The 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.
When 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.
Here in the United States alcohol is one of the most commonly abused substances. Depending on the time of day, it is not unusual to see a large number of patrons at restaurants consuming beer, wine or hard liquor. That number grows experientially at bars and night clubs in the evening when patrons frequent the establishments solely to get a drink and socialize. Even though drinking alcohol is legal for people 21 and older, it is still a drug and an addictive substance. People drink alcohol for a variety of reasons: to relax, have fun, be part of a group, curiosity, to escape from boredom also to alleviate physical or psychological pain.
While the great majority of alcohol users do not develop a problem with the substance, many unfortunately do. For these alcoholics, treatment to end their alcohol addiction usually requires they attend an alcohol drug rehab program. Ending alcoholism takes a lot more than strong self-control and willpower; it takes changing the way the alcoholic functions in the world around them. Conquering alcoholism is something that Narconon Fresh Start drug rehab programs is able to achieve and has been doing so for over 45 years.
Their long-term residential programs address the client’s issues with alcohol while also uncovering and resolving the underlying problems that drove the person to drink in the first place. While attending one of Narconon Fresh Start’s alcohol rehabilitation locations the program participant will:
- fully withdraw from alcohol and any other substance they are dependent on
- go through a total body purification process like none they have ever experienced before effectively ridding them of future physical cravings for alcohol or other drugs
- learn to live life as a sober individual
- learn key life skills necessary to maintain their sobriety
- create a battle plan for their future
When the program participant completes their treatment at Narconon Fresh Start they no longer consider themselves an “alcoholic” or an “addict” because they have been fully rehabilitated; with over three quarters of Narconon Fresh Start graduates never returning to a life of alcohol or drug use after completing the program. They now have all the necessary tools and skills to remain sober and face challenges without resorting to drinking or using. Narconon Fresh Start drug rehab programs do not use any drug replacement or drug substitution therapy so graduates complete treatment and do not take any prescription medication to ensure their sobriety. Also, they do not need to attend meetings to maintain the gains they have achieved while in drug rehab. Graduates of the Narconon Fresh Start drug and alcohol rehab program are able to seamlessly reintegrate into their families, friendships and communities.
Day Five: Sauna allowed me to become much clearer headed. I am also sleeping and eating better, as well as having much more energy…
Day Ten: Today I was very tired at the start of sauna, but I toughed it out and now I’m feeling rejuvenated and great!
Day Fifteen: I am moving on up in the New Life Detoxification Program and feeling great; very used to it. I’m very glad to clear out my body.
Day Twenty-nine: I have attested sauna and the New Life Detoxification Program! I feel brighter, better, and stronger than ever before both physically and mentally. I am excited to continue to grow in this program.
Almost every aspect of going through drug and alcohol rehabilitation is difficult. The Narconon Fresh Start New Life Detoxification Program is considered to be one of the most physically challenging experiences for our program participants next to their withdrawal process. Per medical approval, clients participate in the body cleansing and purification protocol of supervised exercise, time sweating in a dry sauna and consumption of scientifically formulated nutritional supplements targeted to rid the fatty tissues of stored drug toxins. This program eliminates the physical cause of drug and alcohol cravings and immensely decreases the client’s chances of relapse in the future.
What many people (recovered addicts and those who care about them) do not realize is that relapse is a process, not a solitary event. To prevent relapse you need to understand the stages of a relapse before it happens. A drug or alcohol relapse actually begins weeks or even months before the actual event of relapse to substance use. The person will experience emotional issues, mental distress and unease followed by the actual physical event of relapse.
When a person has stopped using drugs or alcohol and has completed a drug rehab program e.g. Narconon Fresh Start (Fort Collins New Life Center, Lone Star Victory Ranch, Rainbow Canyon Retreat or Sunshine Summit Lodge) they are no longer an addict. This means that they now have all the necessary tools and skills to remain sober no matter what ups or downs life throws their way. While this is all well and good in theory, sometimes a person’s emotions are not as clean cut as that. A graduate who experiences undesired emotions and chooses not to properly handle them is setting themselves up for a possible relapse in the future. Because this is the first stage of relapse it is also the easiest to pull back from. Acknowledging these emotions and addressing them as soon as possible will likely be all that is needed to put them behind you. Common signs of an impending emotional relapse include:
- Mood swings
- Not asking for help
- Poor eating habits
- Poor sleep habits
When a person begins to start having mental distress or unease it feels as though there is a war going on in their mind. A part of them wants to use, but part of them doesn’t. During the beginning phase of mental relapse issues the individual is just idly thinking about using. However, in the later phase they are definitely thinking about, probably even coming up with plans on how they can get the drugs and where and how they are going to use them. Signs of mental unease leading to relapse include:
- Fantasizing about using
- Glamorizing your past use
- Hanging out with old using friends
- Planning your relapse around other people’s schedules
- Thinking about people, places, and things you used with
- Thinking about relapsing
As the recovered person begins to think more and more about the act of using it doesn’t take long for their thoughts to become actions. Before they know it they are putting themselves in situations where drugs and alcohol are present, driving to the liquor store or headed over to their dealers. It becomes extremely difficult to stop the process once it has gone this far. Putting effort in at this point is no longer “recovery”; it is strictly attempting to get the person not to use through brute force. Recognizing the early warning signs, understanding the symptoms and taking action before the individual is already out the door on their way to use is the only way to prevent a relapse. Once it has taken place the drug user will need to re-evaluate their recovery and likely need additional time in treatment. At the very least, they will need to speak with a professional about what issues drove them to use. This way the issue does not develop into a pattern and a continual excuse for the substance user to relapse.