Feb. 24, 2021
Reprogramming Rock Bottom, Relapse, Recovery - Relapse after 20 Years
(A Walk in the Park with POP)
Welcome to the Sober is Dope podcast with your host, POP Buchanan. We are excited to bring you our Winter edition of, “A Walk in the Park” with POP Buchanan. This episode is intended to motivate our audience on the importance of getting back on the wagon immediately after a relapse. This is a reminder that we don’t have to accept old programming on hitting rock bottom and rock bottom being the prerequisite to healing. This episode is to encourage anyone in active addiction or in a current relapse to get back into treatment sooner than later. We dedicate this episode to our anonymous friend that recently relapsed after 20 years. Below are facts about relapse and the stages of relapse. Good luck.
The Stages of Relapse
Relapse is a process, it's not an event. In order to understand relapse prevention you have to understand the stages of relapse. Relapse starts weeks or even months before the event of physical relapse. In this page you will learn how to use specific relapse prevention techniques for each stage of relapse. There are three stages of relapse.
• Emotional relapse
• Mental relapse
• Physical relapse
In emotional relapse, you're not thinking about using. But your emotions and behaviors are setting you up for a possible relapse in the future.
The signs of emotional relapse are: Restless, Irritable and Discontent
• Mood swings
• Not asking for help
• Not going to meetings
• Poor eating habits
• Poor sleep habits
The signs of emotional relapse are also the symptoms of post-acute withdrawal. If you understand post-acute withdrawal it's easier to avoid relapse, because the early stage of relapse is easiest to pull back from. In the later stages the pull of relapse gets stronger and the sequence of events moves faster.
Relapse prevention at this stage means recognizing that you're in emotional relapse and changing your behavior. Recognize that you're isolating and remind yourself to ask for help. Recognize that you're anxious and practice relaxation techniques. Recognize that your sleep and eating habits are slipping and practice self-care.
If you don't change your behavior at this stage and you live too long in the stage of emotional relapse you'll become exhausted, and when you're exhausted you will want to escape, which will move you into mental relapse.
Practice self-care. The most important thing you can do to prevent relapse at this stage is take better care of yourself. Think about why you use. You use drugs or alcohol to escape, relax, or reward yourself. Therefore you relapse when you don't take care of yourself and create situations that are mentally and emotionally draining that make you want to escape.
For example, if you don't take care of yourself and eat poorly or have poor sleep habits, you'll feel exhausted and want to escape. If you don't let go of your resentments and fears through some form of relaxation, they will build to the point where you'll feel uncomfortable in your own skin. If you don't ask for help, you'll feel isolated. If any of those situations continues for too long, you will begin to think about using. But if you practice self-care, you can avoid those feelings from growing and avoid relapse. (Reference: www.AddictionsAndRecovery.org
It gets harder to make the right choices as the pull of addiction gets stronger.
Techniques for Dealing with Mental Urges
In mental relapse there's a war going on in your mind. Part of you wants to use, but part of you doesn't. In the early phase of mental relapse you're just idly thinking about using. But in the later phase you're definitely thinking about using.
The signs of mental relapse are:
• Thinking about people, places, and things you used with
• Glamorizing your past use
• Hanging out with old using friends
• Fantasizing about using
• Thinking about relapsing
• Planning your relapse around other people's schedules
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