What Is the Relapse Prevention Program at First Steps Recovery?

What Is the Relapse Prevention Program at First Steps Recovery?

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

After ending treatment, clients are often overwhelmed by the idea of relapsing. It is important to remember that recovery is non-linear and every person’s recovery path is unique. Even in the event of a relapse, clients can reach out to a support system or team members from a treatment center to get back on the path to sobriety. However, before a relapse happens, there are steps a person can take to prevent it. There are many strategies involved in a comprehensive relapse prevention program.

At First Steps Recovery, a relapse prevention program is offered to clients post-treatment. Clients who feel like they are at risk of relapse are often advised to take part in this program. The long-term goal of recovery is sobriety, and the relapse prevention program at First Steps Recovery helps guide clients toward this goal.

Addiction Is Unique for Each Client

Addiction is a unique and complex disease that affects each client differently. Many unique factors go into one’s addiction, including biological, environmental, and developmental factors. Detrimental effects on brain circuits that control reward, stress, and self-control can last a long time even after drug use ends.

Self-control is a major aspect of addiction that tends to be impaired. Other factors that play into this are judgment, decision-making, learning and memory, and behavioral control. These aspects of a person are all impacted by addiction. During treatment, clients remove their physical dependency on substances and work toward achieving independence from the need for substances. However, because addiction is so complex and every client is unique, self-control can still be lacking after treatment.

This is why relapse prevention programs and staying in touch with team members from treatment centers are crucial in maintaining sobriety. Relapse is also something not to feel guilty or shameful about. Recovery is not linear, and everyone’s journey is unique.

What Is Relapsing?

Relapsing occurs when an individual uses substances or alcohol again after a period of sobriety in recovery. Many underlying factors contribute to relapse, all of which are unique for each client. For instance, sometimes clients feel that the effort required for recovery is not worth the outcome. This mindset places them at risk of relapse. Feelings of guilt, shame, anxiety, embarrassment, deprivation, or victimization can lead to a relapse as well.

When clients know there is a quick way to relieve themselves of pressure, stress, or unwanted feelings, they often feel tempted to turn to that. In a weak moment, they succumb to their craving sensations, which leads to relapse and potentially to another addiction.

To avoid relapse, it is important to understand the process of relapse, including how thinking and behavior are affected by an instance of relapse. This education helps a person have a better chance at maintaining control over themselves. Knowing one’s warning signs can help clients know when to reach out and seek further treatment or aid. The relapse prevention program at First Steps Recovery is always available to clients who feel they are at risk of relapsing.

What Is the Relapse Prevention Program at First Steps Recovery?

Relapse prevention is a strategy used to reduce the likelihood or severity of relapse. There are two overarching goals of relapse prevention. These are maintaining abstinence or harm reduction treatment goals, and providing management if relapse occurs in order to prevent future instances. Clients are encouraged to take advantage of these services.

At First Steps Recovery, relapse prevention is a major focus of the treatment process. Most clients return to substances due to stress or anxiety, which they feel the need to quell with substances. Often these more emotional situations put clients higher at risk of relapse. First Steps Recovery helps clients develop healthy coping mechanisms to deal with feelings of mental and physical exhaustion, overexertion, complacency, anxiety, self-pity or victimization, agitation, or aggression.

The staff at First Steps Recovery also encourages clients to understand that people make mistakes and that this is okay. Rather than believing relapse is the end of the recovery journey and one is “un-fixable,” clients are encouraged to recognize that recovery is a process with ups and downs. Even so, achieving long-lasting sobriety is possible. A relapse is considered a “slip,” not a downfall and end-stop to recovery. Clients are reminded that a slip still means they can recover, pick themselves back up, find support, and achieve their long-term goals.

More Support From First Steps Recovery

At First Steps Recovery, we believe in community-based recovery. We prioritize staying in touch with clients beyond their time at the facility and helping them achieve their long-term goals. When teaching clients about relapse prevention in treatment, we encourage them to reach out to team members if they feel they are at risk of relapsing post-treatment. Having this support system is crucial for recovery. It reminds clients that they are not alone and that their recovery and sobriety matter.

Here at First Steps Recovery, we teach clients about relapse prevention while in treatment. Relapsing is often considered to be a failure or end-stop to the recovery journey. However, this is not true. Each client has a different journey in recovery, and no path to sobriety is linear. We teach clients to be aware of their warning signs, which are often emotionally based. Clients know they should reach out to team members if they feel they are at risk of relapsing. As clients become more in tune with their emotions and thoughts, they better understand their relapse risk factors. To learn more about the relapse prevention program at First Steps Recovery, please call us at (844) 489-0836.

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