The whole point of getting clean and living sober is to stop using drugs and alcohol for good. Get stopped and stay stopped, as opposed to get high and stay high.
Part of the definition of addiction to alcohol and drugs includes the fact that it is a relapsing disease. That means that while it is not necessarily a fact that all people will relapse, it does happen with a frequency that cannot and should not be ignored.
Unfortunately, there are three scary truths concerning the difficulty of staying abstinent and living sober.
Many People Relapse - Go Back to Drinking and Drugging
- Relapse is extremely common after drug and alcohol treatment.
There really are no reliable statistics on what percentage of people actually stay clean long-term after drug addiction treatment, but is certainly a fact that a far larger number of people relapse. The good news is that relapse is not necessary, and it need not be part of anybody’s recovery. Some people believe that having the occasional relapse okay and it is expected. I disagree. Relapse need not be part of anyone’s long-term sobriety. However, common sense states that you should have an action plan to handle the threat of relapse and just in case relapse occurs.
Relapse justification is simply rationalization or creating a story in your mind that make it seem okay to return to using alcohol or drugs after starting a recovery program. Some common B.S people believe…for example: I wasn’t really that bad, or I’ve feeling so much better, surely just one or two couldn’t hurt. This part of relapse is all in your head.
My own tempting thoughts were – ‘I’m a grown man nobody can tell me what to do’ and alcohol is my problem, I can do cocaine and smoke weed’.
Heading Toward A Relapse? - The Signs Of Impending Doom Are Clear
- Relapse is predictable if you ignore warning signs.
One of the advantages of attending drug and alcohol rehab treatment is gaining the drug relapse prevention education to recognize the distinct warning signs and symptoms of a person who is get engaged in the relapse process. A lot of people believe that relapse begins with resuming drug use. The fact is that the relapse process is the time before the actual using episode. The relapse process gradually involves slipping back to old ways of thinking acting, and emotional dysregulation that facilitated the drug used to begin with. It is usually a gradual slide not evident to the addict but evident to all those around him. Many people are unfamiliar with even the basic concepts of preventing a drug relapse.
Relapse process: This all that happens before actually picking up. It is the set up. You begin to drift back to old ways of thinking and acting. In other words, it is the gradual return of old attitudes and behaviors that occur in the time before picking up the drink or drug, not afterwards. People around you usually notice it before you do ad may even ask if you are using. Why? Because you’re acting like it?
No One Needs To Relapse Ever...(or Ever Again)
- Relapse is absolutely preventable.
Staying sober in living clean is not simply a matter of willpower. There are certain skills that need to be learned, practiced, and woven into the daily fabric of one’s lifestyle change. Some of the necessary skills are learning to take responsibilities for one’s thoughts, feelings, and actions. Dangerous situations and both external and internal triggers must be identified and dealt with strategically. Coping skills must be learn to handle uncomfortable emotions. Sobriety and living sober should be identified as a process not as a destination.
Relapse prevention: This is a process that helps a person to identify relapse triggers and change thoughts, feelings, and actions that have the potential to lead back to active alcohol and drug use. Counseling or a 12 step program can be of tremendous help with this essential component of recovery. Do you have a plan in place to handle using thoughts, feelings, actions, urges and enablers?
- The Recovery Book is the easiest to read reference book on 100’s of topics on addiction recovery. I know tons of couselors who have this on their book shelf and refer to it constantly.
- The Happy Addict. The Happy Addict is the ultimate guide to achieving an amazing life after addiction. No more guilt. No more shame. No more feeling held back by the past or low self-esteem.
- The Craving Mind. This ia an Amazon Best Seller. A leading neuroscientist and pioneer in the study of mindfulness explains why addictions are so tenacious and how we can learn to conquer them.
The Recovery Book: Answers to Questions About Addiction and AlcoholismThe Happy Addict: How to be Happy in Recovery from Alcoholism or Drug AddictionThe Craving Mind: From Cigarettes to Smartphones to Love – Why We Get Hooked
In conclusion, we would like to note that sustaining long-term recovery is simply not about saying no to drugs (although that is the object of the exercise). It is about gaining an education of the nature of drug addiction, how it personally applies to you, and formulating strategic prevention awareness and actions.
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Short Video Clip From HBO - The Science of Relapse
Pinterest - Pin It. 3 Scary Truths About Living Sober And The Threat Of Relapse
Some Really Good Resources
- Drugs, Brains and Behavior: The Science of Addiction (Drugabuse.gov) – In my opinion this is the best short read on addiction. I have used the content for many therapy groups and lectures…check it out.
- Substance Us In Women Women and men may face unique issues when it comes to substance use, as a result of both sex and gender.