Recovery is an ongoing process that can only be sustained by a life-long commitment. Once a client is stabilized, we look for him/her to demonstrate healthy coping skills as an indicator that sustained change has been achieved. But that still doesn’t mean the process of recovery is over.
The next steps in that process can take various forms depending on the client’s situation and needs. Treatment continues, usually on a monthly basis, during which time the client is continually assessed to ensure goals are being met. The treatment plan is reevaluated to determine what’s helping and what’s not. Once those determinations are made, the plan is adjusted, as necessary.
Relapse prevention is an important part of treating alcohol or chemical dependency. Rather than being a singular event, relapse is a process that takes place over time and goes through a series of stages.
It usually begins with the recovering addict having an emotional relapse in which he doesn’t think about using, but his emotions and behaviors are setting him up for failure in the near future. In a mental relapse the recovering addict is battling herself over whether or not to use. She may not have used yet, but she’s definitely thinking about it. Unchecked, those thoughts grow stronger until a physical relapse occurs and she begins using again.
The key to preventing a relapse is to understand the indicators that suggest a relapse is beginning and take action to stop it. Chemical Dependency Treatment Associates Inc. teaches clients about identifying their relapse triggers and risky situations. They also show clients how to avoid them and give them the tools needed to cope with the circumstances before they escalate.
The types and intensity of triggers vary from one client to another, but some common triggers include highly emotional events, poor sleeping habits and work-related stress. It often helps to have the client’s family also receive the education so they can be wary of potentially dangerous changes in the addict’s behavior.
Risky situations are inevitable but they don’t have to derail recovery. Having a plan for responding to those situations will go a long way towards maintaining a successful recovery.