Drug relapse is a process that begins when an individual slips back into old behavior patterns. A drug relapse begins long before the individual uses their first drug after quitting. There are many factors that can lead to a drug relapse.
The Most Common Drug Relapse Dangers:
- Being in the presence of drugs or alcohol, drug or alcohol users, or places where you used or bought chemicals.
- Feelings we perceive as negative; particularly anger, sadness, loneliness, guilt, fear, and anxiety.
- Positive feelings that make you want to celebrate by using.
- Getting high on any drug.
- Physical pain.
- Listening to others past drug use stories and just dwelling on getting high.
- Suddenly having a lot of cash.
- Using prescription drugs that can get you high even if you use them properly.
- Believing that you no longer have to worry (complacent). That is, that you are no longer stimulated to crave drugs/alcohol by any of the above situations or by anything else . and therefore maybe it.s safe for you to use occasionally.
When an individual decides to quit using drugs or stop drinking, they have taken the first step towards drug addiction recovery. This step is the beginning of an important change in their life.
They may expect that all their problems will go away once they have made the decision to quit. Unfortunately, their problems often remain with them throughout their recovery process. Recovery is the process of building a new life, and like any major change it takes time. It also involves mixed feelings. One moment they may feel good about the new possibilities, and the next they may feel sad to leave old friends and habits behind. It can be very confusing. It can even make them doubt their commitment to this new direction that they know in their heart is right for them.
It is often at this point that an individual is susceptible to drug relapse. A technique called drug relapse prevention planning can help. In fact, it can make all the difference in the world. By thinking ahead and by working out ways to handle the pressures that might lead them back to their drug use and/or drinking, they can approach their new life with a greater sense of confidence. Drug relapse prevention planning is planning for success.
Drug relapse prevention planning is based on the experiences and successes of numerous individuals who have already traveled the road to drug addiction recovery. It recognizes that the road often has many rough patches, and that to succeed on this road you will need a drug relapse prevention plan.
To avoid drug relapse:
- Handle day-to-day feelings and problems as they happen. An individual going though recovery should include plans of handling feelings and problems as they happen. This way, pressure and stress do not build up. The stress they may already feel will only get worse if they put off dealing with problems with family, friends, or work.
- Keep your life in balance…a way to reduce stress. It is important to find ways to balance work and relaxation. Having fun with family or friends, without including alcohol, drugs or gambling, can be challenging. The recovering individual needs to be kind to their self. Have them give their self simple rewards that give them pleasure – a walk, time with a hobby, a chance to read a book. Writing out a plan for their day may help them find a balanced routine. Fill in free time with a variety of activities. What they eat can affect how well they cope with pressure. Lots of good basic foods like fruit, vegetables, cheese, whole grain cereals and breads, fish, and meat help cut down stress. Food rich in B vitamins helps to reduce craving for alcohol and to keep stress manageable. Caffeine (coffee, soft drinks), nicotine (cigarettes, cigars) and too much sugar can make them tense and thus should be avoided.
- Gain support and trust. Family, friends, their boss, a co-worker, a support group, or a counselor can talk with them about the pressures they are feeling in recovery. Someone who cares for the individual can watch with them for the warning signs of drug relapse and help them handle the stress. Let them know the recovering addicts goals and their plans so that they can help them with the recovery process.
- Identify and plan for high-risk situations. Everyone faces high-risk situations at some time. They will find their selves in situations where they are more likely to drink or use drugs. These situations can be handled more easily if they know ahead of time what those situations will be. Have at least three ways to handle them, so that if one does not work, they do not give up. Have them practice what they will do or say, so they do not worry about what to do under pressure. This ensures they can stay confident and in control.
Nobody can control everything in their life, or handle every situation the way they plan to. There is a possibility that they might have a drug relapse and start using drugs or drinking again.
Often, an individual will think about how they would feel if they experienced a drug relapse. Some people have overwhelming feelings of guilt, anger, shame, or fear. These feelings could drive them to continue to use after a slip. How would you or your loved one handle a drug relapse? It is important that the individual does not give up. There are other choices.
There are ways an individual can regain control and prevent a slip from becoming a full drug relapse. If an individual experiences a drug relapse, they could talk to a counselor or friend about it. They can learn from the situation and find different ways of handling the pressures that led to their drug relapse.
If an individual uses a drug relapse as a learning opportunity rather than viewing it as a failure, they can prevent it from happening again.
Plan to stop a slip from becoming a drug relapse. Don’t let a slip be an excuse to keep on drinking or using drugs.