Relapseprevention.co.za is Recovery International member which is a voluntary organisation of recovered and rehabilitated people who have been through active treatment. This group is part of the collective safety net who will offer and provide first hand unbiased advice to individuals and families to maintain and prevent relapsing.
Our aim is to offer direction that enables individuals to permanently break free from addiction cycle and to lead a life in recovery, free from the torments of abuse.
Professional volunteers operate as advisories and group meetings are channelled through the online membership via our website.
Patients don’t “recover” from an addiction by simply stopping using. You recover by creating a new life where it is easier to not use. If you don’t create a new life, then all the factors that brought you to your addiction will eventually catch up with you again causing you to relapse.
You don’t have to change everything in your life. But there are a few things and behaviours that have been getting you into trouble, and they will continue to get you into trouble until you let them go and dispense with them using the tools acquired. The more you try to hold onto your old life in recovery, the less likely you will not relapse.
Here are the three most common things that people need to change in order to achieve recovery and avoid relapse.
Avoid High-Risk Situations
Some common high-risk situations are described by the acronym, HALT:
How do you feel at the end of the day? You are probably hungry because you have not eaten well. You are probably angry because you’ve had a tough day at work or a tough commute home. You may feel lonely because you’re isolated. You do not have to be physically alone to feel lonely. And you’re tired.
Take Better Care of Yourself.
Eat a healthier lunch so you’re not as hungry at the end of the day. Join a rehab group through our follow-up groups or talk to one of the counsellors at Relapse Prevention so that you don’t feel isolated. Learn how to relax so that you can let go of your anger and resentments. Develop better sleep habits so that you’re less tired.
Anger is one of the most dangerous triggers to a relapse. Why and what is anger. Anger is a complex psychological impulse caused by Frustration, Hurt, Harassment, Injustice, regardless of whether real or perceived, criticism, threats to people, things or ideas we hold precious. Anger in most individuals is complex and when not properly managed lethal. Some strategies to managing anger and angry situations are:
- Know and understand if you have a problem
- Keep a Hostility Log
- Use Your Support Network
- Interrupt the Anger Cycle – critical to stopping escalation
- Use Empathy
- See the Humour in your Anger
- Build Trust
- Listen Effectively
- Be Assertive
- Live Each Day as If its Your Last
- Forgive and Forget
Learn and find out more on anger management by contacting us
Centering is an ancient visualization technique that is popular in Aikido – the Japanese defensive martial art of “spiritual harmony.” It teaches you to focus on the here and now, taking power away from outside concerns and negative thoughts, and helping you remain stable and grounded.
Aikido trains your mind to control your body’s reactions using the concept of “ki.” This holds that all physical and mental power comes from the flow of energy around your body. Energy is lost when you are tense or stressed, but Centering redirects negative energy in a beneficial way.
Think back to a time when you were feeling stressed or afraid. What physical reactions did you experience? Tense muscles, rapid breathing, sweating palms, and a racing heart are all common reactions to a stressful situation.
Now, imagine that all of these feelings are the result of energy flowing through your body. Centering uses your mind to redirect this energy to the centre of your body, giving you a sense of inner calm.
The technique was adopted as a power-enhancing tool by sport psychologist Dr Robert Nideffer in the mid-1970s, and he outlined it in his 1992 book, “Psyched to Win.” It was also championed by performance coach Dr Don Greene in his 2002 book, “Fight Your Fear and Win.”
Make a List of Your High-Risk Situations.
Addiction is especially sneaky. Sometimes you will not see your high-risk situations until you are right in the middle of one. That is why it is important that you learn to look for them. Make a list of your high-risk situations and keep it with you. Go over the list with a counselor in recovery so that you can spot any situation that you might have missed. Make the list and keep it with you. Some day that list may save your life.
Learn to Relax
There are only a few reasons why people use drugs and alcohol. They use to escape, relax, and reward themselves. In other words, people use drugs and alcohol to relieve tension and stress.
The first rule of recovery is that you must change your life. What do you need to change? If you understood the previous paragraph, then you need to change the way you relieve tension. Everyone needs to escape, relax, and reward himself or herself.
If you manage to stop using for a while, but do not learn how to relax, your tension will build until you’ll have to relapse just to escape again. This often leads to the well worn path of recovery and relapse repetitively.Tension and the inability to relax is amongst the leading causes of relapse.
There are many ways to relax. They range from simple techniques like going for a walk, to more structured techniques like meditation or yoga amongst a myriad of others meditation is an important part of that mix because the simple techniques do not always work. If you are under a lot of stress, you may need something more reliable like meditation.
An addiction requires lying. You have to lie about getting your drug, using it, hiding its consequences, and planning your next relapse. An addiction is a life full of deceit. By the time you’ve developed an addiction, being dishonest comes easily to you. After a while you get so good at lying that you end up lying to yourself. This explains why addicts don’t know who they are or what they believe in.
The other problem with being dishonest is that you dislike yourself when you lie. You cannot look yourself in the mirror. Lying traps you in your addiction. The more you lie, the less you like yourself, which makes you want to escape, which leads to more using and more lying.
Nothing changes, if nothing changes. Ask yourself this: will more lying, more isolation, and more of the same make you feel better? The oft quoted expression in AA is – nothing changes if nothing changes. If you do not change your life, then why would this time be any different? You need to create a new life where it is easier to not use.
Recovery requires complete honesty. You must be completely one-hundred percent honest with the people who are your supports: your family, your partner, your doctor, your therapist, your counselor and the people in your peers in the rehab group, and your sponsor. If you can’t be completely honest with them, you won’t do well in recovery.
When you are completely honest, you do not give your addiction room to hide. When you lie you leave the door open to relapse.
One mistake people make in the early stages of recovery is they think that honesty means being honest about other people. They think they should share what’s “wrong” with other people.
Honesty will not come naturally in the beginning but will be something you acquire. You have spent so much time learning how to lie that telling the truth, no matter how good it is for you, will not feel natural which is why you will need the expert care and treatment. You will have to practice telling the truth a few hundred times before it comes a little easier. In the beginning, you will have to stop yourself as you are telling a story, and say, “now that I think about it, it was more like this…”
Last Chance to Change Your Life
Your addiction has given you the opportunity to change your life. Changing your life is what makes recovery both difficult and rewarding. Recovery is difficult because you have to change your life, and all change is difficult, even good change. Recovery is rewarding because you get the chance to change your life for the better. Most people sleepwalk through life. They do not think about who they are or what they want to be, and then one day they wake up and wonder why they are not happy.
More on Relapse Prevention Strategies
This video contains expert advice and tools for preventing addiction relapse. Information presented by Success Expert Mark Duin. Mark has been in continuous successful recovery of drug and alcohol addictions for over 30 years without a single relapse. This information is priceless.
Also see Dr. Steven Melemis stages of Relapse Prevention.