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A practical approach to recovery from addiction.

If you find yourself at the grasp of chronic relapse, a relapse prevention program should be considered as a practical approach to recovery from addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a person struggling with any addiction has relapsed at least once.

Relapse is a constant struggle for individuals looking to change their lives, especially for those who have large gaps between uses. Fatal overdose is a potential risk for those who assume their tolerance will match their previous use, despite waning over time. The continuum of care in addiction recovery is designed to provide solutions and support for those in need.

What is Relapse?

Relapse, or chronic relapse, can be described as the inability to remain consistently sober, despite repeated attempts of treatment. Chronic relapse can leave you prone to a fatal overdose. The bodies of chronic relapsers must continually adjust without substances, which can introduce drastic effects on the systems.

The signs of chronic relapse may include some of the following:

  • Not attending support group meetings
  • Adopting poor eating and sleeping habits; lack of exercise
  • Social withdrawal
  • Increased leisure time without hobbies or activities
  • Not acknowledging emotional, psychological, physical needs
  • Disengaged from their support system

Depression and substance use have a relationship. A recovering person can withdraw from their feelings and environment to process their conflicting feelings. Taking care of responsibilities such as a job or maintaining relationships can feel like climbing two mountains.

Without proper support, a recovering has an increased risk of committing suicide. An inpatient residence or partial hospitalization program can offer more consistent intensive care for those in need.

What are the Signs of Relapse?

Depending on the severity of the case, a relapse comes in stages:

Emotional Stage

This is often referred to as the first phase of relapse. This stage could present itself before use occurs. You might begin to feel depression, anger, anxiety, guilt, and shame. You might find that your eating and sleeping habits have changed drastically without even realizing it.

It’s vital to take inventory of your feelings and behaviors. If you notice a loved one struggling with these initial signs, reach out to them. By understanding these signs, you’ll have a chance to prevent the next stage.

Mental Stage

The second sign of relapse is recognized as the mental stage, which can be associated with the typical view of relapse. The mental stage is typically when the person is conscious of their cravings. The internal struggle to remain sober can slowly boil, causing them to experience intense feelings. 

That tiny voice in your head is whispering for you to use, just that once. Direct thoughts of use will begin to creep, mainly through fantasizing of previous use. It can be terrifying to confront these feelings in contrast to the steps of recovery you’ve made. The mental phase is usually a turning point for relapse. You might be deciding whether to use it again.

Physical Stage

The physical stage of relapse is the final stage. After combating the mental stage of relapse, a person will find themselves using again. If you find yourself using it again, chances are you will continue to persist. It’s crucial to guide a person into treatment after this has happened. Remind them that this is a part of the journey but not an end.

A relapse is a sign to reevaluate. You might be facing challenges in your interpersonal relationships and yourself. This can plunge you deeper into the distortions that you are not ready to change but that’s not true.

Contact Makana Path

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What Do I Do If A Loved One Has Relapsed?

If you or a loved one have relapsed, it’s crucial to remember that relapse is a common part of the recovery process. This realization can be challenging, although the triggers of relapse require a specific plan and consistent effort to maintain sobriety:

  • Seek medical support if necessary
  • Reach out to the support network
  • Encourage the person that this is an opportunity to reevaluate
  • Remind them that you’re there for them

A Focus On Relapse Recovery & Prevention

Alcoholism and drug addiction are chronic, progressive diseases. As with any chronic disease, relapse is a reality. However, we know that the longer a person can engage in the treatment, and the more individualized that treatment is, the more positive the outcome.

Makana Path’s Medical Detox Program is designed for clients who have experienced a relapse. 

We specialize in treating chronic relapsers and those who identify as treatment-resistant and utilize a multi-pronged approach that comprises:

  • Clinical and medical evaluation.
  • Intensive Healing.
  • Case management.
  • Aftercare monitoring.
  • Relapse prevention program training.

Relapse happens, but it isn’t a sign of moral failure. It’s a sign that treatment needs to be more accurately tailored to a client’s needs. In our experience, permanent recovery outcomes occur when a client participates in a combination of evidence-based clinical therapies and 12-step programming under the direction of a case manager who advocates for their care.

A Holistic Approach to Relapse Prevention

Relapse is also a sign that a person’s spiritual health is lacking. Real recovery requires a spiritual awakening, and it can be easy to get caught up in the noise of everyday life, even after you’ve completed treatment.

Makana Path’s Intensive Healing Program is designed to help our clients heal old belief systems that are holding them back in multiple areas of their lives. 

We rely on several types of clinical and complementary therapies, including:

  • Individual and group therapy.
  • 12-step education.
  • Physical exercise with a certified personal trainer.
  • Healthy meal preparation.

Whether a client has recently relapsed or is new to recovery, relapse prevention is our top priority. But prevention is so much more complicated than merely learning how to say “no.”

Recovery is a journey that requires a lifelong commitment to sobriety. It’s important to understand that relapse isn’t something that occurs suddenly, nor does it signify the end of recovery.

Instead, relapse occurs over time and offers plenty of warning signs. The coping skills and strategies we teach at Makana Path can help a client bounce back after a relapse rather than return to substance use, or prevent relapse altogether.

How Can You Prevent Relapse?

Relapse can spring in subtle ways, so it’s important to keep an eye on specific patterns to prevent your loved one from reaching the early stages. An authentic support system can work wonders on the person recovering from addiction.

The triggers of relapse come in a variety of shapes and sizes:

  • Visiting places where the person was using substances previously  
  • Situations where the person relies on coping mechanisms
  • Pre-existing mental/physical/emotional health issues
  • The guilt of a potential lapse

What is a Relapse Prevention Plan, and Why is it Important in Recovery?

A relapse prevention plan is a set of guidelines to you if you find yourself triggered to use.

A relapse prevention plan functions best by working with your counselor to determine measures to prevent relapse. You could run scenarios and situations where someone might offer you a drink or smoke.

The more specific the triggers are, the better it will be for you to craft a relapse prevention plan. Life can throw many uncertain and anxiety-inducing challenges your way. You might find yourself withdrawing from the possibility of change.

Recover With Us


Relapse is a part of recovery, but it’s preventable. Our relapse focus instills a set of lifelong practices that empower our clients to achieve and maintain lasting recovery. For more information, contact an admissions counselor today.