“I am not defined by my relapses, but by my decision to remain in recovery despite them.”
“I know you feel like giving up, but you are not going to. If you can survive addiction, you can survive recovery.”
The path to recovery is different for everyone. At its simplest, recovery is taking control of your health and wellness in order to reach your fullest potential. But staying in recovery isn’t always easy, in fact 40-60% of people recovering from Substance Use Disorder relapse at some point. The more resources and support someone has, the better the chance that when obstacles come up, they will be able to handle them successfully.
Family and friends want to be helpful but are often unsure how. Click to learn more.
There are many paths to recovery and what works for one person may not work for another. It’s important to remember that recovery is more than just giving up drugs and alcohol; it’s about making the life-long changes that are necessary for complete well-being. Click here to learn more about pathways to recovery.
Relapse is considered a normal part of addiction recovery. It should be viewed as a stepping-stone on the recovery path and not as the end of the road. Click here to find suggestions on reducing the risk of relapse.
A dually trained Community Health Worker/Recovery Coach (CHW/RC) supports an individual’s recovery by helping them overcome the obstacles that may contribute to relapse. Click here for more information about this free service through the North Country Health Consortium’s Wellness And Recovery Model (WARM) Program.
Peer supports are designed and delivered by people who have the personal experience of having a Substance Use Disorder and being in recovery. Click here to find out how peer recovery supports can help you or someone you love.
SUPPORTING SOMEONE IN RECOVERY
Family and friends want to be helpful but are often unsure how. Consider the following:
- Educate yourself about Substance Use Disorder, including the treatment and recovery aspects. Understanding this is an illness that has affected how your loved one thinks, feels and interacts with the world is critical.
- For many individuals, treatment is the first step, but they will still need to deal with the consequences of their previous actions. There may be financial issues, health problems and the long process of rebuilding trust in relationships.
- Relapse is common, learn about relapse, know the signs and how you will respond.
- Have reasonable expectations- recovery takes time. By knowing what to expect, you can help lessen disappointment.
- Learn new communication skills that allow you to have non-blaming conversations with your loved one.
- Remove all addictive substances from the home.
- Understand that your loved one may not feel comfortable at social gatherings.
- Find new activities you can enjoy together.
- Don’t neglect yourself. Often family members have put their lives on hold to support someone with Substance Use Disorder. By re-prioritizing yourself, you can reduce resentment towards your loved one and model self-care.
- Find support for yourself. Joining others with the lived experience of loving someone with Substance Use Disorder is very helpful. You will gain the emotional support, understanding and knowledge you need and have a safe place to share your feelings. Below are resources to help you support your loved one.
Relapse often indicates that treatment needs to be reinstated or adjusted. Relapse can vary in its intensity and duration as well, and there are several ways for a person to decrease episodes and severity of relapse through treatment programs, therapeutic methods, and a strong support system. In the article titled “Relapse Prevention and the Five Rules of Recovery” by Steven M. Melemis, the following 5 rules can be used as a guide for relapse prevention:
- Create a life where it is easier not to use substances: This can feel overwhelming and struggle with these changes. Learn to feel comfortable with the uncomfortable so as to not need to escape those negative feelings.
- Be completely honest with one’s self: Often someone with a Substance Use Disorder has become very skilled at lying, to them self and others.
- Ask for help: Treatment, recovery coaches, self-help groups, therapists- find what will work for you and ask for help.
- Practice self-care: It’s important. Selfishness is taking more than a person needs, self-care is taking as much as one needs.
- Don’t bend these rules.
FREE RECOVERY COACHES
NCHC’s WARM program can help support you on your road through recovery. This free service connects you with a Community Health Worker/Recovery Coach (CHW/RC) who works with you to formulate a plan to keep you on the path to wellness.
Free services include:
- Education: Information on Substance Use Disorder as a disease, harm-reduction resources, treatment options and understanding multiple pathways for recovery
- Support: Assistance in developing a strong foundation for recovery by removing barriers
- Treatment Access: Assistance in navigating the treatment world
- Advocacy: Always being in your corner and never judging
- Empowerment: Providing guidance, encouragement, motivation, and tools- and coaching you through the processes of achieving your recovery goals
For more information on what a CHW/RC can do for you, call AskPETRA today or click here to visit the WARM Community Health Worker/Recovery Coach website.
PEER RECOVERY SUPPORT
Recovery support can come in many ways. Receiving support from people who have lived through similar experiences has been shown to reduce relapse. The value of peer recovery support is in the message of hope; the wealth of experience that can be shared; the empathy, caring and concern that is received; and the knowledge that can be gained. Peer recovery support is a key element for self-help groups like AA and NA, at Peer Support Centers, and other similar organizations.
For more on Peer Recovery Supports, click here.