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therapy group meets during relapse prevention therapy programRelapse prevention therapy is part of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Every therapy available in an addiction treatment program should help clients prevent a relapse. However, relapse prevention therapy requires you and your therapist to identify the markers that put you at greater risk of relapse. These are a combination of internal experiences and external factors. The internal experience may be what is known as automatic thoughts. There are the positive thoughts you have about getting high versus the negative thoughts related to getting sober. The external factors could be your drug dealer or the people you get high with before seeking treatment. By setting up a relapse prevention plan, you can be one step ahead of what’s trying to hold you back. At Ethan Crossing of Columbus, we incorporate relapse prevention planning into all of our addiction therapy programs, so each individual receives the care they need for lasting recovery.

What Is a Relapse Prevention Program?

The patient and therapist work together to develop a plan to prevent relapse by identifying certain triggers and strategize how to circumvent them. This treatment is a way of having all your bases covered before you run into trouble. We teach the following strategies to help clients prevent relapse:

  • Coping skills – There are potential situations that put you in a risky position when returning to substance use. These situations are the triggers for you to use drugs, and you need to recognize them in order to avoid them. Be assertive when turning down a drink or a hit. Be the one in control. You can also remind yourself of all the great things that will happen to you if you do turn it down and how good that makes you feel.
  • Awareness of potential adverse outcomes – Triggers are things you associate using drugs with. Often, these seem to be positive emotions and sensations, because addiction can cloud your perception. By being more aware of the downsides of addiction, you’re prepared for any eventuality.
  • Cognitive restructuring – Turn things around and avoid the thinking traps that make you associate using drugs with good feelings and abstaining from them as detestable.
  • Be confident – The therapist reinforces your confidence in your ability to respond well to triggers.
  • Prepare for emergencies – The urge to use alcohol or drugs may come suddenly upon you when you least expect it. Be prepared when it does happen.

These are only a few of the strategies that we use to help our clients prevent relapse.

3 Stages of Recovery

There are three stages to recovery. It is not an exact science, and there are fluctuations in what you may experience compared to others in each stage, but it is a respected model of recovery. The three following stages are referred to as transition, early recovery, and ongoing recovery.

Transition Stage

This phase begins when you stop using and lasts for roughly 1-2 years. During this period, you are most concerned about drug cravings and not relapsing. The following can help you during this time:

  • Acceptance of the addiction
  • Practicing good coping skills
  • Taking time for yourself and practice self-care
  • Being honest and forthright with yourself
  • Not hanging out with people who use drugs
  • Learning how to handle post-acute withdrawal
  • Finding a healthy alternative to using

In most cases, this stage starts during detox and continues throughout residential treatment.

Early Recovery Stage

Lasting 2-3 years, this stage involves repairing the damage you have done to yourself due to substance abuse. It is not an easy task to relive some of the things you did to yourself and the fallout that you are still dealing with. During this period, you can focus on:

  • Realizing you and your addiction are separate entities
  • Repairing broken relationships
  • Achieving a balanced and healthy lifestyle
  • Challenging negative thinking with cognitive therapy
  • Prioritizing self-care
  • Becoming okay with the idea that it’s alright to be uncomfortable

Treatment during this stage is vital for long-term recovery, as this is where relapse prevention skills can be particularly beneficial.

Ongoing Recovery Stage

It begins 3-5 years after last use and is a plan for the rest of your life. Now, you can assess where you are and how you got here. You can also identify the triggers that led to addiction and deal with those traumas and past events. Ideas to keep in mind for ongoing recovery include:

  • Stay on the lookout for negative thinking, self-doubt, and criticism
  • Reevaluate frequently to keep your focus in the right direction
  • Make peace with the fact you may have inherited certain traits that predisposed you to addiction
  • Don’t be afraid to challenge your fears
  • Be there for others like they were there for you
  • Recognize that healthy boundaries are important

It’s best to complete this stage of recovery during an aftercare program. In doing so, you can remain steadfast in your recovery journey.

Reach Out to Ethan Crossing of Columbus Today

Most people undergoing treatment for addiction may experience the urge to use again. Relapse potential is high in every case during the first month of rehab. And for many people, that period will be much longer. A relapse prevention plan is critical in your recovery. Working with a therapist to devise a plan to keep you heading in the right direction makes you more likely to reach your goals. At Ethan Crossing of Columbus, we’re here for each client as we help them through their recovery journey. Contact us today at 855.476.0078 to learn more about our services.