The reality of addiction relapse after primary treatment
For those living in recovery, the biggest challenge they face after rehab is avoiding relapse. If you’ve attended primary addiction treatment, you’ll know that a key focus of the programme teaches you the coping skills to manage the pressures of day-to-day life when you return to home. The reason for this is that it isn’t an easy transition from the sheltered environment of rehab back to the world outside. Many people find it difficult to contend with this return to freedom, faced with the same potential triggers from their old life of addiction.
Why does relapse happen?
There are various reasons why people can end up relapsing after initial addiction treatment. These include:
- Not being adequately prepared for going back home after their stay in rehab
- A lack of follow-up treatment or aftercare, which supports their ongoing efforts to maintain recovery
- Struggling with the idea of lifelong abstinence from drink or drugs, perhaps feeling that the initial period of recovery was enough to avoid the long-term dangers of these substances on their health
- Only entering primary care in order to make loved ones happy, and struggling to uphold that commitment after returning home
- Having unrealistic expectations around how effective rehab is in the long-term, resulting in feelings of failure for experiencing the same temptations after being discharged
- Substituting addictions to substances for other unhealthy habits, such as overworking or excessive exercising – with the new pressures they then bring leading to relapse
- Experiencing loneliness when having to avoid social situations involving drinking, perhaps losing contact with certain friends
How can I avoid relapse after rehab?
Secondary care can help you to maintain sobriety by bridging the gap between rehab and your new life of abstinence. Approaching a future without alcohol or drug dependence won’t seem as scary once you have a better knowledge of how to approach potential pitfalls.
With practical support, secondary care shows you how to work relapse prevention techniques into your everyday routine. This lets you prepare for what lies ahead, feeling less daunted by your next steps, which would otherwise hold so many unknowns. You’ll also gain professional support with creating a life plan so that you can confidently move forward with regaining your independence. Reintegrating with the people around you is a huge part of your recovery journey, so this is given a lot of focus too, with family therapy and visits allowed towards the end of your programme.