What is a Relapse?

Addiction is much more than simply abusing a substance. It is a chronic, progressive and fatal disease. When someone has recognized that they have addiction and they go through the treatment and recovery process, it is not a 100% guarantee that they will be sober forever. We work as hard as possible to make sure every client has the tools in their toolbox to be able to overcome their addiction. However, it takes daily work even after leaving treatment and, sometimes, intense cravings paired with not following your program may lead to relapse.

Relapse is defined as a moment when someone goes back to using drugs or alcohol following a period of being sober and abstaining from use. Usually when a relapse happens once, it can lead to many more and eventually, it can spiral back into a full-blown addiction.

How do I Prevent a Relapse?

We believe that addiction is a family disease. We believe it is critical to get the family involved in the treatment process and keep in continuum of care for at least a year. Families tend to be more impacted than the client – they don’t have a way to “check out” with a substance like the client does. Once the family is better able to understand the disease and become stronger, they will be able to hold the client accountable and be able to lift them up in tough times.

The Recovery Process

In treatment, we need to figure out what underlying issues may be causing their addiction. Does the client have depression or anxiety that needs to be treated simultaneously? We then prepare to identify triggers, and have a safety plan in place for each trigger. We also work to educate the client on internal and external coping skills. These include getting the client into the habit of positive affirmations when feeling anxious, the practice of mindfulness and even yoga breathing. External coping skills include starting to look at aftercare options.

Aftercare Plans

Aftercare planning happens around week 2 or 3, so that it is solid and set in place. Nobody walks out of Pinelands without having an aftercare plan offered to them, or a plan in place for when they leave. This can include being referred to sober living or intensive outpatient recovery. We will also work on coming up with a comprehensive relapse prevention plan, which include going to 12 Step meetings and working with sponsor to help start them with the step work process.

What Do I Do if I Relapse?

A main motivation for recovery is to heal family relationships, so that the client is able to go home, live and receive support while getting stabilized. While in treatment, it is important to work on a Relapse Agreement Packet with your family so that if you do relapse, there is a plan set in place and expectations are clear. We will get the client and family together to fill it out, either in person or on the phone, so that the client identifies warning signs of relapse. The client and their family will outline how they plan to address it if they see those warning signs. The family and the client should be clear on what are they willing to do should they relapse. This includes going back to detox and treatment.

Relapse Warning Signs

There can be many warning signs of an impending relapse that family and friends should be aware of when a loved one leaves treatment. They can include:

  • Sleeping patterns become different
  • Eating too little or too much
  • Exercise too little or too much
  • Saying they will “never” use again
  • Deciding being abstinent is all they need and that they do not need to work their program
  • Forcing sobriety onto others
  • Over-confident about recovery
  • Avoid talking about problems and recovery
  • Preoccupied with one area of life
  • Life plans beginning to fail
  • Believing they are only addicted to one substance and not another
  • Begin a new romantic relationship too soon
  • Going back to a person they were using with, thinking they can save that person
  • Start believing that life should be easy now that they’re sober
  • Rationalizing behavior that they know is not conducive to recovery
  • Justifying, minimizing behavior
  • Avoiding problems
  • Excessively shopping
  • Negativity

About Pinelands Recovery Center

When you are going through recovery, or if you eventually relapse, you are not ever alone. We believe that focusing on getting the family involved is a major key factor to long-lasting recovery. We also run a dedicated Alumni Program, which reaches out to clients on weekly or biweekly basis to check on their status. If client has a problem, they can reach out or vice-versa if we have a sense that something might not be right. What can we do to get you back on track to avoid more complications? Pinelands Recovery Center of Medford is widely known as one of New Jersey’s finest, most respected addiction treatment facilities.

With comfortable 30-bed accommodations and a 24-hour professional staff, we can offer clients a serene, relaxing environment amid the lush piney woods. This stress-free setting with its sense of warmth and welcoming enables you to feel comfortable and confident about your cleanand sober life ahead.

We will establish clear goals, both general in nature and specific to your needs. We continue to monitor those goals, to make sure that our clients are progressing and buying into their recovery plan. We thrive on assisting clients in feeling connected to the recovery community, share and demonstrate effective coping techniques, help clients to modify attitudes and patterns of behavior and everything else you will need to be happy and productive living a sober, healthy life.

We ensure that clients complete their planned concrete tasks, encourage hope, optimism and healthy living. Our recovery program is not a revolving door treatment program; it is a recovery model designed to help clients go on to lead productive, happy lives. For more information, visit pinelandsrecovery.com