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Mon, Aug. 20th, 2012, 04:18 pm
Things I've Learned About Relapse and Relapse Prevention (For People Who Care About an Addict)

Buy the Book: Recovery Options
(tips below are taken from the above text)

"Relapse prevention and coping with relapse are areas where people who are close to addicts can really help. You can point out things that they are doing, which may lead to relapse, which they may not be aware of. If they do slip, you can offer support and encouragement to get them back on track.

Please do not do what folks have done to me. Do not express disappointment, or try to make the person feel guilty or like they have somehow failed you. At least, don't do these things if you want them to actually quit. Sure, it can be disappointing, and you don't have to be fake about it. There is nothing wrong with a quick sigh and saying, "well, this isn't the end of the world. It's a little hard not to be disappointed, but these things happen and I know you can do it. I'm here supporting you. Please don't give up now." Ideally, of course, you would have already mentally prepped yourself on how to emotionally handle their relapse, so you wouldn't be terribly disappointed. You would understand that this is a common occurrence and not an irreconcilable one, and how you handle it could be very important to the person you are trying to help. Remember, a small slip or one bad night is a far cry from full relapse into addictive behaviors. So if someone has a slip it is vital to support and encourage them to keep trying, because they already feel guilt and shame about it. Making them feel more guilty and more ashamed may actually drive them straight back into the arms of addiction to cope with those feelings. It's important to make this distinction, especially if the addict themselves feels like one failure means a life failure. If you draw the hard line, "one more drink and I am THROUGH helping you," then when they take that one drink, they will just keep drinking. After all, what incentive do they have to quit when they fail? I'm not saying to keep supporting a person who falls back fully into addiction; it is just as important to protect yourself.

"Of course, if addicts seem as though they are heading for relapse, they may not want to be told that that's what they're doing. To avoid simply making them angry, you should ask in a very calm and questioning manner whether they think that, say, hanging out every night in a bar, might be a step toward relapse.... Where they take it from there is up to them, but by pointing out such things gently and just once, you can help them recognize the potential problems."

Remember that this is a spiral. Many people have to quit several times before they can quit for good. Each time, they know a little more about quitting. But when the spiral comes around, if you want to be supportive you will have to acknowledge what stage they are in, and help them appropriately. And if they have the "I'll never be able to quit" attitude, it means heading straight back toward pre-contemplation, where you gently point out how the addictive behavior is having a negative impact. It helps that here you can be encouraging by saying, "you quit for 3 months, you can quit for 3 months again, and maybe 4 this time" or something similar.

"You cannot guide me to my destination unless you learn from which direction I come from, or where it is I stand." -- Jade

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Mon, Aug. 20th, 2012 09:20 pm (UTC)

WOW, recently you sure have been on the roll in posting here on LJ. haha Kewl

Mon, Aug. 20th, 2012 09:38 pm (UTC)
jadxia: Yup sure have

It's a bunch of work, but posting every day helps keep on on track for my recovery. Even when I don't do the other things....