Working through and completing a rehabilitation programme is a significant achievement.
Throughout your programme, you can expect to learn new skills to benefit your long-term recovery journey and to reduce your relapse risks. Yet unfortunately, no amount, of skills can prepare you for the reality of post-rehab life.
Of course, this will be an exhilarating time. Your life will be changing for the better. However, through that change, your once welcomed drug and alcohol triggers will now be unwelcomed, placing you in high-risk relapse situations.
The word relapse is commonly avoided when considering addiction recovery. However, at Cassiobury Court, we feel a duty to increase awareness around the normalisation of relapse risks, especially throughout the early stages of recovery.
Naturally, avoiding relapse risks will be desired by all, which we hope for, for our clients. Yet, post-rehab, as external influences reappear, such as high-risk relapse situations, there’s a potential for either an emotional, mental or physical relapse to manifest.
Understandably, you may believe that rehab should cure you and that relapse risks should be non-existent post-rehab. This however isn’t the reality of overcoming an addiction, which we must digest and commit to.
There are of course some steps you can take to reduce the possibility of relapse, which you will be guided through throughout rehab and beyond.
However, down to potential probabilities, it’s important that you learn how to deal with high-risk relapse situations, ensuring that your hard work doesn’t go to waste.
We are here for you, if you are struggling, with the aim to avoid all levels of relapse. However, please remember that we are all human, that relapse isn’t a sign of failure, and that minor relapse experiences can quickly be reverted, getting you back on track.
What does relapse mean?
A relapse, in addiction terms, ultimately defines the resurfacing of old habits. Here’s where the improvements that you’ve made have slipped, resulting in relapse risks.
Relapse risks can develop for many given reasons. However, they will usually present themselves through drug and alcohol exposure, through certain situations posing as high-risk, through old relationships and routines, and through pre-rehab lifestyles.
The term relapse is commonly avoided, as many rehab clinics promote the ease of long-term recovery. However, as relapse risks are actually common, likely throughout the first months of recovery, we feel a duty to set clear expectations for our clients.
Experiencing a relapse isn’t a sign of failure. It is a sign that greater treatment and support are required to reach the status of long-term recovery.
A relapse can in fact manifest in many different ways, some which are very common on an emotional basis, and others which can be less common on a physical basis.
Down to these risks, it is important that as a recovering addict, that you learn how to deal with high-risk relapse situations, helping you remain on track for recovery.
Without understanding what a relapse is, and how to manage it through a relapse prevention plan and further tips, highlighted below, there’s a risk that your addiction can resurface, requiring further intervention.
Common high-risk relapse situations
Before learning how to deal with high-risk relapse situations, it’s important to define those situations which can motivate a relapse.
Of course, addictive behaviours do develop down to personal responses. This is also the case with relapse situations, as for some they can cause minimal impacts, yet for others can rank as high-risk.
While responses will vary, some common high-risk relapse situations include:
- Experiencing physical or psychological pain
- Being exposed to drugs or alcohol
- Being surrounded by those who initially consumed drugs and alcohol with you
- Enabling low emotions, such as depression
- Attending an event which increases drug or alcohol exposure
- Stressful situations, commonly linked to personal causation
- Visiting places associated to your drug and alcohol triggers
As we’ve shared above, high-risk relapse situations will deviate from person to person. To ensure that you can cope through one in the event of exposure, it’s important that you do learn how to deal with those high risks.
How to deal with high-risk relapse situation
If you’re faced with a high-risk relapse situation, here are some tips to activate, helping you revert your cravings. Many of these steps can be planned in advance, helping you as soon as you feel the desire to relapse.
- Understand relapse
Firstly, it’s important that you understand the meaning of relapse and how it isn’t a sign of failure. This alone, believing that failure is impending can advance the risk of relapse, down to associated stresses and pressures. By understanding the likelihood of relapse risks, you’ll understand that they are normal, and that you can revert your actions.
- Pre-empt high-risk situations
Next up, you should pre-empt high-risk situations which could trigger a relapse for you. Do you have an event coming up? Do you understand your personal triggers linked to drug and alcohol abuse? If so, it’s time to acknowledge those high-risk situations.
- Develop a relapse prevention plan
Developing a personal relapse prevention plan will be useful at this point, preparing you with helplines, with motivational steps and with emergency details in the event of a high-risk relapse. By developing a relapse prevention plan, you’ll feel protected and confident that you can work through any cravings, rationally, whether they are pre-empted or not.
- Participate in mindfulness exercises
Working on your mindfulness will naturally reduce your desire to revert back to old habits, through both good and bad recovery days. Balancing a positive mindset, with growth opportunities and the realism of addiction recovery will be beneficial.
- Create a safe zone
Alongside your relapse prevention plan, having a safe zone is recommended. This will include safe areas to visit, safe individuals to contact, and safe environments to position yourself within to remain sober.
- Source support in the event of a relapse
If you do encounter high-risk relapse situations, which unfortunately materialise into a form of craving, your relapse prevention plan will guide the way. If a relapse, whether that’s an emotional or physical, does develop, this is the time to source professional support. We are here to support you at Cassiobury Court, by providing you with enough treatment to revert a relapse.
Revert your recovery efforts at Cassiobury Court
If you do experience a relapse, please remember that your recovery efforts can be reverted. A relapse is the sign that greater efforts are required, helping to normalise sober living. This can be down to both internal and external faults, such as high-risk situations.
Whether you’re struggling through initial drug and alcohol triggers, or a high-risk relapse situation, we can guide you in the right direction, helping you disconnect from your habitual behaviours.
Naturally, you’ll want to avoid all forms of relapse. You’ll want rehab to work, as do we. However, to truly safeguard yourself, it’s important that you do learn how to deal with high-risk relapse situations, in the event that a slip does occur.
Remember, you are human. An addiction is a difficult illness to overcome. You’ve reached this point; you can also overcome relapse risks.