5 Important Factors in Preventing Relapse

5 things to know about preventing relapse

The addiction recovery process is hard work. It involves the acceptance of a problem, the request for assistance, and the constant work to maintain the recovery. Although all parts of the recovery process are difficult, the most trying part for many is maintaining recovery. The struggle with preventing relapse is often caused by the inability to recognize triggers and plan for them, reducing their chances of lifelong recovery. It is important to develop a plan and to be aware of the common causes of relapse and specific triggers for you. .

Change your lifestyle

Perhaps one of the biggest causes of relapse is peer pressure or the desire to “go back to normal”. When you accept a lifestyle of sobriety, it is important to understand that some things in your life are likely to change. You may not be able to be around your previous friends for a while, especially if they are not clean from drugs and alcohol. You may not be able to frequent places you once did, such as bars or friend’s houses.

According to the World of Psychology (2013), it can be particularly dangerous to expose yourself to these environments, especially early in the recovery process. In many cases, the temptations may be high, and may be enough to cause a relapse. Avoid any of these temptations by spending time with sober friends and trying new hobbies to engage in.

Know your boundaries

It can also be helpful to evaluate and list your boundaries. Consider the parts of recovery that are the most difficult to you. Do you struggle with an ex who is a bad influence on you? Do you work in an environment that is surrounded by drugs and alcohol? Evaluating and listing these concerns prior to dealing with them can be beneficial. Attempt to come up with alternative steps in dealing with them.

This may be a part of your treatment process. However, this list is likely to constantly change. You may find that you are regularly updating your struggles, depending where you are in the recovery process. You will also probably find that you are able to cross off previous struggles as you further your recovery. Knowing these new struggles can help you prepare for them, including finding ways to successfully get through them.

Keep going to counseling

Recovery is a process. It is never completely finished. You may go for many years with minimal struggles, and find that one event tempts you and threatens your sobriety. The only way to constantly evaluate and monitor these situations is with regular counseling. Counseling can also identify tricky situations, before you are too deep in them. You may find that your counseling sessions are needed less frequently, however, consider continuing them. According to The Huffington Post, 8 Ways to Prevent Relapse (2013),group counseling sessions can also be effective. Most group counseling members are at different points in the recovery process and can offer valuable feedback to members in the different steps.

Counseling can also help you develop necessary coping strategies. A large number of people turn to drugs or alcohol to handle extreme emotions. Now that you are sober, you will have to handle these emotions without masking them. The counseling process can make them easier to handle and can provide a necessary outlet for working through them. These coping mechanisms will be important in later struggles you come across.

Designate a trusted contact person

You will have difficult times during recovery. This is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of being human. Recovery is a huge process and it takes a lot of work, even after treatment has occurred. Most treatment center participants find it especially helpful to designate at least one person as their “go-to person”. This is the person they can call on when times are tough and temptation is high. We recommend it be someone who has been in recovery much longer than you, someone who has been through some of the same situations, and who is familiar with the obstacles you have faced and will face.

For some people, this may be a loved one, for others, it might be a member of their counseling group or a sponsor. It is important to choose your trusted person carefully, as they will be responsible for talking you down during the tough times. It should also be a person that you can count on to always be available to you. You may even find that others ask you to be their “go-to person” after years of recovery. Consider your ability and your progress before agreeing to such a commitment.

Know when you need additional help

You are likely to feel alone at times. Although this is not a problem in itself, it can be problematic if you are unable to recognize these times of struggle. The ability to recognize when you are struggling allows you to contact your trusted person or sponsor, schedule an additional counseling session, or engage in calming techniques (such as mindfulness techniques) that do not involve drugs or alcohol. Having the ability to identify these periods of loneliness can help the recovery process and is an important step in a full recovery.

It is also likely that the drug treatment center provided you with valuable information and coping techniques. There is nothing wrong with deciding to enroll in a drug treatment center again. You will find that you work on different issues and that you are better able to focus on learning these important coping mechanisms when the primary concern is not your withdrawal.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction or the recovery process, contact The Outpatient Treatment Center today at (844)211-7944. You will be met with a confidential consultant who is available 24 hours a day.

References:
https://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/07/18/5-ways-to-avoid-addiction-relapse/
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-howard-samuels/relapse-prevention_b_3326444.html

5 Reasons Your Should Participate in Outpatient an Program

Why Attend an Outpatient Treatment Program

5 Reasons to Participate in an Outpatient Treatment Program

Addiction recovery is a lifelong process. It is well-known that the longer a person spends in some type of support program, the better his or her chances are of maintaining long-term sobriety. During residential or inpatient treatment, you learn many useful tools for staying sober. In outpatient treatment, you have the opportunity to hone these tools and develop a strong foundation for a life in recovery.  Alcoholism and drug addiction do not develop overnight; thus, it takes time to recover and re-train the brain. An outpatient treatment program offers the support and treatment you need when you are starting out on your recovery journey.

There are many types of outpatient treatment programs to choose from based on your personal needs and recovery goals. For instance, you could attend a partial-hospitalization program, which is more intensive, or you could participate in a weekly outpatient recovery group. Outpatient programs are a great resource for those in early sobriety.

The following are five major reasons to attend an outpatient treatment program:

1) Ease the Transition

If you are transitioning out of a residential treatment program into a sober living home, it can be helpful to have additional support to ease this transition. Outpatient treatment or continuing care is an effective way to prevent relapse after inpatient treatment.

2) Flexible Scheduling

If you have a job or family commitments, an outpatient treatment program will typically fit into your schedule. If you’re returning to work after attending a residential program, an outpatient program will give you the extra support you need to maintain sobriety while returning to your everyday duties and tasks.

3) Case Management Benefits

At The Treatment Center Outpatient Services, we have excellent case managers who provide assistance to patients who need help getting back on their feet. Our case managers can help you find a job, housing, medical resources, and with any other goals you may wish to achieve now that you are sober.

4) Peer and Professional Support

In outpatient treatment, you can benefit from all of the resources we provide at our inpatient program. You can receive peer and professional support to help you stay sober as you transition from around-the-clock care to living life on your own. Having a solid support system is crucial to maintaining sobriety in early recovery.

5) Unique Specialty Tracks

At The Treatment Center Outpatient Services, we offer a variety of specialty tracks to best suit the needs of each patient. While you meet with a primary therapist, you can also benefit from groups and tracks that focus on your specific needs such as our advanced recovery track, pain management track and creative arts track.

Attending an outpatient treatment program can help you build a strong foundation for your recovery. By participating in an outpatient treatment program, you improve your chances of maintaining sobriety. For more information on how The Treatment Center Outpatient Services can help you or your loved one, call (844)211-7944.

Intensive Outpatient Program: 4 Benefits of Attending an IOP

4 benefits of iop

4 Benefits of Attending an Intensive Outpatient Program

Although it is possible to recover from drugs and alcohol with inpatient treatment alone, adding an intensive outpatient program (IOP) to your aftercare plan can help you build a stronger foundation for your recovery.

Generally, an IOP requires patients to attend three-hour group therapy sessions, three to five days a week. With a strong commitment and an open mind, an IOP can benefit you in a number of fantastic ways—not just in recovery, but in life in general.

Here are four benefits of attending an IOP after inpatient rehab that you may not have discovered yet:

1. Learn how to overcome everyday obstacles

In group therapy sessions, you will learn a number of skills designed to keep obstacles from standing in your way. For example, learning to communicate better can help you survive social settings without feeling the need to abuse drugs or alcohol. Many IOP groups also discuss ways to cope with cravings and the daily demands of professional and family life in healthy and productive ways.

Ultimately, intensive outpatient rehab can equip you with the tools you need to face the toughest days, so you can focus more on your goals and less on your troubles.

2. Enjoy the same services you did in a residential treatment center

You may be worried that some of the services that were offered as a part of your residential treatment plan won’t be offered in outpatient rehab. However, many IOPs actually offer most of the same services as inpatient programs, such as group therapy, individual counseling, massage therapy, and acupuncture. That way, you can start transitioning back to your personal and work life while still receiving professional care.

3. Improve your chances of recovery

Many people find that when they complete their inpatient treatment plan, they aren’t quite ready to stop therapy altogether. If you feel this way, enrolling in an IOP can be an excellent way to extend your treatment and get the added support you need to thrive in recovery.

The support network of professionals and peers that you gain from outpatient treatment can help you stay accountable, therefore, improving your chances of achieving long-term sobriety.

4. Become a better problem-solver

Being in an IOP can help you observe your behaviors from a different perspective than when you were at a treatment facility. For example, when you were in rehab, you probably had to rely mostly on your memory to discuss the areas you wanted to work on with your therapist.

On the other hand, in outpatient therapy you can discuss life events as they happen, allowing you to solve issues as they arise. Ideally, handling your problems in a healthy way will become second nature as you continue to work with your therapist.

Looking for More Info?

Are you still curious about the benefits of an intensive outpatient program? Contact an accredited outpatient facility today to learn more about how IOP can help you in your recovery.

Three Triggers and How to Avoid Them in Early Recovery

Early recovery is an extremely crucial time for those trying to readjust to life after treatment. While early recovery is an opportunity to begin a new chapter in one’s life and reconnect with loved ones, it’s important to be aware of triggers in order to prevent relapse.

Often, set and setting are huge factors in a person’s decision to drink or use drugs again, which is why it’s so important to avoid them in early recovery.

The Most Common Triggers to Avoid

If you or someone you know is in early recovery, below are some of the drug and alcohol triggers you should be aware of:

Overconfidence

After receiving drug and alcohol treatment, there’s a tendency to feel as though you’ve been “cured” from addiction. You may have felt so horrible before treatment, but now you feel so good that you trick yourself into believing your problems are all over. You may even believe you don’t need any continuing treatment, but this is far from the truth.

Ways to avoid it: It’s important to remember that addiction recovery is a lifelong journey. Recovery is a process and many people continue their care through outpatient treatment, whether it’s through cognitive behavioral therapy, group counseling, meditation, or other holistic therapies, and journal writing.

Writing in a recovery journal about your progress and/or difficulties daily is a good way to identify your own behaviors and thought processes. Sharing this with your sponsor or therapist can provide you with a realistic perspective on your progress throughout recovery.

Emotional Issues

Family, social and work pressures can make it difficult to control negative emotions and avoid personal conflicts. De-regulation of emotions are the most common triggers for relapse such as: feelings of self-pity, fear, depression, anxiety, hunger, anger, loneliness, and tiredness.

Ways to avoid it: Attending ongoing individual therapy and group meetings are the best way to open up and become more transparent about what’s going on in your life. Regularly attending group meetings, whether it’s family therapy, AA or NA meetings, will help you better understand the process of recovery and how you can develop healthy coping mechanisms.

Re-Exposure

Sometimes going back to the same places can remind you of certain events or circumstances that can trigger relapse. Whether it’s meeting up with people from the past or attending a bar, club, or social scene like a music festival, these environments can be very risky to someone in early recovery.

Ways to avoid it: Engaging in new activities and hobbies are the best ways to avoid compromising environments. Find new friends to hang out with who support the recovery community or maybe fellow alumni. You’ll find that changing your social setting, your circle of friends, exercising and eating healthier, will help you enjoy a healthy lifestyle clean and sober.

Another great way to avoid triggers is to write down your goals and show it to a trusted family member, friend, sponsor and/or therapist. Showing someone your goals and having a realistic plan of action to do them makes you more likely to achieve them.

Start a New Lifelong Journey

There are different stages to recovery and each person adjusts in their own way. As you grow through the process, you’ll learn more about yourself, how to avoid triggers and how to live in the present moment while achieving your goals.

 

Acupuncture: Healing Addiction and Chronic Pain | Outpatient Services

Acupuncture, A way to heal

Acupuncture is a practice that originated from ancient Chinese medicine. The practice didn’t reach the West until the 19th century. However, it didn’t become popular in the United States until the early 1970s, shortly after President Nixon received acupuncture after visiting China.

Today, several studies have shown that acupuncture improves health through reducing pain, anxiety, and improving memory. Whether you’re suffering from pain, the side effects from long-term opiate abuse or other mental health problems, acupuncture can be beneficial.

So how can placing small needles on your body improve your health?

How It Works

It’s all in the Qi. Qi, also known as “chi”, is your body’s natural energy. In Traditional Chinese medicine, Qi regulates the energy force in the body. If you think of the body as a pathway, Qi helps to direct the flow of energy throughout the body through pathways known as meridians.

However, when your body gets stressed due to injury, poor nutrition or physical changes in the environment, this can block your “chi” and disrupt the energy flow throughout the body. A board-certified acupuncturist will use the following techniques to restore your energy:

• Insert sterile, tiny needles a half millimeter away from the nerve.
• The acupuncture points will cause the nervous system to generate chemicals that reduce tension and kill pain in the targeted area.
• After 20-30 minutes, the procedure will reinvigorate the body’s natural healing process.

Acupuncture is not a one-time procedure. To help your body get the most out of acupuncture, it helps to receive treatment multiple times or weekly. Most people receive up to 12 30-minute sessions over a span of a few weeks.

Is Acupuncture Right For Me?

Pain Relief

It’s common for people who have abused opiates (painkillers) in the past to have issues with chronic pain. Once they detox from opiates, pain can still persist long after use. If you’ve struggled with substance abuse, especially opiate addiction, acupuncture can help to reduce pain.

According to a study in the North Carolina Medical Journal, acupuncture works to reduce symptoms from opiate abuse such as pain, nausea, dizziness, sedation, and other symptoms. Acupuncture for acute (short-term) and chronic pain relief is used in conjunction with other pain management methods and works well for back, neck, knee and headache pain.

Anxiety/Memory

Stress and anxiety from pain often go hand-in-hand. Whether pain persists from stress and anxiety or stress and anxiety causes pain, they often co-occur. Since acupuncture works to relieve tension, it also restores your body’s chemical imbalances from stress and anxiety.

According to The Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies, acupuncture can reduce anxiety immediately after treatment. When “chi” is restored, patients can often wean off anxiety medication. Patients also see an improvement in memory.

Manage Pain and Improve Mental Health

Whether you use acupuncture as a method for pain relief, to reduce stress and anxiety, or to improve your memory, it is best used in conjunction with other evidence-based treatment methods.

If you think it is right for you, make sure you receive treatments from a certified acupuncturist from the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.

Choosing a Sober Living Home: Things to Consider

Choosing a Sober Living Home

Starting on the path of early recovery can be an exciting, but sometimes an overwhelming experience. Figuring out where to go after receiving inpatient drug and alcohol treatment can be a difficult decision to make. You might be contemplating whether you should go home or stay in the community in which you received treatment. If returning to your previous home is not a safe choice or in your best interest, you may want to consider choosing a sober living home.

The term sober living home is often used interchangeably with the terms recovery residences, halfway houses and sober homes. The purpose of these homes is to provide a safe and healthy environment in which residents can sustain their recovery. However, you should be aware that not all sober living homes are created equal. Choosing the wrong sober living home can put your recovery in jeopardy. Here are four factors that you should consider before picking a sober living home:

1.  House Rules 

When you begin the recovery process, it’s important that you start developing a healthy routine. Many sober living homes realize the importance of structure in early recovery, and they require their residents to follow specific house rules. They typically have rules regarding drug and alcohol possession, drug testing, violence and curfews. It is not uncommon for these homes to require residents to either receive intensive outpatient treatment, obtain employment, volunteer or attend school.

If the sober living home has few or no rules, this should be a warning sign.

2. Reputation

Currently, there is no federal law that requires sober living homes to be licensed. Many states and cities do require that these buildings to follow local regulations. Before choosing a sober living home, check to make sure it is compliant with local regulations.

There is also a number of organizations that represent sober living homes; these organizations provide best practices and standards in regards to operating a residence.

Also, don’t be afraid to ask the staff members at your rehab center for a recommendation on a sober living home. Some treatment facilities have designated employees that help patients find a safe place to live after inpatient treatment.

Now, if you are unable to ask an employee for a recommendation, talk to your sponsor or member of your home group. The people at your 12-step meetings will be able to tell you which sober living homes have a good reputation and which ones don’t.

3. Management

Before you agree to move into a sober living home, find out who manages the home. If the individual is in recovery, find out how long they have been in recovery. It should immediately raise a red flag if the manager has been in recovery for less than six months. Typically, reputable sober living homes only hire managers that have been clean for a minimum of six months, while some sober living homes prefer that the mangers have one year clean.

You should also inquire whether the sober living home has medical staff on the premises. If not, ask if they have protocols for medical emergencies.

4. Transportation

When you research sober living homes, you should ask the manager about transportation. Oftentimes, when people leave treatment they don’t have reliable transportation. If you don’t have a car, ask the sober living home if they provide transportation. Some sober living homes provide residents transportation to approved 12-step meetings and the grocery store. If transportation is not provided, consider whether you can easily get to meetings and work by bus, bike or on foot. While transportation is not a factor in whether or not a sober living home is reputable, you should consider this because it does play a part in your day-to-day routine.

Setting Yourself Up for Success

Studies have shown that having sober supports can decrease an individual’s chances of relapsing. However, living in a bad environment can cause an obstacle in your recovery and prevent you from reaching your goals. Before you pack your bags and move into a sober living home, make sure to consider these four factors.