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Relapse Prevention Counseling

There are hundreds of triggers and reasons for relapse, but most of them are easily identifiable.  For example, some people are triggered by having extra money in their bank account or hanging out with friends who use.  However, sometimes people continue to relapse over and over again, and they struggle to identify the reason.  At Silver Lining we have worked with many people who struggle with chronic relapse and have helped them identify the underlying reason.  Here are just some of the causes of chronic relapse.

An Unhealthy Relationship

This is one of the harder causes to identify, especially when it comes to a romantic partner like a long-term significant other.  The reason for this is that when someone has been in a romantic relationship for a long time, like a marriage, the dynamics of the marriage can be interpreted as normal by the person in recovery, especially if they have been in the relationship for many years.  For example, “My partner has always treated me this way, so it must be normal, right?”  Wrong.  Unhealthy dynamics in a long term relationship, like emotional or verbal abuse, may have led the person to use substances to cope with low self esteem, guilt, or shame as a result of the relationship.  However, they are so used to the relationship and how they are treated that they don’t identify it as  a problem right away when they get sober .  Obviously in this case we are not talking about domestic violence or overt forms of abuse.  We are talking about more covert forms of abuse or mistreatment that are harder to identify.  Some questions to ask yourself if you think you might be in an unhealthy relationship are:

Is my partner too controlling?

Does my partner talk down to me?

Does my partner hold me responsible for their feelings?

Do I experience fear or anxiety due to how my partner might react?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be in an unhealthy relationship.  Sometimes the feelings of fear, anxiety, guilt, and shame, can trigger someone to continue to relapse over and over again.   Silver Lining can help you identify if your relationship is unhealthy your relationship and help you to set boundaries in the relationship..  What must be said is that if you being physically abused, you can call a domestic violence hot line.  In Charlotte, that number is 980-771-4673    You always deserve to feel safe.  

An Underlying Process Addiction

A process addiction has the same characteristics as a substance addiction, except that it is an addiction involving behavior instead of using a substance.  Examples of process addictions include sex addiction, shopping addiction, love addiction, gaming addiction, etc.  Any behavior that is being used as a way to cope with feelings or escape from uncomfortable feelings that starts to cause problems in your life could be a process addiction.  Process addictions do not include using a substance or eating issues, these are separate disorders.  Process addictions are common in recovery because it is easy to transfer substance addiction to an addictive behavior.  However, what can happen is that if the process addiction is severe, it can lead to feelings of anxiety, depression, and severe mood swings that can trigger relapse.  If you think you may have a process addiction, call us now to set up a free phone consultation. 

An Untreated Co-occurring Disorder

Having an untreated co-occurring disorder like anxiety, depression, or bipolar disorder is another common reason for chronic relapse.  It’s normal to feel anxious and depressed in early sobriety, however if the anxiety or depression were caused by the addiction then you should see some relief by the time you are 60-90 days sober.  If you are still noticing mental health symptoms that are interfering with daily functioning at 60-90 days sober, then there is a good chance you have a co-occurring disorder.  Sometimes people assume that sobriety is supposed to feel this way and don’t seek help, however not seeking help for another mental health disorder can definitely trigger relapse.  If you feel as though you may have a co-occurring disorder call us now to set up a free phone consultation.  It’s really important to identify co-occurring disorders early on in the recovery process so that you can begin treatment as soon as possible in order to avoid relapse.  If you are having any thoughts of hurting yourself or others, please call 911 immediately or go to your nearest hospital emergency room.

A History of Trauma

There are a number of studies that show that anyone with a history of trauma has a harder time staying sober compared to someone who has not experienced trauma.  Studies also show that women struggle with chronic relapse at higher rates than men because most women who develop addiction have experienced a traumatic event before developing an addiction.  Whether or not someone has a PTSD diagnosis, having experienced trauma can lead to increased anxiety, trouble sleeping, and feeling stressed and on edge.  Having a diagnosis of PTSD can lead to even more severe symptoms that can interfere with daily functioning.  Many people who have a trauma history continue to relapse because they have not resolved the past trauma, and it continues to trigger unpleasant emotional and physical symptoms.  If you have experienced a traumatic event or situation, and you feel as though it could be impacting your ability to stay sober it is a good idea to get some help.  Silver Lining specializes in working with women who have experienced trauma.  Call us today to set up a free phone consultation.