About Alcohol and Drug Relapse

Saying No to DrugsThe primary part of a drug rehab program is to help individuals get off the addictive substances they are dependent on. The second, which is just as important, is to teach individuals how to stay drug-free when they return to their day to day life. Knowing how to remain sober and prevent a relapse from taking place is a crucial part of the recovery process. Without it, the newly recovered person is essentially defenseless against their own inner compulsions, cravings and the influence of others around them.

While not everyone who completes treatment will feel compelled to use again, a majority of newly recovered people usually feel a slight internal struggle to continue to make healthy choices the first few months (or even year) after they complete their drug rehab program. This is a very strenuous time for the newly recovered individual. This period of their sobriety is centered on putting into practice all the new life skills and relapse prevention techniques they learned in treatment.

Remaining sober is not a static situation; it is actually an ongoing process with many ups and downs along the way. If a relapse takes place it is likely because the individual’s thoughts, attitude and behavior have reverted back to how they were before treatment. While a relapse can occur at any point in a recovered person’s lifetime, it is more likely to take place earlier in their sobriety. This is because earlier in one’s recovery process the habits and attitudes needed for continued sobriety, skills required to replace substance use, and the ability to identify with positive peers are not firmly set in stone. This leaves the recovering individual vulnerable to relapse. Relapse does not need to be part of one’s recovery process to find lasting sobriety; but if one stumbles during the months or years after treatment they should not be ashamed or embarrassed.

Smoking and Drinking AlcoholWhen a person succumbs to relapse it is not something that happens in the blink of an eye; they are not suddenly struck drunk or stoned on drugs. There are numerous warning signs to watch out for before a relapse actually takes place. Drug rehab programs like Narconon Fresh Start include the common relapse warning signs and prevention techniques in the education they teach their clients during their time in treatment.

Narconon Fresh Start programs teach their program participants how to recognize relapse warning signs and what they can do to address them before they develop into larger problems. Generally speaking, there is seldom just one warning sign. Usually a series of warning signs build one on the other to create the perfect storm for an alcohol or drug relapse. It is the cumulative effect that wears the individual down; the final warning sign is simply the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Unfortunately many individuals who relapse think it is the last warning sign that did it. As a result they do not look for the earlier and more subtle warning signs that set the stage for the final disaster.

When it comes to relapse prevention, several situations may lead to relapse; social and peer pressure or anxiety and depression.

A person may experience a relapse because:

  • of their desire to test personal control over drug or alcohol use
  • they put themselves in “high-risk situations”
  • they lack the necessary skills to deal with interpersonal conflict and/or negative emotions
  • do not have the skills to deal with social pressure to use substances
  • they experience physical or psychological reminders of past drug or alcohol use (e.g., drug paraphernalia, drug-using friends, money)
  • they have recurrent thoughts or physical desires to use drugs or alcohol

If you or a loved one is struggling with sobriety, call a Narconon Fresh Start specialist today to find out how we can help you break free from addiction.

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