In the 25 years that I have been working as an addiction professional in his field, I am always interested in one thing, ” How did the relapse happen?”
Typically, my client will explain their relapse in this way,
” I don’t know how it happened, all of a sudden I was around my drug of choice and I took it. The relapse happened so quick I couldn’t stop it. I thought I could handle it this time, as I have been sober for 3 months.”
Well when I hear this from my client, I immediately think that the client has not taken responsibility for their own health and has turned the concept of being powerless into the idea that I have no control over my relapse, so they give in to the craving and use the substance.
The next step is to perform a relapse autopsy.
I have the client go through the exact steps that happened. The client explains in great detail all their behaviours and decisions that lead them to the place where their drug of choice was present.
This accomplishes three very important things for the client once they understand the process.
1. The client realizes that had made conscious decisions to put themselves in these situations.
2. The client usually stops working their own recovery program which has kept them sober or clean up until this time.
3. The client has the power to stop the relapse and intervene on themselves in a high risk situation before they take their drug of choice.
My experience in conducting these relapse autopsy’s has lead me to one overall flaw in their recovery.
They fail to protect their recovery at all costs.
So then we put together a high risk strategy that outlines the exact steps when they find themselves around their drug of choice, either by choice or unintentionally.
Usually the resistance is that they explain they can’t live in a bubble and not be around their drug of choice for ever. I agree, but that does not mean they give in to the craving, but rather work their recovery plan in those situations so they do not use.
My question to you is , “Do you have a recovery plan that will work in a high risk situation, or are you flying by the seat of your pants and hoping for the best outcome?”
You should outline or have your clients outline their high risk situation recovery plans.
In my experience, relapse is preventable with the proper plan in place and commitment to cope with the craving.