Do you know about relapse prevention?
Most people don’t realize that a relapse starts weeks, even months before you start drinking alcohol again. There are a few signs that you are given to. However, since you’re not actively searching for them, most people don’t even notice them. This ends with a relapse, which is why I am writing about relapse prevention.
According to Gorski relapse prevention methods and studies, there are 3 different stages of relapse that you need to look for and know how to deal with:
#1: The Emotional Relapse:
When you’re on the emotional stage of relapse, you’re not even thinking about drinking alcohol. However, your behaviors and emotions are being set in place for
you to have a relapse. If you’re starting to notice that you just want to be alone, skipping meetings, are having problems dealing with anxiety, feeling more angry and intolerant, you need to watch out before it’s too late. When you notice you’re avoiding others, this is when you need to ask for help; when you’re feeling more anxious, try some meditation or any other relaxation technique that works well for you.
The faster you are reacting to these emotions, the better success you’ll have. If you just let go and run into a negative spiral, it will be much harder to get out of there. You’ll start feeling completely exhausted, and you’ll move to the mental relapse.
There are many relapse prevention strategies and one of the most important ones is to take good care of you. If you know what made you become an alcoholic in the first place, the feelings you had before and after drinking, you need to find ways to avoid them by replacing them with healthier ways.
#2: The Mental Relapse:
When you’re dealing with mental relapse, it’s when you start feeling like there are two different persons inside of you: one saying to don’t drink and another one urging you to take a drink to feel better. In a first stage, you’ll just imagine how it would be if you could have a drink. However, on a later stage, you’re already thinking about having one.
When you start glamorizing that you used to drink in the past, hanging out with old friends, thinking not only about relapsing itself but how it would be great if you had a drink, or simply thinking about the places and people of your past related to your drinking problem, you need to put the relapse prevention strategies at work. Either talking to your family or friends, therapist, counselor, or joining relapse prevention group activities. Some people even try to convince themselves that no one will notice if they just have a drink. The problem is that it will only be the first drink and everyone will notice the differences on you, on your behavior.
The sooner you act, the easier it will be to avoid a relapse.
#3: The Physical Relapse:
This is the last stage of the relapse: you simply ignored or weren’t aware of the previous stages and you just get in the car and drive to a liquor store. When you’re already on this stage, is very difficult to stop the relapse. This is why it’s so important to keep alert on all the warning signs and get help. From asking for someone, engaging in different activities, keeping both your body and mind healthy.
If your in the middle of a relapse or feel you want to, ask for help. You have already made it so far in your recovery that you shouldn’t give up on yourself now. Substance abuse treatment is only one piece to the puzzle and understanding your emotional barometer is key. Learning how to deal with life without drugs and alcohol are are something that comes from practice.