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Drug and alcohol relapse prevention is crucial to lasting sobriety and durable recovery from addiction to drugs and alcohol. Chemical addiction relapse prevention includes a comprehensive plan and subsequent commitment to following that plan.
There are numerous relapse warning signs, therefore a key part of any drug and alcohol relapse prevention plan is being honest with oneself about which thoughts, actions, activities, etc. are likely to trigger a relapse, and then follow, very closely, the preventative plan.
Counselors, sponsor in 12-step programs, and others can be very supportive and involved in assessing potential relapse “triggers” and the appropriate response to the for the recovering addicts they help. Successful recovery almost always requires the help of others.
Drug and alcohol relapse triggers are multitudinous. They include difficult-to-handle emotional events such as a divorce, the death of a loved one, financial reversals, etc. Oftentimes, however, relapse triggers are more subtle and can include depression, anxiety, anger, irritability, mood swings, isolation, and even poor eating and sleeping habits.
Emotional and behavioral triggers also become more powerful when they are left unaddressed. For example, poor eating and sleeping habits might lead to exhaustion, which can then prompt the desire to escape reality, which can then lead to thoughts about using drugs or drinking alcohol, again.
Drug and alcohol relapse prevention is always extremely important to the healing process. Because numerous addicts relapse and never find their way back to sobriety, maintaining sobriety from the very beginning is essential.
Drug and alcohol relapse prevention plans often involve people connected to the addict, including family, sponsors, counselors, among others. A supportive family often makes all the difference between recovery and relapse. Ultimately, full recovery is the addict’s responsibility, but family members who seek their own counseling or who attend 12-step groups such as Alcoholics-Anonymous (for friends and family members of problem drinkers) can also learn the best way to help the addict.
When formulating a drug and alcohol relapse prevention plan, it is not enough to simply identify possible relapse “triggers.” The plan also needs to address support opportunities, such as counseling, 12-Step groups, outpatient programs, among others.
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