Relapse is a word that is defined as deterioration in a client’s condition after a partial recovery. It is associated with a lot of guilt and shame. “I have let myself down and the people who love me”.
In the field of addiction, it is similar, with one big difference, partial recovery feels like half measures have been achieved and completed. Recovery means to be well again and live life to its potential. Those who drink excessively, or take drugs or are addicted to an activity (gambling, sex, gaming) need to create an Environment of Recovery. Or one slips back to the Environment of Addiction.
Every Environment of Recovery needs a Relapse Prevention Plan. Every addict needs a plan to be sober.
The following plan helps in Relapse Prevention.
1 One needs to identify, what were the reasons, why did the client relapse in the first place. There are many predispositions that contribute to a relapse. Making a list of triggers that led to the relapse is the first step.
2 Internalising the many reasons for a relapse. What contributed to the “mental relapse” and why did it create the personal “emotional relapse”. This is unique to each client. This soul searching exercise needs honesty, transparency, responsibility and accountability.
3 Recognizing the destructive behaviours that played havoc helps in creating a balanced lifestyle. Addressing ones Guilt, Anxiety, Anger and Shame (GAAS) is vital for a client’s recovery. Coming to terms with GAAS helps the client heal and feel no emotional pain.
4 Planning a Smart Recovery and living a balanced lifestyle is not an intellectual exercise. It is an exercise in behavior modification and change. Change from the old ways of thinking, feeling and acting.
5 A balanced lifestyle is contagious and brings about a happy life. One needs to make this happy lifestyle the new normal and a way of moving forward.
Recovery and being sober, go hand in hand. Maintaining a drug or alcohol-free life takes more than just stopping to drink or use drugs. One needs to embrace life’s challenges and difficulties without the substance and with the help of people, the addict loves. This new relationship with the partner, family, extended family and the community at large creates joy, happiness and a purpose to live.