How Can Reintegration Lead to Relapse?

When we finish a treatment program and are returning to our regular lives, there are some common factors in the reintegration process that can be particularly triggering which can contribute to our relapsing. We are often hopeful that we can continue our sobriety once we’ve re-entered our former lives, our homes, families, environments and lifestyles, but we can be challenged by certain things that test our ability to stay the course. What are some of the ways in which reintegration can lead to relapse?

When coming out of treatment, we very often haven’t put into place the systems that will help us to maintain our sobriety. We haven’t set up a continued care plan with our facility. We may not have set up appointments with a therapist or found one to work with. We might not have given thought to relapse prevention. We might not yet be connected with a sponsor. All of these things can help us to prevent relapse when we’re reintegrating. Seek out the help of your facility and loved ones to make sure you’re taking these important steps. Don’t leave it all until you’re home alone, stressed out and tempted to use.

While in treatment, we’re temporarily removed from the problems and issues we were struggling with when we left. When we come home, everything can all come rushing back to us. We can find ourselves stressed and overwhelmed by all of it. We’re pressured to return to work right away. We have all the regular responsibilities and obligations to get back to. We can feel inundated with communication, requests and demands from loved ones. If we haven’t sought out the support to deal with all of these things, we can easily let the stress of it all cause us to slip up. Returning home can feel anxiety-inducing rather than comforting. We can feel attacked rather than supported.

Our former lives were often filled with addiction of all kinds. We were surrounded by addiction in our friends and families. There is evidence of addiction everywhere in our homes and towns. Our lifestyles might have been conducive to addiction. For example, if we were overly isolated, we might be more prone to resorting to our addictive behaviors. If we’re experiencing boredom and a lack of purpose, we can very easily be tempted to return to the feelings of escapism we got from our high. We can find ourselves suffering from depression given the addiction and hopelessness surrounding us, and we often will self-medicate to cope with the pain. Our inability to cope with our painful emotions, and our long-standing habit of self-medicating ourselves from them, can lead to relapse when we’re reintegrating.

Treatment at Riverside Recovery includes mindfulness-based relapse prevention education as well as intensive outpatient programs, to help you prepare for reintegration and to allow you to continue your recovery work. We’re here to support you through the entire recovery process. Call (800) 871-5440 for more information.