Maintaining a Life of SobrietySubstance abuse rewires the brain in a way that makes drugs or alcohol the most important thing. And while you can treat substance abuse, it’s never totally cured. Like cancer, it can return. Relapse remains an ongoing threat. That’s why the road to recovery doesn’t end at the treatment center door. The aftercare stage seeks to set you up with support to avoid the signs of relapse. Relapse prevention through aftercare involves a couple of distinct programs. These include ongoing counseling, as well as spending time in 12-step support groups. A commitment to sober living lasts a lifetime, and aftercare is a way to stand by that commitment.
Signs of a RelapseCan you recognize when you are on the verge of a relapse? The answer in most cases is yes, but it’s not necessarily easy to spot. Here are some of the potential signals:
- Breakdown in the ability to cope with emotions. You may have had them under control with coping skills, but no longer do.
- Return to a focus on using. You begin “emotional tug-of-war” about whether you should or should not return to using.
- Altering helpful patterns that began in treatment – as in missing counseling sessions or refusing to continue with 12-step programs.
- Additional behavioral changes. A person may become isolated again, or argumentative. These personality changes are also part of the signs of a relapse.