Tag Archives: relapse prevention

One Member Shares His Experience of a Near Relapse

One of our members faced a tough time in his recovery. His recovery was challenged by someone who came to his home with the intention of selling a substance to him. Listen in to this opiate recovery podcast as they give support to this member. They walk through a process to better understand the situation and develop a relapse prevention plan.

Discussion Guide:

Describe a situation that caused, or nearly caused, a relapse.

What was your intention at the time? What did you want to have happen?

What was your belief about the situation? What were the automatic thoughts that came to your mind? Can you identify faulty thinking?

What were your feelings? What emotions caused you be vulnerable at the time?

What was, or could have been, the negative effect of a relapse to yourself? To others?

What is your prevention plan? Identify the steps you will take to avoid a future relapse.


Trauma and Addiction are Connected

It is not surprising that people who have been traumatized are more likely to abuse substances. For example, those who have been sexually abused are more likely to use drugs than the general public. It is said that they are 3.4 times more likely to use marijuana, 6 times more likely to use cocaine, 10 times more likely to use other major drugs. This podcast explores the connection between trauma and addiction. Listen in to hear this opiate recovery group discuss their experiences and opinions.

Discussion Guide:

Have you experienced trauma?

Do you believe the trauma predisposed you to an addiction?

What would you say the root cause of your addiction is?

Some say that you are as sick as your secrets. Have you had counseling to address the trauma?

If you went to rehab, were you in a dual diagnosis program? Was it helpful?

What would you look for in a counselor?

Supplemental Reading:

Jennifer Storm, How Trauma, Victimization and Addiction Are All Connected, http://www.thefix.com/how-trauma-victimization-and-addiction-are-all-connected

Kaiser Permanente, Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) Questionnaire http://www.ncjfcj.org/sites/default/files/Finding%20Your%20ACE%20Score.pdf

Opiatesupportgroup.com Podcast, Childhood Trauma Is Found to Underlie Most Addictions, May 21, 2017

Ask the Expert: Dr. Sarz Maxwell Talks about Addiction Treatment

Dr. Sarz Maxwell, psychiatrist, stopped by to talk to the support group. She addressed various types of treatment for opioid addiction. The most frequently recommended treatment for opioid dependence is detox. The problem is that detox is offered as if it were treatment. But detox is not treatment, it is a procedure. Listen in to hear what she has to say about the cause of opioid addiction, the course of its progression, and its treatment.

Discussion Guide:

Name all the different types of treatments for opioid addiction that you are familiar with. Which did you try?

How is detox different from treatment?

What do you believe causes opioid addiction? Brain chemistry, hereditary factors, trauma, stress, or other pre-existing conditions?

Which contributed to your personal addiction?

How long does current research recommend you stay in treatment?

Are there negative, long term consequences from Methadone and Suboxone?

If there is no magic cure for your disease, what is your long term plan to manage it?





Staying Clean Is Not Easy: Barriers to Long Term Abstinence

Getting clean may be easier than staying clean. Long-term recovery can be a challenge without the right support. There are many barriers that cause former drug abusers to become discouraged if they are not able to establish a stable life. Examples are lack of housing and employment. Listen to this recovery support group talk about external and internal barriers that might make them give up.

Discussion Guide:

What are the things you need to give up when you begin a recovery program?

What are you adding to your life when you are in recovery?

What are the barriers to maintaining drug abstinence?

Supplementary Reading:

J. Kelly, J. R. McKay, A Plante, The Fix, Remove the Barriers to Addiction Recovery, 


Those Darned Emotions

Relapses are often a result of poorly handled emotions. Alcohol, drugs or addictive behaviors used to provide temporary relief from those feelings, but recovery provides an opportunity to learn new coping skills. Addicts need effective ways of tolerating, managing and making sense of the negative feelings encountered in daily life. Listen in to this group of people in recovery discuss their emotions.

Discussion Guide:

Complete the sentences using the following emotions: Shame, Love, Anger, Sadness, Fear, Grief, Anxiety, Embarrassment

What I learned as a child about (fill in the emotion) is.

How I came to cope with (fill in the emotion) is.

What I now know about (fill in the emotion) is.

How I cope now with (fill in the emotion) is.

Which feelings are the easiest for you to manage?

Which feelings are the hardest for you to manage?

Supplemental Resources:

Communication Technique to deal with intense emotion: (complete the sentence)

1. I notice that (state the facts of the upsetting event in a neutral way).

2. My vulnerable emotion is (state the feelings that underlie anger).

3. My request is (what would you like to have happen in this situation).

The Emotional Barometer, Bright Futures Treatment Center, http://blog.brightfuturestreatment.com/substance-abuse/relapse-prevention-emotional-barometer/

Top 11 Reasons for Relapse

There are a million and one reasons why people who struggle with an addiction relapse. They can be categorized into 11 reasons. Listen to a group of people in recovery from opiate addiction discuss their reasons for having relapsed in the past.

Discussion Guidelines:

Here's a list of eleven common reasons for relapsing:

  1. Grief and Loss
  2. Environment (housing, finances, unemployment, drugs)
  3. Reward
  4. Relationships with Drug Users
  5. Overwhelming Stress
  6. Abuse or Trauma
  7. Pain Relief (withdrawal symptoms, emotional or physical pain)
  8. Drinking (can lower inhibitions)
  9. Revenge (oppositional defiance)
  10. Not Being Fully Committed
  11. Self-Sabotage

What were your reasons for relapsing in the past?

What might cause you to relapse in the future?

Do you have a relapse prevention plan?

In what ways can you further develop your prevention plan?

Which of these eleven reasons might cause early relapse and premature drop-out from treatment?

Supplemental Reading:

Common Relapse Triggers, Alcohol Rehab

Terence Gorski, How To Develop A Relapse Prevention Plan

Is Willpower Enough?

Most people would think that the addict needs willpower to achieve drug abstinence. But is it enough? Listen in to a group of people in recovery as they discuss their opinions on what it takes to make lasting change.

Discussion Guide:

Would you agree that drug abstinence is achieved through willpower?

Is your willpower stronger at certain times of the day, or in certain circumstances?

What steps are necessary to create the conditions for abstinence?

What steps have you taken to ensure success?

Supplemental Reading:

How To Overcome Addiction and Make Lasting Changes In Your Life, Benjamin Hardy http://www.huffingtonpost.com/benjamin-hardy/how-to-overcome-addiction_b_9868026.html

Setting Goals and Achieving Milestones Can Prevent Relapse

Each day of sobriety is an important victory. Early in recovery, you count the days that you’ve been drug free. But in middle stages of recovery, the excitement wears off.  Achieving drug abstinence is only the first step in recovery. The next step is to rebuild a stable and fully functioning life. Setting goals and achieving milestones can keep you motivated.

Discussion Guide:

Do you count your days of sobriety?

Did you become stagnated in your recovery process?

Do you mark sobriety milestones with a symbol of celebration such as a medallion, chip or pin?

Once you reached a period of sobriety, did you have difficulty attaining the next level of functioning in your life, such as rebuilding a stable life?

What are your talents, passions and skills? Do you know your personality traits and core values? These form the basis of your life goals.

Supplemental Reading:

The World Needs You To Do What You Love, by Arina Nikitina http://www.goal-setting-guide.com/the-world-needs-you-to-do-what-you-love/

Credit and appreciation is given to author, Jason M. S. for his article “The Importance of Setting Goals and Milestones”. However, his identification is withheld for purposes of confidentiality.