Navigating through Rehab and Relapse
Drug rehabilitation and recovery is hard work. Almost as hard is life after rehab, when an addict often returns to the life they had when their addiction started. Rehab and relapse are both challenges that addicts, who hope to become clean, may face. However, there are several ways to give yourself better odds of success when dealing with these challenges.
Withdrawal management – One of the first stages of the journey to getting clean is to detox. Detoxification is the process of removing chemical toxins from the body. Unfortunately, an addict’s body becomes used to, or even dependent on, these chemicals and your body goes into shock when deprived of them.
For some, detox withdrawal symptoms are very uncomfortable and for others they are downright excruciating. The pain can be mental and emotional as well as physical. Often, the symptoms are enough to drive the addict back to drug abuse. However, there are ways to alleviate the pain of withdrawals and get through detox:
- Natural remedies can go a long way in subduing symptoms. Drinking lots of water gives your body the hydration it needs to work through typical symptoms like cravings, coughing, constipation and sweating. Plus, water flushes out the system which helps the detox process.
- Over the counter medicines can also be a big help to ease symptoms as long as they are used as intended. Ibuprofen can lessen body or headaches, antihistamines like Dramamine or Benadryl help with sleeplessness and nausea and other medicines can help with diarrhea or constipation.
- Withdrawal can come with emotional symptoms like irritability or anxiety. For feelings like this it can help to have someone with you to calm you down or to distract your mind. Lighthearted entertainment can also be a nice mental comfort.
Counseling – A successful rehabilitation also involves some form of counseling or therapy. An addiction counselor can help you determine the problems in your life that may have led to addiction so that you may avoid them in the future. You can also discovery what specific every day encounters trigger cravings. Counseling helps you get to the root of the problem and become aware of what prompts your dependencies on substances.
- Support – In rehab you had a network of support to rely on when you needed it. When rehab is over you have the challenge of building up your own support system of friends and family some of which may have become estranged by your addiction. Avoid old friends that contributed or participated in your addiction.
- Environment – Your environment is made up of the people and places your see on a daily basis. The people in your life can be supportive or destructive to your efforts to avoid relapse but your physical environment is important as well. For instance, a recovering alcoholic who walks by an old familiar bar everyday endures a lot of temptation. If necessary, move to a new place where the means to get substances aren’t as available or at least not as known to you.
- Check-ins – Check in with counselors or sponsors regularly. In rehab you could routinely talk about your problems with someone who can empathize and it is helpful to continue to get that after rehab. Many rehab facilities continue to help recovering addicts after they complete rehabilitation. Ambrosia Treatment Center of the Palm Beaches has a relapse prevention program to help with continued recovery and coping.
- Productivity – Engage in activities that you enjoy and that are productive. This will give you positive goals with a sense of purpose.
Dealing with Relapse
Remember if you do experience relapse you should not consider yourself a failure. Drug rehabilitation is a difficult process and one that may involve some pitfalls. However, with a little persistence you can cope with and conquer addiction.