Prevention of Chronic Relapse
Although the causes of chronic relapse are different for everyone, there are some basic techniques for lessening the likelihood of relapse that are fairly consistent across the board. Strategies to avoid chronic relapse include:
- Changing jobs – Find one that is less stressful.
- Exchanging friends – Find a more positive, supportive, substance-free crowd.
- Stay active – Keep busy so you won’t have time to fall into chronic relapse!
- Changing towns – New scenery and neighbors can certainly keep a person busy.
- Deal with whatever haunted you in the past causing depression, fear, guilt, etc.
- Mark on a calendar your day-by-day progression of sobriety.
- Keep a journal to record your thoughts and feelings. If you start craving substance use again, refer to your journal as a reminder of the good things sobriety brings.
* Listen to your counselor! Attend regular therapy and counseling sessions as well as group support meetings. Regular attendance during and after treatment has been shown to make a drastic difference in preventing chronic relapse.
Set Up An Aftercare Program To Prevent Relapse
Some sort of aftercare program should be set up to help the individual with the transitional stage of leaving addiction treatment and returning home. Aftercare programs can consist of participation in self-help groups, outpatient counseling, transitional housing where the activities of the individual are monitored and might require the assistance of drug screening, and many other options that are determined by the specific treatment.
The level of aftercare often depends upon how successfully the addict has adapted to treatment and the amount of personal desire in maintaining sobriety. Despite this, even the most committed person is at risk for relapse.
It happens. Chronic problems however, do not occur because of a single incident. It is when it becomes a situation of multiple occurrences that the individual is at risk of not only adopting old behavior patterns, but erasing any benefit they might have obtained from drug rehabilitation treatment.
It often happens that instead of picking up the drug habit where they have left off, the addiction rapidly worsens. Through feelings of despair and guilt, any personal victories are washed away and the situation deteriorates into a classic case of chronic relapse. There are many things a person can do to prevent this from happening.
As soon as a person is tempted to use, it is imperative that they contact someone who has the knowledge and means to be able to accurately counsel the individual. The contact should already be set in place in the anticipation of the possibility. The person can be a sober friend, family member, counselor, sponsor, or volunteer. If help is not obtained during the moment of weakness, relapse is likely. If this happens, to prevent the continuation of drug use the individual should seek help immediately. On their own, it is unlikely they will be able to resist temptation, especially with the emotional turmoil that accompanies the first relapse.
Form New Positive Activities
It is very important for the newly recovering individual to occupy their time with healthy and positive activities. One of the reasons that people chronically relapse is simply out of boredom. They have too much time on their hands, and feeling lethargic and stagnant can lead to depression and negative thoughts and behaviors.
Activities such as church, volunteering, work, sports, music, and theatre can all help to boost physical and mental health. If the individual continues to look and to feel good about themselves in their sobriety, it is unlikely they will become a victim of chronic relapse.