Relapse Prevention: An Essential Skill for Recovery

Relapse Prevention: An Essential Skill for Recovery

One major skill that is used to keep alumni in recovery is relapse prevention. A relapse is when someone begins to use addictive substances again after a period of abstinence. When a client becomes alumni, they return to normal life. Normal life, however, can be an environment full of stress and difficulties. Learning how to navigate these difficulties with healthy coping skills is part of relapse prevention. Anyone can recover from addiction, but the fear of what comes after treatment can hold many back from reaching their full potential.

That's why at Driftwood Recovery, clients spend time practicing how to care for themselves before they “graduate” from treatment. With a focus on holistic treatment, clients receive comprehensive and compassionate care. Part of treatment at Driftwood Recovery involves clients learning how to preserve and nurture their recovery. To have a good recovery foundation, clients must first master several skills, some of which may be surprising.

Skills Learned in Relapse Prevention

Relapse prevention requires several key skill sets. One is to know how to prevent a relapse. Secondly is how to recognize when you are at risk for a relapse. The third is what to do should you experience a relapse. Knowing how to do all three takes studying, being receptive to instruction from professionals, and time to practice.

A common prevention skill is learning how to recognize your addiction triggers. These can be scenarios, emotions, conditions, and environments that cause you to want to use substances. For example, a common addiction trigger is grief and reminders of loss. Working to treat your grief will lessen its effects, allowing you to grieve healthily without turning to substances to numb or mask it. Another common scenario discussed in relapse prevention is peer pressure. Learning how to set boundaries and cutting out toxic people who threaten your recovery is a hard but vital process of recovery.

Relapse prevention also requires clients to learn healthy coping skills to replace the desire to use substances. A client, for example, can learn to practice yoga as a form of healthy stress relief. Another may choose to utilize art as a means to express big and painful emotions. Self-care and other skills are taught as part of relapse prevention. Getting proper nutrition and exercise is a part of self-care, as well as getting proper sleep and rest. Being healthy gives clients the foundation they need to resist cravings.

Lastly, clients learn what to do should they experience a relapse. The goal of relapse prevention is to prevent a relapse entirely. However, it can still happen. Clients must understand that they will not be shamed for experiencing a relapse. Having a crisis plan in place is just as prudent as having any other CDC-recommended disaster plan. Clients should be able to live and enjoy life, not be constantly afraid of a relapse. Knowing what to do beforehand can reduce stress and anxiety in a person's daily life.

Practicing Relapse Prevention Skills Post-Treatment

Relapse prevention relies on the person practicing it to work. Clients at Driftwood Recovery are given time to practice these skills before they leave treatment. It's encouraged that clients search for personal discoveries that give them meaning and joy. An example of this is a client utilizing therapeutic recreation. This therapy might give them intense joy and excitement for hiking. The client can take this new hobby they discovered and use it as part of their relapse prevention plan. After all, why waste time and money on substances when you can be on the trail with new hiking gear? Finding activities that inspire such change is vital for lasting recovery.

Self-care is another important aspect of relapse prevention. Clients are taught essential life skills, such as getting proper nutrition, valuing exercise, and resting when needed. When someone is healthy, they can resist cravings and adapt to stressors. Without proper sleep and other essential processes, someone can fall into self-medicating habits to deal with stressors. It may sound silly to those who have never needed treatment, but being able to practice good hygiene and keep your home de-cluttered can go a long way in relapse prevention.

Of course, one doesn't have to practice relapse prevention skills alone if they have a support network to help them.

Gaining Support From Fellow Alumni

Driftwood Recovery has an alumni program that features an extensive sober community. All clients are encouraged to participate in the alumni program as a form of aftercare. A major reason why some people relapse after treatment is because they become isolated and alone. By building a large support network of fellow peers who understand exactly what you are going through, alumni have a greater ability to protect their recovery. Just having a hobby can be an essential part of relapse prevention. Imagine how robust a prevention plan can be with the help of fellow peers.

Finishing treatment doesn't mean new alumni have to go through life alone. There is a wealth of resources there to help alumni along in their new lives. Even in times when relapse prevention isn't enough, there will always be help available. It's important to lean on fellow peers to reinforce relapse prevention skills and find meaningful relationships.

Alumni are always encouraged to stay in touch and check in with their treatment providers. Just like how a person needs to visit a doctor every year to be sure they are healthy, so too should alumni return for a mental health checkup. Here, the opportunity is always there to ask for additional help when needed.

By drawing inspiration and courage from others, you gain the confidence and self-love needed to remain in recovery. All it requires is you to be open to support and be willing to ask for help.

One danger that faces those who have completed addiction treatment is a relapse. However, with training, clients learn to prevent relapses by recognizing their triggers and practicing healthy coping skills. Here at Driftwood Recovery in Driftwood and Austin, Texas, all clients participate in relapse prevention training before their treatment is complete. By making use of various therapies and role-playing with professionals, clients leave Driftwood Recovery with the skills needed to navigate a sober life. With a robust alumni support program, clients continue to receive lifelong support and encouragement from fellow peers. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, reach out for help today by calling (512) 759-8330.