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What Are Relapse Prevention Skills?

Staying sober is not the same as getting sober. When you get sober, you put down the drugs and alcohol and begin the work of learning how to live without using. Staying sober is about using the skills you learned on an ongoing basis. While your friends and family may be thrilled when you’re first getting sober, they likely won’t continue to celebrate your sobriety every day that you stay sober for the rest of your life. Instead, you have to make your sobriety a part of your identity, which means having relapse prevention skills in your toolkit. At Aspire Treatment, we know that staying sober takes practice. Our programs equip you with skills that you’ll have long after treatment is over. 

Drug and Alcohol Relapse Defined

Relapse is simply the return to using drugs and alcohol. And while relapse in recovery is common, it’s not a requirement. Most addicts and alcoholics report that relapses begin long before a drink or a drug is picked up, highlighting the importance of relapse prevention skills. Researchers found that relapse is divided into three stages: emotional, mental, and physical.  During the emotional stage, you may isolate yourself from others, stop going to meetings, and stop caring for yourself. You may not even think about using it at this stage. However, when you reach the mental stage, you may find yourself looking for opportunities to relapse, experiencing cravings, and glamorizing your past use. The mental stage is where the battle is fought, and it requires a toolkit filled with relapse prevention skills. If you cannot fight through this stage, you may find yourself picking drugs and alcohol back up. Still, it’s essential to know that picking back up does not mean that the war is over. Relapse does not have to be a life sentence. You just have to reach back out for help and begin again. 

Relapse Prevention Skills I Can Learn at Rehab

While you are at rehab, you will likely attend individual and group therapy, skills groups, and other activities. While it may not seem like it while you are in rehab, all of these activities and treatments aim to arm you with a toolbox filled with relapse prevention skills. Therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) help you to identify negative thoughts, feelings, and patterns so that you can make changes to how you respond to stressful situations and other triggers. Simply having an awareness of how you are feeling can help you to head off a relapse. Skills groups that focus on your health and wellness enable you to care for your body, ultimately supporting your life in recovery. While it may seem silly in the early stages of sobriety, you will likely come to rely on things such as movement, meditation, and mindfulness as strategies to stay sober. Instead of reaching for a drink or a drug, you’ll find yourself going for a walk, taking a yoga class, or engaging in some breathwork. One of the most important aspects of rehab is learning the importance of connecting with others. Just by attending rehab, you will start to form a support network of others you can reach out to when you are in danger of relapsing. Rehab offers you the opportunity to explore different relapse prevention skills so that you can identify the ones that will work best for you. 

Get Help at Aspire Treatment With a Drug or Alcohol Addiction Today

Located in Atlanta,  Aspire Treatment has various programs to help you break the hold of addiction and create new, positive recovery connections. Our programs range from partial hospitalization to outpatient counseling. We will assist you in building tools for today and the future.  We will help you build the foundation for a life in long-term recovery. Knowing that each person’s recovery journey is unique, we will work with you to create a treatment plan that meets you where you are. We are committed to helping you forge a recovery path that works for you.  Connect with us today to see how we can best support your success in recovery. 

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