Completing a treatment program and maintaining sobriety is not easy, and it takes work. While in treatment, the person has learned essential techniques for managing risky behavior, coping skills, and other tools to live a successful life. However, the possibility of a relapse is real, whether someone has been sober for ten years, ten months, or ten days. A relapse is devastating for everyone involved and could be something minor or easily progress into dangerous addiction and drug-seeking behavior. Some families were successful in convincing their loved one to get help without intervention. Yet, if this individual has relapsed, they may feel the treatment is not worth it. It would be at this point where the family would have to perform a substance abuse intervention.
Staging a Substance Abuse Intervention After a Relapse
A relapse can do a couple of things to the person experiencing it—initially, they may lose confidence in the treatment and their ability to stay sober. Also, they may no longer trust those who tried to help them, such as their family. The family may have assured them that drug rehab is the best solution and will work. It could be at this point in the individual’s life where they justify using drugs again, but they have convinced themselves they cannot be helped. It is not uncommon for families to organize intervention after a relapse and even after treatment. It is important not to give up the hope that your loved one can become sober and maintain their sobriety.
The process of organizing the intervention for substance abuse is the same as any other, but the professional interventionist may help the family locate a drug rehab program. The most difficult aspect of the intervention is convincing the person to go back to treatment. There is some more planning involved with the family because the person will have more reasons why they refuse treatment. However, intervention is essential because the risk of overdose is greater after completing drug rehabilitation. The rehabilitation process does a complete detox, and the person becomes essentially drug-free. The body and the mind are not able to handle the same levels of substance abuse seen before treatment. Yet, someone who relapses often goes back to using the same amount of drugs or alcohol as they did before. More overdoses occur during a relapse because the tolerance for these substances is not the same.
How to Help Someone During a Relapse
A relapse does not happen at random, and it is a choice to revert to using drugs or alcohol again. However, there are indicators and behavioral changes that occur before the relapse happens. Most parents, family members, or friends will immediately pick up on the indicators because it was what they had seen before. Early substance use intervention could be an option, such as inviting open communication before the relapse occurs. This is a difficult time for everyone who was directly involved, and the person recovering from addiction is experiencing a range of emotions, such as hopelessness and frustration. They need a support system now more than ever to help them get back on track and recovery. Relapse is a temporary obstacle, but the person experiencing it may not necessarily see it that way.
Encourage them to stay connected with their peer support group, treatment center, or sober friends or acquaintances. Take advantage of sober activities to get them focused on the reasons they became drug-free yet be mindful of the possible triggers. If a relapse occurs, it does not mean they will never live a rewarding sober life, but they will need the support and help from the people around them. Drugs and alcohol are powerful substances and have a lure to them after not using them for months or years—which is why always working on sobriety is vital. There are points where the thought comes to what it would be like to use drugs or alcohol again. However, these thoughts diminish over time, being replaced with new goals and achievements in life. Getting to this point takes time, however, and that is what causes the frustration—it is a marathon and not a sprint.
Sober Activities to Brighten Recovery
Anyone who has overcome addiction knows their social lives have dramatically changed. Some of your friends may still spend time at a bar, or you may have had to separate yourself from people you know who are still using drugs. Whichever the situation is, filling your time with sober activities is not always easy, but there are fun options:
Exercise and or Join a Sports Team
The best way to enjoy life is to stay active and get a natural and healthy dopamine kick with exercise. Whether you join a gym, take up yoga, jogging, or hiking, anything to keep active and even enjoy the outdoors. Joining a sports team is an excellent opportunity to meet other people, especially if it is a sports team within a sober community. It is a great way to get exercise and stay active in the community.
Create and See the World
You do not have to be an artist to create, yet becoming sober means confronting an array of emotions that were repressed when using drugs or alcohol. Finding a healthy way to express those emotions is essential, and connecting with your creative side is a good way to accomplish this. Whether it is writing, woodworking, drawing, painting, gardening, or cooking, these are all healthy outlets. If you are struggling to find ways to be creative, see the world, and travel—this does not mean you need to be an international traveler. There countless places to explore in your back yard, whether going on a road trip or long walks.
Volunteer and Give Back to your Community
There is nothing more fulfilling and satisfying than helping others and giving back. It stimulates a part of the brain that was never used when using drugs or alcohol—thinking of others instead of yourself. It is also a great way to get out of the house, meet new people, and give back to your community. Much like taking a course or going back to school, the options are infinite, and there are countless causes and organizations that need good people that want to help.