ADC – 208
An addict/client must always realize and be aware that relapse is a distinct possibility which can happen to anyone who is or has ever been an abuser. Prevention from relapse is an ongoing process requiring both abstinence and changing your thinking patterns behaviors, attitudes, and lifestyle. Relapse refers to the process of returning to the use of alcohol or drugs after a period of abstinence. Relapse is possible regardless of how much time you have been sober/clean, and part of a client’s recovery plan should include learning about the relapse process and coming up with a plan to help prevent one from relapsing and knowing the warning signs. There is the relapse before the relapse, meaning it builds over a course of time a period of hours, days, weeks or even months. Many who have addictive personalities have reviewed their relapse experiences and identified signs which precedes the relapse, and which indicates they were headed back to using. (Relapse prevention www.drugalcohol-rehab.com) Relapse prevention is a method of teaching recovering client’s to recognize and manage relapse warning signs. Relapse prevention becomes the primary focus for client’s who are unable to maintain abstinence from alcohol or drugs despite their efforts in treatment. Relapse prevention strategies are useful so that the addict does not feel like they have failed in treatment. By planning ahead for relapse the client’s know that they are likely to occur and that they don't mean failure or even setback, but are a natural part of the recovery process. In a group/ 12 step or therapy session, members can openly share their fears of relapsing. Those who have relapsed can share the experience, knowledge, and the causes of their relapsing. Most relapse prevention plans call attention to possible triggers that can send a substance abuser back to their drugs of choice. In counseling, the client is encouraged to come up with a list of his or her own potential triggers that either needs to be avoided or dealt with once the trigger has happened. In a 12 step or group counseling others will be able to share with clients their triggers and how they deal or avoid them. This sharing and knowledge will help group members when triggers do occur. 12 steps and in group counseling members have the opportunity to recognize their own struggles in others. Being able to identify with others can be very powerful for some members. Relapse prevention is about teaching the clients about associations they might have to drug use. Because the individual is usually not aware of all of those associations, their story must be told before others, which helps to point out ways that the addict continued to make it easy to use the substance. One game for teaching relapse prevention is to have a person share his plans for staying drug-free after discharge from treatment, and then have group member’s signal by raising their hands whenever the person reports a plan that appears to put him or her at risk of relapse. The person is taught by the silent hands which people, places and situations are likely to cause him to desire to use drugs. Suggestions for alternative behaviors are then shared. Suggestions sometimes include advice to drive home using a different route than the one used before, if the former route involved driving past a favorite bar, crack house or other scene of prior drug abuse. (Valerie Belew Group Therapy Games for Substance abuse). Members sharing feedback from each other allows them to help themselves by helping others. According to The Comprehensive Handbook by Miller, to understand the progression of warning signs, it is important to look at the dynamic interaction between the recovery and relapse processes. Recovery and relapse can be described as related...
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