Relapse Counseling

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Relapse Counseling for Marin County

Maintaining sobriety is the most difficult task many of us will ever take. The initial step of getting sober is often a result of some external force which propels us into action. i.e. lost relationship, dui, career/educational related issues. When the disaster occurs there is tremendous inertia to immediately change one’s ways and make any type of promise to regain life as it once was. This momentum becomes short lived as our bodies recover and our minds conveniently forget the devastation we have recently caused. Furthermore, addiction is extremely powerful and our behavioral pattern is to use rather than remain abstinent.

How can you overcome the typical cycle of using, problems, promises and relapse?

Before addiction was acknowledged as a disease if was thought moral character or fortitude was sufficient to cure or correct a problem. Today we are aware that strong character is not enough to successfully deal with addiction. Relapse counseling offers a systematic approach to maintaining sobriety by addressing core issues, directly promoting a path to sobriety, as well as acknowledging and avoiding triggers or slips. Additionally counseling promotes positive behavioral change and employs many important counseling techniques in the most critical initial 30-90 days of sobriety. Changing habits and instituting safeguard with the help of a licensed addiction therapist insures a successful path to recovery.

Once a person finally comes to an awareness of his situation he will make many attempts to sabotage the path to recovery. Most initially believe they can stop at any time and they are not really addicted and with strong willpower can control the problem by themselves. Another tactic is to delay, “I’ll deal with the problem after the weekend, vacation, summer etc.” A serious fallacy is to believe that we are more intelligent than the average person or for that matter, the “disgusting average addict”. Finally at all costs we attempt to avoid professional help, subliminally realizing that this would unveil the problem and may force us to change a habit we have have embraced.

Historical Issues

To establish a successful plan for recovery, it is beneficial to address the inception of addiction. Most people start using during the formative teen years when peer pressure and insecurity can influence major life decisions. Simply by associating with certain friends, an adolescent gains acceptance and is initiated into the adult world. They believe they become smarter, older, stronger, prettier, more socially adept and no longer isolated. Initially the substance seems to work and brings about perceived relief and approval. For some, this experimental stage is short lived and a desire or need to escalate is experienced. The occasional becomes a daily ritual, and the “one or two” becomes addictive. A habit is established and dependence is now the norm. Describing the situation and exploring core issues is primary in stage two recovery yet cessation, abstinence and avoiding relapse is initially essential.

Relapse Triggers

People, places and things is always the common road to abuse. Associating with people who are prior “using friends” is a dangerous habit, one not easily broken. It is unrealistic to change all one’s friends, although there are friends who do not always use and are safer. Going to bars, concerts and clubs are activities which are reminders of the past and typically contrary to changing behavior. As the saying goes, “if you hang around a barber shop you’ll eventually get a haircut”.

Discovering compromises and alternatives to our past lifestyle is essential in recovery. Each individual has a different perspective on what they associate with abuse, typically money and relationships are common causes. Relapses do not happen suddenly and typically there are warning signs that demand attention. If we examine the time that immediately precedes a relapse it is obvious that additional situations and circumstances were in effect before the offense occurred.

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