people fresh out of treatment need a structured and accountable extended care program to help them transition.
If someone has been using drugs for over a decade and they take only 30 days to completely change how they react to life, it is going to be difficult for the change to be permanent.
The threat of relapse is unavoidable for those attempting to change their attitude with a substance abuse disorder or an addiction to alcohol.
Families often want to participate in the addicts plan for recovery and help where they can.
It can be tricky trying to mix family and addiction recovery. Talking with your loved one about their relapse prevention plan can cause problems, especially if the family does not understand addiction.
Emotions and the love a family has for their loved one can get in the way of recovery. Some parents want to be in the role of the hero.
They cannot cure their son or daughter’s disease no matter how hard they try.
But they will do what is in their power to make sure the child does not suffer, whether it’s getting them a new car or paying for their rent or groceries.
Instead of constantly being the person to check up on their loved one, the best thing a family can do for an active drug addict or alcoholic is set strong boundaries and get professional help.