What is Relapse Prevention?
The last couple of days it has been raining cats and dogs down in sunny Soflo. I guess the old saying “when it rains, it pours” applies here. Taken in the literal sense in this example, but the metaphorically is the most common usage of that expression. Life is unpredictable and there’s no doubt that life takes its toll on any that have the privilege to live it. The wretched truth is that everybody and everything is tested in a different capacity than the next. For some what may seem as a thunderstorm could in fact just be a drizzle to others.
Either way, despite our differences on this blue marble we live, we are all very similar in our ways too. We are known to be creatures of habit if you will. Nobody is unique enough to be completely misunderstood, even with added unfairness to their repertoire. I mean life really isn’t fair for anybody, although some do have disadvantages that others may never face. Take alcoholism and addiction for example.
Addiction is this beast of a disease that poisons all healthy and rational thinking as it focuses on killing the person inflicted. It becomes second nature as that person transforms into the poster child for relapse statistics and funeral expenses. With no cure still in site, there are treatment alternatives for those looking to soften the grip of chemical dependency- but it comes with a long journey ahead. For many who decide to sober up their act, relapse becomes much a part of their storm. However for those that don’t want to get caught up in the rain, relapse therapy is very much a part of that story.
Over the last decade relapse rates have been climbing very steadily, taking the lives of addicts and alcoholics all over the world that are just trying to live another day above ground. Nobody wakes up and declares that they wished they had the disease of alcoholism- it just springs into their lives unexpectedly. You see, we have this war against drugs and this opioid epidemic that are constantly getting larger as more and more people succumb to chemical dependency. So as this chemical submission increases, the need for treatment and relapse therapy becomes more and more prevalent.
For many, getting clean is this messy process that may take several tries to finally get. Admitting there’s a problem is one thing, but accepting there is is a whole other ball game. It’s kind of like the difference between unprecedented relapse and relapse therapy; action is the only thing that separates the two. Without action, the relapse statistics for those attempting to get clean will continue to reflect like such:
- Heroin- 90%
- Cocaine- 23.5%
- Alcohol- 90%
- Marijuana- 71%
- Meth- 88%
Those are grim numbers if you ask me. These statistics are based off relapse within 1-4 year period of getting sober. With any addict or alcoholic, just a day clean is a miracle in itself. However, a day clean will not be what keeps the reaper from extending his scythe and snatching you up. Relapse therapy is how that one day turns into many.
Opening Your Umbrella
There isn’t anybody really to blame for the lack of relapse therapy going on or the increase of those that are set up for failure in their attempts at recovery. Alcoholism has only began to be slightly understood within the last 100 years and science is far from perfect. It tough to recognize a disease that hides in plain site and denies all existence. What is understood of it is that it takes time and perseverance to remain clean. There isn’t a light switch that clicks on and off yet. That chance of relapse seems to only be altered when progressive changes are made to prevent alcoholic thinking from taking our lives. Maintaining a program of some sort is the recommended route for keeping sanity between your ears. This is personal relapse therapy with yourself.
Some of us of course aren’t exactly turned on by the idea of of Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous and what they have to provide, but the facts do remain: it works. Finding some program of anonymity and working the 12 steps are the guaranteed path for finding your way into a happy recovery. It may take time, but it depends how far one is willing to go to keep away from the misery that using brings them.
Dodging Relapse Raindrops
Trying to not wind up as another statistic can be a tedious chore, but it is one that is absolutely worth it. The reality of the disease of addiction is that there will always be that estranged voice in the back of our heads pushing for us to put the bottle to our lips or the needle in our arm. The big difference is a matter of how strong we allow that bellow to be. We must keep in mind that that voice is not THE voice.
So when we start working the 12 steps and keeping ourselves in check, we are diminishing the misery that is addiction as we help manifest the positive statistics.Yet the risk of relapse is still always right around the corner because there isn’t any cure for addiction or alcoholism- only methods of dealing with. Relapse therapy with ourselves or another individual can teach us things we may never would’ve realized if left to our own devices. It’ll teach us tools that can be the difference between whether we pick up that next drink or not.