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Relapse Prevention: Putting A Plan In Place To Achieve Success

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Relapse Prevention: Putting A Plan In Place To Achieve Success

Author : Sam Slaton

Submitted : 2013-10-30 01:36:56    Word Count : 1073    Popularity:   Not Rated

Tags:   relapse prevention

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Relapse prevention is a very important part of successfully living a life of recovery. The moment someone decides that they must quit drugs, drinking, gambling or some other behavior they have made, comes the first, very important step - but it is only the first step. Admission of an addiction can mark an important chapter of change in the life of a patient, but there is still a long journey to recovery.

Relapse prevention planning can be a life-line along the journey. Understanding where pitfalls lay, and how to recognize potential danger signs and avoid them, is a very important part of a continued recovery. In fact, relapse prevention is something which is vital not only for the recovering addict but also for the family and friends. It's about thinking ahead, approaching situations with a degree of confidence and knowing that there are plans in place to avoid speed bumps on the rough road ahead.

Making Recovery the Goal

Addiction can cause all sorts of problems, not only for the addict but for the family too. It's true what they say, addiction really is an ailment for the whole family and everyone is affected by the addiction problems of a loved one - which is why it is so important for the family to be involved and knowledgeable about the relapse prevention plan. Living with a recovering addict is not an easy thing to do, and family members can often feel like they spend their life walking around on eggshells, constantly having to predict the mood of the recovering addict and trying to diffuse potential situations.

Remember that the goal of the exercise is recovery, and once that goal is reached then life will be a lot more stable for everybody concerned. It's all about having a relapse prevention plan and putting that plan in place when things get rough.

The Relapse Prevention Plan - Reasons for Relapse

A relapse prevention plan should include everyone involved knowing when and why relapses are most likely to occur. When alcoholics relapse they do not suddenly get drunk - there are warning signs and situations in which they are most likely to be tempted to relapse. It is important for everyone involved in the relapse prevention plan to understand these warning signs:

• A person suffering from addiction may begin to feel bored and lonely, become more withdrawn and want to spend time alone.

• The recovering addict may become increasingly irritated and your relationships may become even more strained than usual.

• They may begin to act impulsively when under stress, which only causes more stress.

• They may try to impose abstinence on you, or other members of the family and friends.

• They may begin to feel increasingly sorry for themselves.

• They may begin to believe that they have recovered and do not need to take part in a relapse prevention plan any more because they simply feel they do not need it - which may lead them to reject help from those around them and stop attending counseling and support groups.

When are Relapses Most Likely to Happen

Anyone who is heavily involved in the life of a recovering addict needs to know when relapses are most likely to occur in order to help with a relapse prevention plan. Here are some interesting statistics:

• Around 65 percent of all relapses occur in the first three months - this statistic is the same for drugs, alcohol, gambling, diets, and smoking. The first three months after treatment are the most dangerous period for anyone recovering from addition - and the most difficult to deal with.

• During this first three months the addict may experience poor concentration and memory or over-react to stressful situations. This could be the cause of the relapse.

• The longer the addict can manage without relapse the easier it will become. You must not, however, underestimate the importance of stress management during this period of the relapse prevention plan, being unable to handle stress is one of the major factors for relapse to occur.

The Relapse Prevention Plan - Helping Recovering Addicts to Avoid Relapse

Family support is the biggest asset to a relapse prevention plan. This means the family should expect to:

• Help and encourage the addict to handle any daily problems or feelings as they happen - this decreases the chance that stress will build to unmanageable levels. For the majority of those suffering from addiction, stress is an intense trigger that only gets worse the longer they avoid dealing with the problem in the first place.

• Help those in recovery to keep their (and your) life in balance. Those dealing with addiction should be encouraged to find methods of balancing work with relaxation. It may be challenging to have fun with friends and family without the use of alcohol in the beginning, but the challenges are worth it. Small, daily pleasures can be a very important part of any relapse prevention plan. Something as simple as taking a walk, reading a book or taking up a new hobby can all be very useful.

• A healthy diet is also an important part of the road to recovery and relapse prevention. Make sure that the recovering addict eats plenty of vegetables, fruit, cheese, fish, meat, breads etc. Some foods can trigger cravings and should be avoided. Foods which are rich in Vitamin B can help to reduce alcohol cravings. While coffee, soft drinks containing caffeine, and eating too much sugar can make a person tense. It is also very important that those in recovery not eat anything at all which has even the smallest amount of alcohol - make sure not to add wine, beer, cider, port, or anything else to cooked meals.

• Identify any potentially high risk situations and have an action plan ready. High risk situations are anywhere the addict may be tempted to drink alcohol, gamble, or use drugs. Make sure that you have a variety of ways in which to handle these situations and, if you notice the addict becoming uncomfortable at all, be prepared to leave the situation immediately - whether it's a family celebration, work party or a neighbor's barbecue.

Once the first three months have passed it will start to get easier, but even so, these relapse prevention techniques must become a way of life.

Author's Resource Box

The Mission of Santé Center for Healing is to address addictive behaviors and associated conditions with an integrated drug addiction replapse prevention treatment model.Services are open to those who seek recovery from addictive behaviors http://www.santecenter.com

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