There are a number of objectives to consider when entering an inpatient or outpatient drug rehab center. Upon initial intake the immediate goal is to of course free the patient from their dependence on drugs or alcohol, but what about the long term goal? What can a treatment do in order to best ensure long term success in sobriety? This is where the process of relapse prevention becomes so critically important.
When a client first enters treatment there is usually an overwhelming need to gain some semblance of immediate stability, which often entails a brief period of detox. However, as time goes and as the patient begins to feel better and enter stable ground, there emerges a phase of treatment called relapse prevention. This is essentially where the foundation for longevity in recovery is created and built upon.
The relapse prevention process helps the newly sober addict or alcoholic identify the many triggers and slippery slopes often present while in a life of sobriety. Examples of triggers and slippery slopes can often include any variation of the following components:
- Prioritizing other things over recovery (i.e., relationships, work, school, etc.)
- Engaging in old or unhealthy social circles, or with people still actively drinking or using drugs
- Becoming distant from healthy and supportive relationships
- Allowing oneself to be overtaken by unhealthy emotions
- Abruptly discontinuing supportive elements such as therapy, outpatient treatment, 12-Step meetings, working with a sponsor, medication management, etc.
- Engaging is dishonest or deceitful behavior
- Testing oneself by opting to be in questionable or unhealthy environments (i.e., bars, the dealers house, with old using friends, etc.)
When Relapse Prevention Works Best
It is taught early on in the recovery process that sobriety does not exempt you from the rigors of daily living. In fact, sobriety means that one must now learn to deal life’s ups and downs while not running for immediate relief when things get difficult. This is where the power of an effective relapse prevention program truly comes into play, and an effective approach in this regard will mean that the client has had ample time to learn about and identify potentially dangerous situations. More importantly, he or she will have had sufficient practice in taking proactive relapse prevention measures by the time they complete the treatment process.
Vantage Point Treatment is all about equipping the client with a broad set of tools aimed at ensuring long term success in recovery. We initially begin from a wide scope and then target in on the patient’s specific life issues and realities. While many relapse prevention tools are applicable across the board, each person has unique situations in which to contend with, therefore we employ a very fluid relapse prevention approach, and one that is able to be customized around the needs of the individual.
A successful and effective treatment program must prepare the patient for life, and more so for the bad days than the good. Here at Vantage Point we view relapse prevention as a critical and integral part of the overall recovery process, and we use every possible tool so that the patient will return as an alumnus rather than a patient!
For more information on Vantage Point or any of our relapse prevention services please contact us 7 days a week at (805) 777-7595.