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Preventing Relapse

Along with introducing patients to the unconditional love and forgiveness offered through Jesus Christ, helping addicts to maintain sobriety is a critical job of the Road Less Traveled Team. A person submitting their life to Jesus Christ has eternal ramifications. Starting the process of Biblical literacy is also of immeasurable value.  However, if the patient cannot remain sober, we might have only succeeded in creating smarter biblically literate addicts.  The act of using drugs or alcohol is the just end result of a process that begins long beforehand.  Often times addicts relapse when it is more painful to stay sober than it is to get “high”.

All addicts eventually face a challenge even more difficult than stopping drinking or using drugs — coping with life without them!  Doing so involves a whole lot more than just “putting the cork in the bottle”.  They must learn a completely new way of life.  We often refer to this process as “recovery” — the Bible calls it “sanctification” — a definite ongoing program of personal growth.

Some Relapse Prevention Strategies

Spiritual  Activities – Worship, prayer, Bible Study, and scripture memory all equip the person new to sobriety  to overcome temptation and live a life that is pleasing to God.  One especially important area where they need special help is in learning how to form healthy relationship and avoid destructive ones.  Unhealthy relationships, especially of the romantic sort, are one of the biggest causes of relapse.  Teaching about godly relationships, helps them to avoid the enmeshments of unhealthy relationship.

Addiction Education – Gaining more knowledge about addiction serves some very important functions.  It helps the addict in denial accept their condition. And, this knowledge can be a tremendous source of comfort and reassurance for those struggling with post acute withdrawal symptoms and the emotional difficulties that come with early recovery.  Newly sober addicts need to understand that they are suffering from a life threatening condition that is shared by others. It also gives hope that change is possible.

One on One Counseling – Every patient at the Treatment Center participates in individual sessions with a therapist member who understands addiction and supports them through the struggles of early recovery.  Relapse is a process — no one is working a solid program of recovery one day and drunk the next. Therefore, one very important goal of these sessions is to help them to recognize their relapse patterns and learn to interrupt them before the process leads to actual use.

Adapted from Preventing Relapse by Michael Liimatta

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