Friday, June 8, 2012

Relapse Prevention

The Coleman Institute is a detox facility that has been around for a number of years.  The goal of the institute is to use a combination of methods to detox the addict, or those dealing with drug addiction. Once the addict is sober, they need to stay in recovery.  As most everyone knows, this is often a challenge. This is especially true for addicts that are returning to their old community, or place of residence. Triggers abound everywhere for a former drug user. Even awareness of these triggers do not always curb the addicts desire to use.  Triggers work in an unconscious way to trigger the brain to use again.

Most people remember the experiment with Pavlov's dog in which even though the particular food that started the animals salivation was taken away, the bell that always sounded when the food was served served as a trigger for the dog's salivating.  The dog paired the bell stimuli with the food.
Addicts brains work in much the same way.  Sounds, music like you used get to get high to, smells, places, all work to unconsciously trigger the desire to use.  It is critical for addicts to avoid these triggers as much as possible, especially for addicts that are returning to the same surroundings.

A support system is critical for you to maintain sobriety.  Whether you, the addict, attends AA, NA or just has a strong network of friends and family helping to maintain sobriety, making use of these resources is critical.  In addition, you should maintain a daily journal, and be aware of when bad feelings may cause a desire to use.  You have to have all new coping mechanisms in place.  Maybe physical exercise is the key for you, perhaps devoting time to a new and interesting hobby may be a method of coping without turning to drugs.  It is critical for you to distract yourself when the urge to use presents itself, as it almost certainly will.  Relapse prevention is not just one decsion but a series of decsions to keep clean and sober.

Addicts need to plan for relapse prevention while they are still in treatment.  They may do well in treatment, only to be faced with a whole new set of circumstances out in the world.  They need to anticipate what set of circumstances will be difficult for them, and how they will cope.

That is why it is critical to discover what they are like sober, what they like to do, what is helpful for them; so that when they are faced with difficult circumstances out in the world, they can react to them appropriately, and not give in to the desire to use.  Remember that how you cope with your triggers is up to you.  At times the urge to use again may be overwhelming; particularly if you are tired, stressed and overwhelmed.  You will have to make sure that you have adequate coping strategies in place to cope with these strong urges to use again.

If you or someone you love is in need of help detoxing off of Methadone, Suboxone, opiates, benzos or alcohol, please don't hesitate to call Jennifer Pius at 1.877.77.DETOX (33869).  Remember, relapse prevention is possible!!!

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