The devastating effects of a heroin addiction cannot be overstated. Affecting countless men and women in Northern California & throughout the world, heroin addiction wreaks havoc on the minds and bodies of everyone it touches, causing damage to physical and mental health, to productivity at school and work, and to relationships with friends and loved ones. Because of its extremely addictive properties, professional help is typically needed to end a dependence on heroin, leaving addicted individuals seemingly powerless against this potentially life-threatening substance.
Individuals who make the choice to enter a residential treatment center to work towards recovery from an addiction to heroin are taking an incredibly brave and difficult step. Progressing through detox, completing a stay in treatment, and preparing to reintegrate oneself into daily life requires a strong will and an unshakable resolve. When one is preparing to discharge from a residential treatment center, it is a time to celebrate all the hard work and perseverance that went into achieving sobriety. However, it is also an important transitional time, and attention must be paid to aftercare planning to ensure that one has the support needed to maintain sobriety after his or her time in residential care has come to a close.
Reasons Why People Relapse from Heroin
When a person resumes using heroin after achieving sobriety, he or she is considered to have experienced a relapse. And while they can be disappointing and frustrating, relapses affect many individuals who are working to achieve sustained sobriety. During relapse recovery treatment, programming is often dedicated to creating plans for relapse prevention for patients who are preparing to step down their level of care. Relapses can occur for many reasons, and each individual must work to identify both the unique strengths that will be helpful in preventing heroin relapse, as well as the challenges that may cause them to feel tempted to use heroin again. The following briefly describes some of the common reasons that a relapse may occur:
- Unexpected loss or distressing life events
- Untreated symptoms of a co-occurring mental health disorder
- Exposure to people, places, or situations that provoke the temptation to abuse
- Failure to follow through with an aftercare plan
- Questioning the decision to maintain sobriety, wondering if the hardship is worth it
How to Prevent Heroin Relapse at Duffy’s in Northern California
Relapse happens to many people who are working toward recovery, and should not be viewed as a symptom of weakness or failure. For individuals who do not have an intimate knowledge of addiction, it may be difficult to understand why a person who has worked so hard to get sober would want to use heroin ever again. But those in the recovery community know that while relapse is indeed a setback, it is also evidence of just how powerful addiction can be. Heroin relapse does not mean that an individual has to revert back to the very beginning of the healing process, but it does signal that additional supports are needed.
Fortunately, for those individuals preparing to leave treatment, aftercare planning services are available to help prevent relapse from occurring. The following briefly describes some of the many tools and techniques that have been shown to help men and women remain steadfast in their commitment to sobriety as they exit residential care:
- Seek out support from trusted friends and family who can provide a listening ear in times of temptation.
- Join a recovery support group in your community so that you can share your experiences with other individuals who have had similar experiences.
- Avoid places and situations that you know may trigger temptation.
- Steer clear of people who do not support your choice to remain sober, and instead seek out new connections that include individuals who care about your health and well-being.
- Create a daily schedule and stick to it.
- Practice the coping skills you know work for you, and take time to learn new ones.
- Engage in all aspects of your aftercare plan, and do not wait to begin accessing these services.
- If you were not afforded an aftercare plan upon leaving heroin abuse treatment, take the initiative to begin researching options for continued care in your community.
- If you feel that additional heroin abuse treatment is needed, seek out the level of care you require to continue your commitment to sober living.
While there is no one type of aftercare plan that equates to success for every individual, supports like those listed above have been shown to insulate against the temptation to use heroin after leaving treatment. At Duffy’s Napa Valley Heroin Relapse Recovery Program in Northern California, our staff of compassionate, experienced professionals make discharge planning an important part of treatment planning for all our patients. If you or a loved one would like to learn more about pathways to healing and sustained recovery at Duffy’s, we hope that you will contact us at your earliest convenience. A brighter tomorrow is just a phone call away.