How to Avoid Falling Off the Wagon: Have a Sound Plan for Relapse Prevention

Beating back an addiction to drugs or alcohol is only half of the battle. There’s always an ongoing battle that everyone must face – the temptation of relapse. Relapse is sometimes worse than the original addiction. Feelings of weakness and other emotional swings that come from the withdrawal symptoms can affect the way a person goes through the entire process.

On top of this, people have lives to live away from the recovery program they’re trying to complete. The inspiration to improve a lifestyle usually comes from a responsibility to a social group, family member or job. These responsibilities don’t go away just because a former addict has decided to make a change in her lifestyle.

If you want to keep from falling off the wagon, you need to understand how intensive outpatient programs can help you stay on track. You also need to understand some of the facts about your own struggle with relapse.

The Struggle With Relapse

It’s likely you’ll always struggle with the temptation to relapse back into a lifestyle of substance use. One of the main reasons drugs and alcohol are so attractive is the emotional crutch they give. Instead of having to face problems in your life, which are very difficult to solve, you can simply obtain a substance that makes you feel good immediately. This is a much easier solution, or at least things may seem that way in the short-term.

This feeling of surety and emotional stability during the high of a substance can be just as addicting as the substance itself. In addition, withdrawal isn’t the most comfortable experience for a former addict. If you don’t have access to the techniques and medical facilities that can help to reduce these symptoms, relapse becomes more of a temptation.

Your life may not be a bed of roses, either. You may be using drugs or alcohol as an escape. Even if you were to go sober today, that doesn’t fix the problems you may be having with your family, your mate or your job. All of these things should be addressed in a healthy way, and they will be if you have the right outpatient program on your side.

What a Relapse Prevention Plan Should Include

Cocaine Addiction and mood swingsThe proper relapse program will include a medical as well as an emotional component. The medical component will attempt to move your body away from the physical addictions you may have formed during your time with drugs or alcohol. These physical addictions will usually be very deep and take a great deal of time to overcome; however, getting rid of them will create room for the mental health program to work.

The medical portion of the relapse program will include a treatment plan that may rely on your decisions as a patient if it’s implemented in an outpatient program. Intensive outpatient programs won’t allow a great deal of room for error, however. The sponsors assigned to you will consistently and professionally follow up with you to make sure the medical portion of the program is being properly followed.

The type of medication and the frequency and strength of dosages will correspond to the type and depth of the physical addiction. Medications may be applied to the program to reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms you may feel. This will lessen the physical pain and discomfort you feel during a transition into a drug-free life, reducing the chances of relapse in an effort to avoid physical pain.

The professional emotional bonds that should form during a proper drug and alcohol treatment program will play a huge part in the success of the program. If you trust the people on the other end of the phone, you’ll be much more likely to stay in the medical treatment program, which may be a bit slow to show results at first. A great deal of trust is required between you and the medical treatment facility at this point.

The emotional support you receive during a relapse prevention program is also incredibly important. To change the habits of your mind, your social circle must change as well. You must be rewarded for behavior that doesn’t include drugs or alcohol, especially if you’re coming from a social group that upheld drug or alcohol use. Eventually, you’ll begin to associate good feelings with a sober lifestyle instead of one filled with drugs and alcohol.

An outpatient program will mean you’ll be in touch with the staff of the relapse prevention center quite often. There should be an open, two way line of communication between both parties. Sponsors should work as a team so that you can always reach someone trustworthy no matter the time of day or night.

800-447-9081 is the hotline for people who’ve made the decision to improve their lives. Stepping away from drugs and alcohol is a great deal more difficult than it seems; however, it can be done, and addiction professionals can help you do it. There’s nothing these specialists enjoy more than helping to create the balance you’re looking for in your life. Don’t wait one second longer than you have to – give the hotline a call as soon as you’ve made the decision to move into your new level of life.

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