In no uncertain terms: No.
Although an addict may have completed a recovery program five years ago and maintained their sobriety, the potential for relapse continues to exist for the rest of their lives. And that’s because addiction is a chronic disease.
It’s not an attitude problem, a willpower problem or a personality problem. Addiction can’t be “cured” with a potent antibiotic or surgery. It is a disease with a strong genetic background that can “flare up” at any time following an extended period of sobriety.
Much like diabetes, psoriasis, asthma and high blood pressure worsen if the person affected doesn’t avoid “triggers,” like sugary foods, smoking, drinking alcohol and stressful situations, relapse can rear its ugly head if provoked by certain addiction triggers.
How to Avoid Drug Relapse After Treatment
Two types of risk factors exist that interfere with a relapse prevention plan: external and internal risk factors. Internal risk factors include feeling persistently depressed and/or stressed, dealing with psychiatric issues (bipolar disorder, OCD, schizoaffective disorders) and having a family history of addiction.
External risk factors involve things happening around the recovering addict that can trigger cravings. One of the strongest triggers is associating with people who use drugs. Addicts entering a recovery program may think they are going to miss their old, drug-abusing friends, but come to realize when sober that those people were never really their friends. They were just addicts using other addicts for drugs, money, food and a place to get high.
Recovering addicts cannot associate with people who are heavy drinkers or abuse drugs. Addicts in the grip of their addiction resent sober people because productive, sober people remind them of how they are wasting their life. Sober people threaten their addicted lifestyle. Addicts only care about getting high, escaping the responsibility of living and avoiding the pain of withdrawal symptoms.
Relapse Prevention Therapy
Relapse can occur, swiftly and suddenly, two days or two years following completion of a treatment program. Relapse prevention therapy, or RPT, is a vital component of any personalized recovery program consisting of coping strategies, stress management techniques, life skills development and the importance of support groups.
Relapse prevention therapy does not view relapse as a failure to successfully achieve recovery goals. Instead, RPT puts relapse in a more positive perspective that embraces the learning curve associated with relapse. RPT reinterprets relapse as an opportunity to improve coping skills and understand more fully the complex interplay of external and internal triggers.
Relapse prevention therapy takes a biopsychosocial approach to addiction. It supports the idea that addictive behaviors are overlearned, acquired habits cemented over time by intense feelings of euphoria, pleasure and detachment from reality. During the course of RPT, addicts learn to identify high-risk situations as well as maladaptive thinking patterns and coping deficits. With the help of their therapist, addicts view these problematic triggers as things to be tackled and mastered, rather than things to be avoided or minimized.
If you are an addict struggling to avoid relapse, contact 12 Keys Rehab today. We can help you live the free, clean and sober life you’ve always wanted to live by developing a personalized treatment plan designed to address your unique needs.