Relapse Prevention
Relapse Prevention

Addiction Recovery Relapse Prevention

Relapse prevention begins immediately following detoxification. No need to wait until aftercare.

People in recovery need to understand how the disease of addiction manifests in them once the drugs and alcohol are out of their system. Once they identify their unique addictive behaviors, they must learn how to manage those thoughts and urges on a regular basis. Successful management of cravings, triggers and other addictive behaviors is the foundation of positive long-term recovery outcomes.

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A strong relapse prevention plan is like a roadmap guiding you toward continued sobriety.

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Relapse Prevention

Relapse Prevention Education

Harmony Place’s program curriculum is designed to educate our clients on topics including, but not limited to:

  • The Progression of Addiction
  • The Disease Concept
  • Post-Acute Withdrawal and Addictive Preoccupations
  • Internal and External Threats to Stabilization
  • Identifying and Managing Relapse Warning Signs and Triggers
  • Development of Coping Strategies
  • Developing a Personal Relapse Prevention Plan

In our residential program, relapse prevention education takes place in group settings for one hour at least three times per week. As clients progress into the outpatient phase of care, they will continue to receive this education, and our specialists work with each client to build out a personalized aftercare/relapse prevention plan.

Personalized Relapse Prevention Plans

From the moment you begin treatment at Harmony Place, our team is already starting to consider your long-term recovery plan. As you progress through residential care into outpatient treatment and we come to better understand your likes, dislikes and everything unique about you. Your relapse prevention plan becomes more robust and individualized.

When you complete our outpatient treatment, your unique aftercare plan will connect you to some or all of the following:

  • Health Care Providers
  • Support Groups (for example: AA)
  • Potential Sober Companions
  • Personal Trainers or Fitness Studios
  • Helpful Reading Material
  • Community Resources
  • Valuable Online Resources
  • Harmony Place Aftercare Services

Along with our input, these resources will become an invaluable support network that keeps you accountable and helps stave off relapse from the first difficult months after rehab to years down the road.

If you’re looking to learn how to live life sober, please get in touch with us for help: 1 (888) 789-4330
Custom Aftercare Plan

Why Is Addiction Relapse Prevention So Important?

Recovery doesn’t end when a client completes our program and leaves our facilities. The hardest part can be going back home to your old life. It doesn’t matter if you have been through a program before, if this is your first time or if you’ve been sober for many years.

While “relapse” is not an inevitable stage of change, it is best address it by acknowledging that potential for relapse is real. Steps must then be taken to plan for prevention while the client is clear in mind and body.

This is why we start relapse prevention education early and carry it through the entirety of a client’s extensive time in rehab treatment (up to 90 days). This invaluable education along with a customized aftercare plan gives clients coping strategies and resources to turn to when struggles arise in recovery.

Frequently Asked Questions

Relapse Prevention FAQs

Relapse prevention is a broad topic, so it’s likely you have a few additional questions about what it entails. Browse through our FAQs below to see if we have your answer:

What are potential high-risk situations in recovery?

As you progress through recovery, you will come to understand the many high-risk situations that could test your resolve in staying sober. High-risk situations can refer to people, places, objects and specific scenarios.

The high-risk scenarios depend on the individual, but some general ones include:

  • Places you associate with past substance use, such as a bar
  • People you used to hang out with and drink or do drugs together
  • Situations in which your former substance of choice is available, such as a party
  • Moments filled with excessive stress or boredom
  • Social situations that caused stress or anxiety and drove you to substance use
  • Hobbies or activities that involved or were associated with substance use

What is the difference between addiction triggers and cravings?

Triggers are objects, people and situations that the brain associates with taking a substance and the pleasurable sensation that follows. (For examples, see the “high-risk scenarios” list above.) Even a certain print or online advertisement can trigger somebody toward substance use. Seeing characters drink in a movie might trigger those who struggle with alcohol use.

Cravings are the desire to experience the positive effects of taking a substance. These are actual physical compulsions or urges resulting from the release of dopamine in the brain. Someone recovering from alcoholism, for example, might get a sudden craving for the taste of a certain beer and the buzz it creates.

Relapse prevention education at Harmony Place focuses on understanding one’s own triggers and cravings and then learning techniques for managing them in recovery, because they will certainly strike at one point or another.

Does anxiety cause relapse?

There are many precursors to relapsing into active addiction. Experts in the recovery field often say relapse begins with our thoughts, feelings and behaviors before we ever pick up a drink or a drug. Anxiety is one such trigger that can lead to relapse, unless we take steps to address it.

Anxiety is characterized by an unrealistic fear of the future that causes people to feel excessively nervous or worried. Anxiety also produces irritability, anger and hypersensitivity, and can lead to difficulty in concentrating, sleeping and socializing. When these feelings persist over a period of months, it can be diagnosed as generalized anxiety disorder.

The longer we suffer from anxiety, the more imminent the possibility of relapse. We may think our only relief from anxiety is to self-medicate with drugs, alcohol and other addictive behaviors. “Treating” our anxiety with mind-altering substances or compulsive behaviors, however, only serves to make us more anxious, not less.

Treatment and Self-Help Techniques for Anxiety

The professional treatment of choice for anxiety is cognitive behavioral therapy, which teaches clients to identify the root cause of their feelings and help them develop coping strategies. Relaxation techniques such as meditation are also extremely effective in relieving anxiety.

Simply acknowledging an anxiety attack as it’s happening can drastically reduce its power over us. Often, it is what we say to ourselves that relieves our anxiety and restores our balance.
When we are experiencing anxiety, we should tell ourselves, “I am safe at this moment. My anxiety is not a reasonable response, and nothing bad is happening right now.”

Worrying about situations we can’t control will not influence the outcome. Worry simply begets more worry, which leaves us feeling helpless. Recognizing these feelings as they arise and remembering to adjust our thinking are the surest ways to stop a potential relapse in its tracks.

It’s important to remember that overcoming anxiety does not happen overnight: Remaining calm and “in the moment” takes patience and practice. As with recovery itself, the goal is progress, not perfection.

Can you give some examples of coping strategies?

High-risk situations will inevitably come during recovery, but the individual does have control of how he or she responds. Coping strategies are grouped into three main categories, and here’s an example response for each:

  • Behavior: walking away from the high-risk situation
  • Emotion Management: turning to a specific hobby or activity when feelings of depression or anger begin to overwhelm
  • Mental Techniques: using positive self-talk to overcome a high-risk situation

What are positive addictions?

Although it’s not recommended to replace one addiction with another, there are a number of hobbies and activities that are playfully referred to as “positive addictions” and have shown to help with physical, mental and spiritual well-being.

Examples of positive addictions to turn to in recovery include:

  • Sports
  • Working Out
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Reading/Book Clubs
  • Bible Studies
  • Volunteering

What kinds of services are included in Harmony Place's aftercare program?

Harmony Place extends a number of alumni and aftercare services to all alumni of our treatment programs.

Our alumni and aftercare program includes:

  • Alumni Group Gatherings – for activities such as basketball tournaments, karaoke, ice cream socials, etc.
  • Mentor Group Sessions – meets weekly at our residential facility
  • Facebook Group for Alumni – coming soon
  • Online Alumni Support Group

Read More: Alumni & Aftercare Program

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