Substance Abuse Relapse
Do You Ever Feel Like You’ll Continue To Relapse Forever?
Are you struggling to overcome an addiction? Do you feel frustrated by how easy it is to access drugs or alcohol and fall back into your habit? Maybe you thought you overcame your addiction, but suddenly you find yourself back to square one. Perhaps you’re afraid of going through withdrawal, so you started using again to avoid the painful effects. Frustrated with yourself, you may ask: Will I just continue to relapse forever? Is there any hope for me?
When you’re trying to beat an addiction, every little thing can seem like a trigger. Passing a liquor store or being around people who take drugs can set off an intense emotional craving. The feeling starts in the body—perhaps you start sweating or your mouth begins to water—and the next thing you know you’re buying another drink or getting high again. As much as you want to quit, there are days when it probably just seems impossible.
Your addiction may have started as a way of coping with grief, job loss, or chronic pain, but now you find yourself using for its own sake. Perhaps you just don’t have any other means of dealing with your suffering—substance use seems like the only option.
No matter how stuck you feel, we are confident that we can help you. Whether you want individual or group therapy, SMPsychotherapy & Counseling is committed to equipping
Relapse Is A Normal, Expected Part Of The Journey To Recovery
Roughly 85 percent of people who struggle with addiction will relapse within a year of getting treatment¹. Put simply, relapse is a natural, expected chapter in any story of addiction recovery—you’d be hard-pressed to find any former addict who didn’t relapse at some point on their journey.
What’s more, a staggering 90 percent of users began their habit in their teen years². They continue to relapse in adulthood because the addiction is all they’ve ever known. And since the typical relapse prevention program is too expensive for most people, many people simply don’t have the resources or support necessary to stop.
Additionally, part of why relapses are so common has to do with how casually our culture views certain addictions. After all, many people don’t see alcoholism as an issue. Because drinking is so socially acceptable, most alcohol addicts tell themselves that they don’t have a problem. Their friends, too, may turn the other cheek because of how normalized drinking is. This isn’t usually the case with drugs, which our society has stigmatized and which people are less likely to view in such a casual light.
All addictions are serious, whether they relate to drugs, alcohol, sex, or screen usage. These activities may be harmless in and of themselves, but when they start to consume your life, that’s a sign that you may need help. Our goal is to equip you with skills to counteract your addiction so that you can regulate your cravings, avoid relapsing, and experience greater peace of mind.
Relapse Prevention Can Help You Overcome Substance Abuse And Find Fulfillment In Other Ways
The options for relapse prevention are usually few and far between. Most detox and recovery programs are highly expensive, only take certain insurance plans, and require daily participation. There isn’t much flexibility, making the average 30-day program incompatible with how busy most people’s lives are. That’s why we’re here. Relapse prevention treatment is a cheaper, more flexible way to find support for your addiction. We aim to go at your own pace, accommodate your schedule, and make counseling as accessible as possible for you.
During the intake process, our goal is to get to know you better and establish an atmosphere of safety, comfort, and privacy. We know addiction is hard to talk about, so there is no rush to open up right away. The first few sessions are mainly a time to figure out what kind of treatment plan you’d like. In addition to pursuing individual counseling, you are welcome to participate in group therapy for relapse prevention. Group therapy provides a way to find common ground with like-minded people who share the same struggles as you. It’s a way to find out, firsthand, that you are not alone.
Regardless of what path you choose, our goal is to help you explore your triggers, control your cravings, and understand the risk factors that make you susceptible to relapse. For example, maybe you’re more tempted to fall back into your habit if you isolate, skip group therapy sessions, or find yourself in certain social gatherings. Knowing your individual warning signs can help you think more decisively and clearheadedly when opportunities for relapse present themselves.
After identifying your risk factors, we want to brainstorm alternative strategies for managing your triggers and cravings. Oftentimes, this means helping you establish more appropriate boundaries in your life, such as helping you say “no” if you feel pressured to use substances. It also means helping you come up with activities that you can use to find fulfillment instead of turning to your habit. After all, you know yourself best. Whether you benefit from exercise, art, or spending time in nature, we want you to use your passions and interests as coping skills for relapse prevention.
One of the main approaches we draw from is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). At its core, the goal of CBT is to identify the thought processes that lead you to relapse (e.g., “I can have one drink and I’ll be fine”) and replace them with healthier, more nurturing responses to your impulses. By making connections between your thoughts and behavior, you can also enhance your self-understanding and self-compassion.
Wherever you are in your journey of overcoming addiction, we encourage you to be kind to yourself. Relapse is just part of the recovery process. It does not mean you are a failure. When you relapse, it’s an opportunity to step back, identify your personal warning signs, and reevaluate what you can do next time to be more prepared. Here at SMPsychotherapy & Counseling, that’s what we’re here to help you do. No one can fight an addiction alone. But with the right care and support, you can learn to manage your compulsive behavior and find fulfillment in healthier ways.
You may have some concerns about relapse prevention for substance abuse and addiction…
How long will relapse prevention therapy take?
Recovery takes time. Rather than thinking of it as a journey with a definite beginning and end, we encourage you to think of recovery as a lifelong process of growth. After all, your triggers may never disappear entirely, but if you know your warning signs and you have the right coping skills, you will be more equipped to avoid relapses in the future. The goal is to provide long-term healing and growth so that you are eventually able to navigate addiction without therapy.
I don’t struggle with drug addiction, so why should I be in a group with people who are?
Whether your addiction is related to alcohol, sex, shopping, or screen usage, you still have to deal with the same temptation to relapse that people with a drug addiction would. Besides, the treatment plan we use is the same for everyone seeking relapse prevention. Through group therapy, we are confident that you will come to feel validated in how well other people with different struggles can relate to your experience.
I’ll always be surrounded by triggers, so why should I even go to counseling?
Yes, as long as there are liquor stores, drugs, and computer screens, there will always be triggers. Our goal is not to erase the possibility of relapsing itself, but to minimize the risk of it and help you be more prepared when the temptation arises. There is a wisdom that comes from accepting that triggers exist and adjusting to them so that you have strategies for regulating your need to use.
Every Relapse Is A Chance To Learn, Grow, And Strengthen Your Game Plan
It’s easy to be hard on yourself when you relapse, but we encourage you to take heart. By knowing your warning signs and having the right coping skills at hand, you can turn every opportunity for relapse into a chance for growth. To schedule for our relapse prevention program, you can email us or call us at 203-800-9778.
Right now, because of COVID-19, all our relapse prevention therapy sessions are held via phone or online.