The journey to sobriety may include a few bumps in the road. Relapse is the most common obstacle along this path. For some, a relapse could mean more years of suffering, which is why it’s vital to learn alcohol relapse prevention techniques during recovery.
Some people who aren’t struggling with addictions might find it hard to understand why individuals return to using when they’re getting their lives back. However, understanding the stages of relapse can go a long way in providing clarity.
A return to that first sip of alcohol doesn’t happen overnight. In many cases, relapse begins weeks or months before this physical event. Many individuals go through an emotional relapse and mental relapse first.
Although some emotions and behaviors set individuals up for a possible relapse, at this point they’re not actively thinking about drinking. Some emotional signs of relapse include:
- Mood swings
- Not going to 12-step meetings
- Poor sleeping and eating habits
During this stage, the mind is at war between drinking alcohol again and avoiding it at all costs. Thoughts build to remembering the places, people, and situations that led to drinking.
Mental relapse continues when an individual glamorizes their experiences. They may begin lying to loved ones. Some may also begin planning to drink around their loved one’s schedules to hide their relapse.
The deeper the thoughts, the harder it gets to make the right choices. Alcohol addiction’s pull is strong. Physical relapse is inevitable if the individual doesn’t use the techniques they learned during rehab.
At this point, stopping relapse from occurring is difficult. Recognizing early warning signs is helpful to avoid going back to abusing alcohol.
Alcohol Relapse Prevention for the Emotional Stage
Alcohol relapse usually begins with behavioral changes. During this stage, it’s important to recognize anxiousness and to start practicing relaxation techniques.
An individual attempting to overcome an alcohol addiction should ask for help. Otherwise, feelings of isolation will dominate. Not changing these early behavioral patterns can lead to exhaustion while opening the door to the mental relapse phase.
Practicing self-care is equally important to avoid reverting to poor sleeping and eating habits. Creating emotionally and mentally draining situations can lead to relapse. An individual should remind themselves of why they chose to use, which is often a way of escape or reward. Self-care allows them to avoid these growing feelings in order to steer clear of relapse.
Alcohol Relapse Prevention Techniques for Mental Urges
When individuals think about using, they get caught in the fantasy of being able to control how much they drink. They tell themselves that they will only have one drink. However, that first drink usually leads to one more drink after the other. Next, they convince themselves that no one will know that they are drinking again.
Telling someone about urges before taking that first drink can help individuals avoid damaging consequences. Calling a friend, a supportive professional, or someone else in recovery is a good way to share what they’re going through. Openly talking about feelings and thoughts can make those urges begin to disappear.
The best way to approach recovery is to take it one day at a time. Thinking about staying abstinent forever can be paralyzing. That pattern can be overwhelming, even for individuals who have been in recovery for many years. Avoiding isolation and seeking help from a trusted confidant helps to work through those urges.
Alcohol Relapse Prevention by Removing Distractions
Located in California, Serenity Lodge is a gender-responsive drug rehab center that offers a safe place to undergo addiction therapy and learn coping strategies to deal with relapse triggers.
We offer several amenities to encourage sobriety such as:
- Fitness therapy
- Movie theatre
- Professional recording studio
- Meditation therapy
- Massage therapy
If you or your loved one is thinking about drinking again, don’t wait for a relapse. Call Serenity Lodge now at 866-379-4365.