Relapse Prevention

Relapse prevention is key for sustaining a persons recovery from alcohol and drugs. Having a plan is one key but quality treatment provided to the person trying to recover is usual the foundation for preventing a relapse. Burning Tree provides a high quality relapse curriculum for those looking to recover permanently from addiction and alcoholism.

What is a relapse?

Substance and alcohol abuse addiction are complex diseases characterized by different components that need to be addressed when trying to achieve recovery. Relapsing into drug or alcohol abuse can occur even after long periods of abstinence. This is why drug abuse is considered a chronic, though treatable, disease. Statistically, relapses into drug and alcohol abuse occur at rates similar to those of other chronic illnesses such as asthma, diabetes, and hypertension. Like these other chronic illnesses, drug use may require repeated treatments before abstinence is achieved and recovery is sustained. Identifying the user’s needs and redesigning recovery programs until a successful one is found is the key factor in preventing a relapse.

A relapse should not be viewed as a negative concept. In fact, it is a clear indication that the initial program that was developed was not sufficient or that there may be a co-occurring disorder that was not identified and the recovery program needs to be redesigned to take this into account.

What is a relapse prevention plan?

A relapse prevention plan involves preparing for the possibility of a relapse and identifying ways to avoid one. A successful plan entails networking with every available resource. This may include attendance at individual and group therapy sessions; regular contact with sponsors; attendance at 12 Step programs such as AA or NA; family assistance and support, or any measure that can be taken to help keep recovery on track. Most relapse prevention plans involve addressing the following areas:

Adjusting environment of the one in recovery – This many entail changing residence, job, neighborhood, circle of friends and acquaintances, or addressing any environmental factor that may lead to a relapse.

Use the new life skills acquired in therapy – These were presented as a means for addressing and replacing the old behaviors that contributed to addiction.

Identify the shortcomings of the current relapse prevention plan –If an old method did not work, find another one.

Develop a network of support communities – Recovery is difficult alone. Accessing individuals and processes who understand the problems of trying to live a sober will help prevent a relapse.