you don't want to slip, stay out of slippery places.
This information on relapse prevention & recovery tools is
general in nature & is merely suggestive. It is
based on the combined practical experience of various DRA members
& represents some of the tools & techniques they have used
as part of their dual recovery.
People in dual recovery learn to identify
the warning signs that may lead to a lapse in their abstinence
and take positive steps to stay clean and sober. At the same time, they
follow a practical plan that addresses their emotional or psychiatric
illness in a positive and constructive way. The quicker they
learn to spot these signs and signals the sooner they can take positive
action for their own well-being and dual recovery.
Many factors can lead to a relapse or
flare-up to one or both of our no-fault illnesses. A flare-up of
psychiatric symptoms can leave us more vulnerable to relapsing on drugs
or alcohol. Drinking and drugging can lead to a flare-up of our
psychiatric illness. Alcohol and drugs can also change the effects of
psychiatric medications with unpredictable results. Maintaining
abstinence allows us the freedom to grow as individuals and manage our
no-fault illnesses in the healthiest possible way.
In chemical dependency, relapse is the act
of taking that first drink or drug after being deliberately clean and
sober for a time. It helps though to view relapse as a process that
begins well in advance of that act. People who have relapsed can usually
point back to certain things that they thought and did long before they
actually drank or used that eventually caused the relapse. They may have
become complacent in their program of recovery in some way or refused to
ask for help when they needed it. Each persons relapse factors are
unique to them, their diagnosis, and personal plan of recovery.
Relapse is usually caused by a combinations of factors. Some possible
factors and warning signs might be:
Almost everyone in recovery has times when
compelling thoughts of drinking or using drugs resurface. In early
recovery, drinking or drugging dreams are not uncommon. It helps to
remind ourselves that the reality of drinking and using has caused many
problems in our lives. That no matter how bad things get, the benefits
of staying abstinent will far outweigh any short term relief that might
be found in drugs or alcohol. Recovery takes time. Eventually the
cravings, relapse dreams, and uncertainties of early recovery fade. When
we are committed to dual recovery we slowly but surely develop a new
confidence in our new way of life without drugs and alcohol.
Staying clean and sober and managing ones
psychiatric symptoms constructively is an ongoing process. Abstinence
and dealing positively with a dual disorder go hand in hand. DRA members
build a personal inventory of recovery tools that help them meet these
goals by staying involved in the process of dual recovery. An individual
is in dual recovery when they are actively following a program that
focuses on the recovery needs for both their chemical dependency and
their psychiatric illness. People in dual recovery make sure to use some
of their recovery tools each and every day. Their personal recovery tool
kit serves as the best protection against a relapse.
By identifying things that put us at risk for relapse and using the
various recovery tools on an ongoing basis, we try to prevent a relapse
before it happens. We can periodically review our relapse prevention
plans with our doctors, treatment professionals and sponsors and modify
them as needed.
By becoming familiar with our triggers and warning signs, utilizing
the various recovery tools, and having a practical plan of action, we
greatly minimize the tendency to lapse back into our addictions. If and
when lapses do happen, we do not judge or blame--we are not bad people.
We seek progress not perfection. We simply learn what we can from the
situation and move on with our program of dual recovery. Sharing our
relapse experience with our sponsor, group, and helping professionals is
an important way to figure out what went wrong. Our experience may also
help others in recovery.