Recovery is a Life-Long Journey
Our work in sobriety does not stop after treatment. While addiction is highly treatable, there remains a great difference between treating a disease and curing it. The point of addiction treatment is to provide addicts and alcoholics with the tools they need to remain sober once they return to their normal lives. For this reason, treatment centers must utilize a life-long focus. Rather than simply keeping addicts sober for the duration of their stay, a combination of therapy and addiction education will let them know what to expect when they leave.
The Truth About Relapse
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, relapse rates for those who suffer from substance use disorder are similar to those of other chronic diseases. At between 40% and 60%, they are slightly higher than the relapse rates for type-1 diabetes but lower than those of asthma or hypertension. The unfortunate truth is that not everyone stays sober. However, this does not mean anybody is fully incapable of staying sober. If they properly prepare themselves by knowing their triggers and forming a relapse prevention plan, nobody has to become a part of this unfortunate statistic.
Forming a Relapse Prevention Plan
Knowing your triggers is the first step in forming a relapse prevention plan, but it takes more than that. Through a process called “self-binding,” recovering addicts keep themselves out of dangerous situations by limiting their access to people, places and things that played a major part in their active addiction. Other vital components to a relapse prevention plan include support meetings, sponsorship, service work, spiritual practice and a network of people to call when in need of emergency support. Through regular upkeep of your recovery tools, along with a few back-up plans for hard times, you can mitigate the chances of relapse. Just remember that a life-long focus on recovery does not mean you can’t take it one day at a time. Use the tools you’ve gained through treatment every day, and your chances of long-term sobriety will be much greater.
Developing a Solid Support Network
Those who recover outside of treatment discover their support network through meetings, as well as through the love of supportive friends and family. The benefit to treatment is that you already have a network of friends who are practicing the same relapse prevention tools. In addition, many clients will occasionally check in with their therapists for added support. Furthermore, your treatment team can recommend professionals with whom you can continue your therapy upon leaving treatment. These resources make it much easier to build a large support network of people who will support your recovery and help you to maintain your sobriety. Sometimes it only takes one good conversation to help quiet the urge to use, so be sure to use your support network often. In doing so, you will greatly diminish the chances of succumbing to relapse.