Understanding the risk of addiction relapse

The path to recovery is full of challenges, some of which may result in an incredibly strong temptation to resume your substance misuse, even after you have enjoyed sobriety for a very long time. This is because when you struggle with addiction, you will continue to work towards ongoing success in recovery throughout the course of your life. For this reason and others, gaining an understanding of the risks associated with relapsing will be critical, especially in the early days of recovery.

From the moment you acknowledge that you have a problem with drugs or alcohol and decide to seek care, it will be important to begin considering how your sobriety may become compromised after you complete treatment and return to your everyday life. This is by no means an admission of defeat, but rather an opportunity to honestly appraise your lifestyle and begin formulating a plan for life after treatment.

Each person’s experience of addiction and substance misuse will vary, and therefore each person will have their own set of strengths and pitfalls to address as they commit to a life free from drugs or alcohol. However, everyone can expect to face cravings from time to time, and it should be noted that most people in recovery will likely experience a form of relapse at some point. 

The importance of planning ahead

As stated above, the risk of relapse is very real for everyone in recovery. But by taking the time to identify your own personal triggers, you will be better suited to avoid the people, places and circumstances that may negatively impact your resolve.

As you make a plan for discharge from your treatment programme, make self-reflection a consistent habit and consider the following:

  • Whilst your sobriety is ultimately your responsibility, if it is easier to avoid drinking or using drugs by steering clear of certain individuals, do not be afraid to cut ties with those people who do not support your healthy choices
  • Stress can be a major contributor to a desire to resume your substance misuse, so be sure to consistently monitor your physical, mental and emotional well-being
  • Be sure to engage with whatever supports are listed in the aftercare plan your treatment programme created for you, and take time to find the services that benefit you most within your community
  • If a relapse should occur, be kind to yourself and remember that this is a very common occurrence, and that it does not necessarily signal an end to the sobriety you have worked so hard to achieve

Quality treatment centres such as Priory make relapse prevention planning a priority from the moment a person enters their care. By arming yourself with an understanding of the personal triggers that may compromise your sobriety, you will be much better able to accurately assess most situations, and you will be more equipped to prevent relapse. 

Further, by having a plan in place for how you will respond to a relapse, you will stand a much greater chance of overcoming this setback, rather than viewing it as a defeat.

For further details on how Priory can provide you with further assistance regarding addiction relapse, please call us today on 0800 840 3219 or complete a free addiction assessment. For professionals looking to make a referral, please click here.