Relapse is very common among men and women in the early stages of sobriety. Rates of relapse mirror the recurrence of symptoms of other chronic health problems—about 40 to 60 percent. However, relapse is not a necessary part of the recovery process. There are a variety of things that we can do to help safeguard ourselves from the possibility of returning to drugs and alcohol. The phrase “one day at a time” can be extremely helpful in the early stages of sobriety. The prospect of never having another drink or never using another drug can be daunting and cause us to feel overwhelmed. Rather than view our sobriety on an extended timeline, we simply focus on the day or moment at hand. We relax and take it easy, often turning to our concept of a power greater than ourselves for help getting through the day in accordance with the principles of recovery. When we let go of future worry and instead choose to focus on the day at hand, we are at far less risk of stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues that could contribute to relapse. Scientific research into relapse has found that certain negative cues can be warning signs of relapse. Too much stress, involvement with old friends who are still using, or being in an environment where drugs and alcohol are present can have a negative affect on our sobriety. Drs. Sean Esteban McCabe, James Cranford, and Carol Boyd at the University of Michigan’s Center for the Study of Drugs, Alcohol, Smoking, and Health, found that people who reported experiencing stressful life events such as illness, death of a family member or friend, financial crisis, job loss, or arrest, has a 20 percent higher chance of relapse. The study further explains, “Moreover, the number of reported stressful life events correlated with the severity of drug use. Those who had remained abstinent all year reported an average of 2.7 stressful events, and those who were dependent on drugs reported an average of 4.7 stressful events. Those who used drugs but were not dependent and those in partial remission reported 3.9 and 4.0 stressful events, respectively.” With time and adherence to a program of recovery, however, we can reach a point in our sobriety when we can handle any stressors or experiencing with feeling the need to return to drug or alcohol use.
Your story can become one of serenity and peace of mind in sobriety. You can make the decision to seek help now and begin building a brighter future on the journey of recovery. Oceanfront Recovery, located in beautiful Laguna Beach, is staffed with highly qualified professionals dedicated to tailoring treatment to each client’s specific needs and unique challenges. For information about individualized treatment options, please call today: (877) 279-1777