Addiction Treatment Services
Relapse Prevention Training

Relapse prevention is a crucial component of every effective addiction treatment program. Relapse prevention teaches clients how to identify their personal relapse triggers and work through them using a combination of techniques. The most effective relapse prevention services focus on providing clients with a highly individualized prevention plan. Another important part of preventing relapse is learning to identify personal relapse warning signs. At Pine Tree Recovery Center we offer relapse prevention training services in an individual and group setting. In individual therapy clients are able to dive deeper into their personal triggers and explore effective ways of coping, and in a group setting clients are able to discuss common triggers with their peers as they learn more about what it takes to stay sober. To learn more about our addiction treatment program, contact us today.

Relapse Prevention Techniques

The people, places and things that trigger an individual can vary significantly depending on what experiences the individual has previously had. During relapse prevention training an individual works directly with our team of therapists and clinicians to identify anything that could potentially trigger a return to substance use. Triggers vary, but they will always result in the temptation to use. One of the main goals of relapse prevention is to reduce the amount of triggers an individual encounters in their day-to-day life. This can be achieved by committing to necessary lifestyle changes and changing certain behavioral patterns. Of course, it is not possible to entirely avoid all relapse triggers; life is often difficult even when an individual is sober. So developing effective coping mechanisms is critical.

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Examples of Relapse Prevention Techniques:

  • Cognitive Restructuring & Reversing Unhelpful Thinking Patterns

At Pine Tree Recovery Center we utilize a number of evidence-based therapies to help our clients change negative thinking patterns. Rather than getting stuck in a vicious cycle of self-doubt and negative self-talk when they experience a trigger, our clients learn to quiet their minds and assess things rationally. The techniques we employ to help our clients reverse negative thinking patterns and slow down emotional reactivity include cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy and motivational interviewing.

  • Building Self-Esteem & Self-Confidence

It is important for clients to believe they have the ability to stay sober. If they don’t believe in themselves there is a slim chance of long-term recovery. We work on building self-esteem through reinforcing positive choices, effectively working through difficult emotions and helping our clients develop post-treatment plants that will help build their confidence.

  • Developing an “Emergency” Plan

There will come a time when each of our clients finds themselves in a precarious or vulnerable situation following treatment. It is important to develop a plan of action in case they need to make a quick escape from a sobriety-threatening experience. This escape plan could include having a sober friend on speed-dial, someone who knows where they are and remains available to pick them up just in case. At Pine Tree Recovery Center we work with clients individually, helping them realistically assess a variety of potential circumstances.

  • “Playing The Tape Through”

It is crucial for our clients to understand what consequences will occur should they make the decision to return to substance use. A relapse doesn’t simply “happen.” Before someone picks up, they tend to weigh the pros and cons. However, it can be easy to focus on the pros and minimize the cons. “Playing the tape through” means realistically looking at the series of events that is inevitably going to take place. We teach our clients to acknowledge both the immediate and long-term effects of any potential relapse.

  • Developing & Honing Healthy Coping Mechanisms

Because active addiction strips people of their ability to effectively cope with unpleasant emotions, it is important coping mechanisms are instilled during treatment. We teach our clients controlled breathing, mindfulness, meditation, grounding techniques, the importance of reaching out and cognitive reframing techniques.

Steps of Relapse Prevention Training

The goal of relapse prevention is to help clients develop personalized relapse prevention plans. Over the course of their recovery they can refer back to these plans and alter them or add to them as needed. The longer a client stays sober, the more coping mechanisms they will inevitably develop. At Pine Tree Recovery Center we implement a series of steps as part of our relapse prevention training program.

Relapse Prevention

Relapse Prevention Steps:

  1. Going over common relapse triggers in an individual and group setting.
  2. Using these examples to identify personal relapse triggers.
  3. Identifying personal warning signs that might precede a relapse.
  4. Developing and employing a set of healthy coping mechanisms.
  5. Collaborating with the clinical team to develop a personalized relapse prevention plan.
  6. Sharing the prevention plan with others so that they know what warning signs to keep an eye out for in the future.
  7. Practicing the coping mechanisms in real life settings and reporting back to a therapist or a therapeutic group (this generally takes place during intensive outpatient treatment and aftercare).
  8. Altering and adjusting the plan as new relapse triggers are uncovered and new coping mechanisms learned.

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Stages of Relapse

Relapse can be broken down into three distinct phases: emotional relapse, mental relapse and physical relapse. At Pine Tree Recovery Center we teach our clients what steps to take during each individual stage of the relapse process so that they can successfully reverse a potential return to substance use before it is too late.

1. Emotional Relapse:

When a person enters into the emotional relapse phase they are not thinking about using. They might start neglecting their personal recovery program and skip recovery meetings, stop calling their sponsor or stop meeting with their individual therapist. These changes lead to a slip into old behavioral patterns. Emotional relapse often looks like social isolation, sleeping longer hours than normal, failing to meet personal obligations and acting uncharacteristically in other ways. If relapse is caught during this stage it is relatively easy to reverse the backslide with a conscious effort to recommit to recovery.

2. Mental Relapse:

If emotional relapse goes unaddressed for a prolonged period of time a person will eventually slip into mental relapse. During this stage they start to consider picking up their substance of choice. They might romanticize past substance use, ignore past consequences entirely and bargain with themselves, saying things like, “If I only drink on the weekends it will be fine,” or, “I’ll just use one time and go to a meeting tomorrow.” Reaching out to a sober support is extremely important during this time period. If a person fails to ask for help and openly share the thoughts they are having, there is a good chance they will progress to physical relapse.

3. Physical Relapse:

During this stage of the process the person physically picks up and uses the chemical substance. Once a drink or drug has been used, it sets off intense physical cravings. The compulsion to keep using and drinking can become very strong, very quickly. Picking up a drink or a drug after a period of sobriety is kind of like stepping into quick sand. It is extremely important to return to recovery as quickly as possible before the addiction has a chance to gain progressively more strength. If a relapse is caught early on and the person immediately employs the coping mechanisms they learned in treatment, they can return to sobriety and continue along the road to recovery the very next day. It is far easier, however, to reverse a relapse in the emotional and mental phases than it is once a physical relapse has occurred.

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    When you or your loved one is ready to ask for help, Pine Tree Recovery Center is available. Our admissions process is simple and straightforward and can be completed in as little as 15 minutes. During our initial phone call we provide a complimentary addiction assessment that helps our clinical team determine which treatment options are the best suited for your unique case. We provide highly individualized treatment during every stage of the process, from start to finish. Once the assessment is complete we offer a free, no obligation insurance benefit check and help coordinate local travel to our facility. All you or your loved one has to do is ask for help, and we will take care of the rest. To learn more about relapse prevention training or to learn more about our addiction recovery program as a whole, contact us today.