A very real concern for anyone who has gone through rehab and recovery is the risk of relapse. While it is a scary thought, relapse can be prevented and the threat of it should certainly not keep anyone from entering treatment. Relapse occurs most often among people who rush through the rehab process, are uncommitted to sobriety, or have not developed the coping skills needed to maintain a sober life.
Many make it through rehab successfully, but a reduced number of people are actually able to carry that sobriety over into everyday life. That’s why relapse prevention is so important in helping the person learn how to remain sober long after they’ve completed their rehab program. Newly sober individuals and their families should develop a relapse prevention plan that includes support groups, changes in lifestyle, healthy behaviors, and service to others before they leave rehab.
Support Groups Encourage Sobriety
Support groups are a vital part of long-term sobriety. When someone starts to feel alone and misunderstood they are at greater risk for relapse. Drugs and alcohol become for many people a crutch, a companion, and a way to get by in life. According to a report published in Psychology Today, individuals who remain abstinent from drugs and alcohol for five years relapse less than 15 percent of the time. A good way to remain sober in the years immediately following a residential rehab stay is to get involved in support groups. Support groups provide emotional renewal, encouragement, and motivation to stay sober.
There are many types of support groups, and it is important to find one that is a good fit for the best results. A good fitting support group will make the individual feel comfortable being there, allow them to open up with other members, and make them want to remain sober during and after participation.
12 Step Support Groups
The most popular type of support groups are ones that follow the 12 Steps, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. The 12 Steps originated in 1939 and have served as a foundation for millions of sober lives over the decades. This type of support group has as its core personal accountability, abstinence, humility, honesty, and connection with a higher power.
Alternatives to 12 Steps
The 12 Steps, while very effective for most, don’t work for everyone. For those looking for a different type of support system, other options are available, such as S.O.S. and LifeRing, both of which offer similar philosophies for recovery.
S.O.S. is a secular recovery support organization that encourages abstinence through the use of rational thought and focusing on taking responsibility for ourselves and our actions.
LifeRing is also a secular organization and its philosophy is that each individual has the power to overcome addiction within themselves, and through motivational support groups and online forums, individuals can take control of their addiction.
SMART Recovery is an abstinence-based, not-for-profit organization with a sensible self-help program for people having problems with drinking and using. It includes many ideas and techniques to help you change your life from one that is self-destructive and unhappy to one that is constructive and satisfying.
Women for Sobriety, Inc., is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping women discover a happy New Life in recovery from Substance Use Disorders. Founded in 1975, the WFS New Life Program is based on thirteen Acceptance Statements that encourage emotional and spiritual growth.
Because each person is different, it is important for the recovering addict to find a support group in which they feel comfortable and can bond with other group members.
Church & Spiritual Support
Other groups are beneficial when used in combination with 12 Steps or other treatment methods. Churches and spiritual organizations have excelled in recent years at providing a system of support to those in the community who struggle with addiction. Spiritual support groups provide the extra benefit of whole being wellness, as they look to God for help to strengthen body, mind, and spirit. These types of support groups can be found throughout the country and serve as a good complement to other, structured rehab programs. At The Ridge, ongoing participation in spiritual support groups is offered as an option but is not required. However, many people, even those who do not consider themselves religious, have found lasting benefits from a church-based support group.
One of the closest and most convenient sources of ongoing support for staying sober is family. Our family and loved ones know us well and can read us better than others and can often see relapse coming on sooner than many others can. Because they know the person’s history and weaknesses, family members can be one of the best resources for a newly sober individual. Loved ones who participate in family rehab programming become equipped to offer support during tough days, encourage sobriety through positive activities, and are often even the motivation for an individual to stay sober.
Because there is much pressure placed on families and loved ones of addicts, it is important that family members themselves go through some kind of training or receive support themselves, so they know how best to interact with and motivate a newly sober loved one. Support groups for families of addicts, such as Al-Anon and Alateen, are a wonderful resource for loved ones.