Planning Relapse Prevention

Since 1957, Azure Acres Treatment Center has given hope to individuals struggling with addiction and its lasting effects. Azure Acres provides residents with high-quality alcohol and drug abuse treatment near Santa Rosa, California.

While the individual himself must maintain the disciplines that insure sobriety, there are ways in which others can help. Nearly every person close to the addict is able to recognize behavior changes that indicate a return to the old ways of thinking. Often these individuals and fellow drug users have tried to warn the drug user, who may or may not be willing to be told. He may consider it nagging or a violation of his privacy. There are many danger signs. Most addicts, if approached properly, would be willing to go over an inventory of symptoms periodically with a spouse of other confidant. If the symptoms are caught early enough and recognized, the addict will usually try to change his thinking, to get “back on the beam” again. A weekly inventory of symptoms might prevent some relapses. This added discipline is one that many addicts should try. Following is a list of common symptoms leading to possible relapse – or to what is commonly called “stinking thinking”.

  • Exhaustion: Allowing yourself to become overly tired or in poor health. Some addicts are also prone to work addictions perhaps in an effort to make up for lost time. Good health and enough rest is important. If you feel well you are apt to think well. Feel poorly and your thinking is apt to deteriorate. Feel bad enough and you might begin thinking a fix couldn’t make it any worse.
  • Dishonest: This begins with a pattern of unnecessary little lies and deceits with fellow workers, friends and family. Then come important lies to yourself. This is called rationalizing – making excuses for not doing what you want to do, or for doing what you know you should not do.
  • Impatience: Things are not happening fast enough Or others are not doing what they should or what you want them to do.
  • Argumentativeness: Arguing small and ridiculous point of view indicates a need to always be right. “Why don’t you be reasonable and agree with me?” Looking for an excuse to use.
  • Depression: Unreasonable and unaccountable despair may occur in cycles and should be dealt with, talked about.
  • Frustration: At people and also because things may not he going your way. Remember, everything is not going to be just the way you want it.
  • Self-Pity: “Why do these things always happen to me?” “Why must I be an addict?” “Nobody appreciates all I’m doing for them.”
  • Cockiness: Got it made * no longer fears using – going into using situations to prove to others that you no longer have a problem. Do this often enough and it will wear down your defenses.
  • Complacency: “Using was the furthest thing from my mind”. Not using was not longer a conscious thought either. II is dangerous to let up on defenses because everything is going well. Always to have a little fear is a good thing. More relapses occur when things are going well than otherwise.
  • Expecting too much from others: “I’ve changed; why hasn’t ever one else?” It’s a plus if they do – but it is still your problem if they do not.
  • Letting up on disciplines: This can stem either from complacency or boredom. You cannot afford to he bored with your program. The cost of relapse is always too great.
  • Use of mood altering chemicals: You may feel the need to ease things with alcohol and your friends may go along with you. You may never have had a problem with alcohol, but you easily can fall this way * about the most subtle way to have a relapse. Remember, you will be cheating!! The reverse of this is true for alcoholics who begin using drugs.
  • Waiting too much: Do not set goals you cannot reach with normal effort. Do not expect too much, It’s always great when good things you were not expecting happen. You will get what you are entitled to as long as you do your best, but maybe not as soon as you think you should. “Happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have.”
  • Forgetting gratitude: You may be looking negatively on your life, concentrating on problems that still are not totally correct. Nobody wants to he a pollyanna, – but it is good to remember where you started from and how much better life is now.
  • “It can’t happen to me”: This is dangerous thinking. Almost anything can happen to you and is more likely if you become careless. Remember, you have a progressive disease, and you will be in worse shape if you relapse.
  • Omnipotence: Is a feeling that results from a combination of many of the above You may have all the answers for yourself and others. No one can tell you anything. You ignore the suggestions or advice from others. Relapse is probably eminent unless drastic changes take place.

In conclusion, you must willing to allow time to pass and endure the temporary discomfort of the feelings while troubles-shooting the facts and getting involved in positive action toward recovery.

You will remain stuck and in pain and discomfort, only for as long as it takes you to get into action in a recovery-oriented procedure. Your balance in recovery will become much more solid as your awareness of the solution and your action towards that solution increases.

  • Watch out for ‘stuck’ points.
  • Pick up that ‘100 lb.’ pen and write about those stuck points when you feel out-of-sorts for any reason.
  • Double up on your meetings.
  • Call your sponsor (or special someone) and spend time with them during this critical time.
  • Re-connect with your Higher Power.
  • Allow time to pass (without chemicals), while you’re trouble-shooting towards the solution.

With these tips you will most likely be able to:

  • Begin to plan short-term goals.
  • Reduce high stress situations.
  • Better problem-solve stuck points.
  • Improve coping skills.
  • Start living in the solution.

Read more about substance abuse and addiction.