Can You Prevent Substance Abuse Relapse?

Can You Prevent Substance Abuse Relapse?

The topic of relapse is hard for many people to approach because it may seem like your planning for failure. However, that’s not true; you’re planning for the worst-case scenario. For many people who enter treatment, they will experience a substance abuse relapse at some point in their life.


The American Addiction Center found that the relapse rate for substance abusers was between about 40% and 60%. Which means, nearly or more than half of all people who enter treatment will relapse. This understanding is why focusing on daily successes, creating positive habits, and having a relapse plan are all part of recovery. You’re not planning for failure; you’re planning for a very likely scenario.


Exploring Substance Abuse Relapse

Why does relapse happen? Nearly every person is familiar with creating a positive and healthy habit and then falling out of it even if it’s just for a few days. The difference is that unlike being sober, falling into the bad habit of drug use comes with physical responses that make it more appealing to continue use than the return to sobriety.


During recovery, you will likely learn about the early warning signs of relapse and identify when to step in and take action. The warning signs can include anxiety or stress from virtually any source, as well as withdrawing socially.


Other warning signs include:

  • Rekindling old relationships with people who are not sober
  • Becoming too relaxed with attending therapy or meetings
  • A sudden loss
  • Sexual or physical assault
  • Experiencing a natural disaster, serious accident, or severe injury


Clearly, any of these will often lead people into general bad habits. Even for non-substance abusers, a sexual or physical assault may cause them to abandon healthy habits such as going to the gym regularly or eating well. For people in recovery; however, these events can end your sobriety and lead you back into substance abuse.


Is Recovery Attainable?

There are many sayings within the 12-step community or quotes adopted by the community which showcases the need for daily activities. A Zig Ziglar quote shared often is, “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Neither does bathing. That’s why we recommend it daily.” The core here is that recovery is a daily thing, and it’s led to many other saying such as, “One day at a time.”


Recovery is a life-long thing, and to many people, in the beginning, stages that difficult to accept. There is no endgame, no finish line, and no trophy for “winning” addiction. However, recovery is attainable, and many people live with positive recovery stories every day. That doesn’t mean that they’re at risk of relapse. In fact, even people who have been sober for decades still have relevant and up-to-date relapse plans. They know their triggers and what to do when facing them.


Identifying Triggers

Many people who don’t struggle with addiction, do struggle to understand the nature of substance abuse, and continued the abuse. If you speak to someone on the street, they may explain that alcoholics, food addicts, and sex addicts have a harder time staying sober because these are ever-present factors of life. However, they don’t understand the way that you do that substances are ever-present in a recovering addicts life.


If your drug of choice was heroin, crack, meth, cocaine, or nearly any other substance, then you know how to find it when you want it. It is not as simple as moving away from your current sources or getting out of a toxic environment. Leaving your environment can help with your recovery. Eliminating people from your life who use or sell drugs is critical to your recovery. Avoid triggers whenever possible, but when you’re face-to-face with them, you need to have a plan in motion.


Making a Substance Abuse Relapse Plan

Working with a therapist and through group meetings, you’ll learn many tools that will help you create a relapse plan. Many people will choose to direct their energy towards something positive. So, when they experience a craving, they may go to a gym or a meeting. In times when experiencing a loss, they may enlist themselves into treatment, or attend grief therapy in addition to their normal meetings.


Your relapse plan should include:

  • Something to do in response to the feeling or emotion present through the trigger
  • Someone to talk to about the issue or trigger
  • A routine to help prevent exposure to that trigger again


Contact Rehab Carolinas for Ongoing Treatment

Rehab Carolinas serves the communities that spread throughout the Carolina regions. That said, we understand that drug abuse and availability throughout the Carolinas is rampant. Even if you have been through treatment before you can get ongoing help through outpatient and inclusive programs.


Learn how to recognize triggers and work to prevent relapses. With guidance, you can gain a clear understanding of the signs of substance abuse relapse, educate your family, and seek help before you lose your sobriety.


Contact Rehab Carolinas for information and to schedule a visit where you can meet with our team and learn more about outpatient programs.