When you graduate from an addiction treatment program, your road to recovery isn’t over. In fact, you are experiencing a new beginning, and you will face all new challenges. However, if you graduate from a center in the Delphi family of facilities, you are already a part of a broad network of supporting alumni services. We know the importance of relapse prevention following addiction treatment. Since it’s our goal is always long-lasting recovery, we consider it paramount to offer a range of relapse prevention services to our alumni.
Addiction is a disease of the brain. It attacks your limbic system, also known as your reward center, and rewires your desires to seek the substance of your abuse. As a disease, it’s very treatable. Alumni, more than anyone, know that with hard work and perseverance, it’s possible to become free from addiction. However, addiction can’t be cured, you may still be susceptible to cravings that can potentially lead to relapse.
In fact, drug relapse after treatment following rehabilitation occurs at a similar rate to other chronic illnesses like type 2 diabetes and asthma. According to a study in The Journal of the American Medical Association, 40 to 60 percent of people in recovery relapse after receiving treatment.
Plus, certain drugs, like alcohol and benzodiazepines have painful and potentially life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. Users who detox and relapse multiple times may experience a phenomenon called kindling. This is a neurological fatigue that makes you suffer harsher symptoms every time you go through drug withdrawal. Without medical attention, delirium tremens and seizures can be life-threatening.
Besides your health, there are a number of other things that rely on your sobriety. Your family, your job, and even legal matters may be on the line if you relapse. However, several relapse prevention strategies can help you keep your cravings at bay and avoid addiction.
One of the greatest relapse prevention strategies for recovering addicts and alcoholics after completing treatment is becoming actively involved in their facility’s Alumni Program. Alumni programs are programs designed to keep past clients and graduates of the treatment facility in contact with the facility.
Typically, Alumni Programs are run by Alumni Coordinators or an Alumni Director. These individuals oversee the Alumni Programs functions and day-to-day procedures. Alumni Programs typically reach out to past clients and check in to see how they are doing in their recovery since departing the treatment facility.
These alumni coordinators act as a point of contact for many newly recovering addicts who may need additional support during the difficult transition from treatment to the community at large. They also provide a person to reach out to should relapse occur and the client once again wishes to return to substance abuse treatment. They can easily and quickly get the client access to the help they need without having to start the search for treatment all over again.But Alumni Programs are also so much more! They will often organize events and activities and invite all alumni, or past clients, to participate! This way, other recovering addicts can meet fellow alumni to forge important relationships with and help each other in their sobriety. It acts as an additional support system for clients.
These activities also serve to show alumni how recovery can be fun. Many addicts and alcoholics early in recovery struggle to find ways to have fun without the use of drugs and alcohol. After relying on substances for so long, it can be a foreign concept to enjoy outings without impairment.
Alumni Programs often schedule outings that foster an environment of recovery while also having fun! Teaching clients that sobriety isn’t boring is important, because recovery must remain attractive for addicts and alcoholics-especially in the beginning!
Alumni Programs are awesome ways to get involved in the recovery community, stay in contact with therapeutic support, and have fun outings with other alumni clients!
Relapse prevention starts with the length of time you spend in treatment. Research shows that spending 90 days or more in a rehabilitation program decreases your chance of relapsing when compared to people who are in treatment shorter. Other drugs require longer than 90 days, and treatment like methadone maintenance can take as long as 12 months.
The most successful treatments start with intensive care and slowly dial down the intensiveness as you make progress. This helps to avoid thrusting you into situations that you might not be ready to handle. Treatment may start with residential treatment and move to outpatient treatment, and then to weekly meetings.
Your chances of avoiding relapse increase even further if you continue to be proactive in your recovery after you complete treatment by joining a support group.
Twelve-step programs are the roots of addiction recovery treatment. When it first began, it was a way for alcoholics and drug addicts to feel accepted into a community, gain accountability, and forge healthy relationships, rather than be ostracized by their community. Today, we have a range of effective treatment strategies from medication to cognitive behavioral therapy but 12-step programs are still a useful tool.
Twelve-step programs like Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous are an excellent way to get an additional layer of community support in addiction treatment. While they may not be as effective as other therapies in terms of their own, they are effective in continued pursuit of recovery.
Using a 12-Step program after treatment is an excellent way to find continued accountability and support in times of stress and cravings. They also often provide a peer mentor that can be a valuable connection to make in the fight for long-term sobriety.
After treatment, moving back to the place you lived during active addiction might be overwhelming. With less structure and your knowledge of the drug availability in your old neighborhood, it may be difficult to resist cravings. A sober living house provides more independence than you would have in addiction treatment with the benefit of continued structure.
In sober living houses, you will have to meet certain expectations. You can’t idly sit around all day, you have to work or actively pursue gainful employment, and most of all, you can’t use drugs or alcohol. You will have to submit regular drug tests to stay. However, you will also be able to have your own space, you’ll be able to come and go as you please, and you may have help with things like searching for a job or creating a resume. This, paired with outpatient treatment or support groups, can connect you to a network of people who share and encourage your commitment sobriety.
Sharing your own story and helping others who are also in recovery can be another way to continue in your recovery. It’s often said that teaching is one of the best ways to learn. Just articulating your experiences may help you work through them yourself. Taking on a leadership role will also keep you accountable in your own sobriety and helping others in the fight against addiction may remind you what’s stake.
Many Delphi alumni find ways to take active roles in the fight against the addiction epidemic in the United States by getting involved in support groups, working in the addiction treatment industry, or mentoring someone.
Finally, if you relapse, it doesn’t mean that the fight is over and you lost. As a chronic disease, relapse is a common occurrence. In fact, since relapse rates can be as high as 60 percent, that means more people relapse than don’t. A relapse is a setback but being in a network of addiction recovery already means you have many people there to help you get back on the wagon.
If you have questions about alumni services or if you are struggling with addiction, call Delphi Behavioral Health Group today at 844-899-5777 to start your road to recovery.