Returning to a Place of Strength: 3 Reasons to Go Back to Treatment
In times of stress and uncertainty, it is a protective instinct that sends us back to the places we feel safe. Returning to a solid foundation and safe environment allows us to breathe more easily, see more clearly, and regain our equilibrium.
If you are considering returning to an inpatient or outpatient addiction treatment program, know that many of those in recovery need long-term or repeated treatment to achieve lifelong sobriety.
You Are Not Alone
At least 10 percent of Americans consider themselves to be in recovery from alcohol or drug abuse1 and struggle with maintaining their goals. Just like other chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension, managing addiction is an ongoing process. Patients with all of these diseases sometimes don’t follow their treatment programs and need additional medical care.
This just means that not many people who step into outpatient drug rehab centers are able to immediately stop and never touch drugs again. Recovery is a journey that will have obstacles, steep climbs, and sometimes slips backwards. Persistence, rather than perfection, will get you there.
Taking responsibility for managing your own health means knowing when to return for more treatment. Your instincts are likely telling you the truth. One treatment package may not be enough, and that’s normal. Be honest with yourself about what you can overcome alone.
The Survey Says
Extensive research into drug rehab statistics success rates shows that relapse and “slips” are quite common. A slip refers to a single incident with an immediate return to healthy behavior, while a relapse is defined as lasting more than one day and often means a complete return to old behavior patterns.
Relapse rates are 40-60% among all users who tried to quit, while 70-90% have at least one slip.2 It is important to note that these rates are similar to the relapse rates of other chronic diseases. It’s not surprising that drastically changing daily choices and behavior patterns requires continued support and reinforcement.
Rather than labeling these relapses as a failure of the person or the program, we should define success in recovery differently. Each day of sobriety is a success, but there is no magic pill to cure addiction. Achieving sustained sobriety is always possible despite temporary setbacks, as long as we don’t give up.
Defeating Shame and Blame
Many patients who face challenges in recovery feel they have let down their support group, family, and friends. They might try to hide their slips or relapse or may completely withdraw from their support system, giving up because they feel they have failed, or thinking that they can fix the problem without going back to inpatient or outpatient rehab.
Admitting that you need a solid foundation under your feet to get back on track should not be a source of shame. The longer the old behaviors continue the longer your health and recovery are in danger. Heading back to a recovery program and using the best tools available to treat your disease is a positive, mature, and healthy response to a setback.
The 3 Signs You Should Come Back to Treatment
There are many individual reasons to return to treatment, but these 3 signs should not be ignored. You should seek additional help and support if:
- You Start Using Again
Rather than looking at this as a failure, consider relapse a part of the recovery journey. Have compassion for yourself and faith in your ability to change your direction. Each time it will become easier. But be honest with yourself about the likelihood that you can prevent another slip without a solid support system under your feet.
A relapse might mean another detox period which is very difficult on your own. No matter how bad the relapse and how low the bottom, remember that there is support waiting for you in outpatient drug treatment centers.
Addicts nearly always relapse because of drug-related triggers and contact with the pressures and stresses that caused their drug use in the first place. Getting away from these triggers and returning to intensive therapy to build new connections is the right choice when you find yourself slipping.
- You Have Sudden Intense Cravings
Returning to the same places, seeing visual cues like paraphernalia, even smelling certain scents or hearing certain music can create sudden intense cravings triggered by habit pathways in the brain. Maybe you’ve resisted all temptation so far, but you feel like it’s getting more difficult instead of easier with time.
Proactively returning to treatment might be drug addiction relapse prevention. The knowledge you gained about yourself in treatment is paying off now. There’s strength in turning away from temptation and going back to therapy. Your health and safety should be your first priority. Don’t let pride stand in the way of this important step, be proud that you can now recognize the edge and step away from it.
Recognizing these cravings and identifying their triggers is a positive thing. You might be finding that there are triggers in your life that you weren’t aware of on your first visit to treatment. Addressing these newly identified issues might be another reason it is wise to return for more expert guidance.
- Your Inner Voice Tells You to Go
Connecting with your spiritual side in therapy might have given you a connection that tries to tell you when your recovery is in danger. Maybe you know a major life change is happening and that your sobriety is at risk. When your gut and your heart agree and your inner voice tells you to retreat to safety, listen carefully.
You might have left outpatient drug rehab well on your way to expanding your life with career or educational goals. Perhaps your relationship was a focus of your therapy. If you are still successfully abstaining but are stalled out in reaching these other goals because sobriety takes 100% of your focus at all times, more time in treatment might be the right next step.
The wonderful thing is that recovery creates triggers just as drug abuse does. Long-term attendance in group therapy and meetings teaches the brain to visualize healing behaviors in response to cravings, such as calling a sober friend. Building these new pathways in the brain requires repetition, which is one reason staying longer or going back to treatment is so effective. In time we separate the trigger from the old behavior and associate it with the reward of wellness.
Caught in a Revolving Door?
What if you have tried several times to go it alone and are unable to remain sober without active treatment? Some individuals react to outside triggers and temptations more strongly, or have cravings that overcome their decision-making ability as soon as they have access. They wisely return to a treatment program but repeat this cycle over and over again.
It is much better to return to safety than to give up on your sobriety, but maintaining your recovery while enjoying the expanded opportunities of the outside world is the ultimate goal. It might be helpful to try a more intensive outpatient treatment program based on research-based therapies and evidence-based treatments. Seek out an individualized program that will teach you to take your strength and balance with you when you walk out the door.
Reclaim Your Future at RECO Intensive
An individualized outpatient drug treatment program’s mission is to treat the whole person. At RECO Intensive, we offer a wide variety of evidence-based therapy options to guide our clients to long-lasting recovery. Mind, body, and spirit all need healing in order to prevent relapse. New passions and interests need to replace the destructive habits. RECO focuses on full spectrum recovery.
Expanding your capacity for healing and rebuilding relationships with family are part of the personalized program we offer. Our intensive outpatient treatment facility in Delray Beach is the perfect environment to find your path to sobriety. Using an integrative, experiential model we will help you achieve all of your goals.
If you are thinking of going back into a treatment program to restore or protect your recovery, don’t wait – heed the warning signs and reach out to us today. Our intensive program is an ideal springboard to lifetime sobriety. It will propel you past the storm of addiction and into the clear, bright world of your chosen future.