There are many things that people in substance abuse treatment can do to relapse and going back to their habitual addictive behavior or substance. However, there are some that generally impede the advancement of treatment. The first complication is believing that addiction to a substance is the only problem.
It is very common to hear many people say that problems with other substances, which they were also taking before entering treatment, are not really part of the problem. A patient may think: “The real problem I have is with drinking alcohol, I don’t see why I can’t smoke marijuana since everyone smokes.”
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Why would someone seeking help, because of a serious health difficulty, downplay the fact that marijuana is part of that difficulty? The answer is simple. It’s all about fooling yourself into thinking you can control it. Desperately, you try to believe that you can keep using and just stop drinking alcohol. This person cannot see reality. He is powerless in the face of all mind-altering substances. The best option to make the treatment work lies in total abstinence from all substances that alter the mind.
From One Addiction To The Other
The use of any drug increases the probability of using the drug of choice. For example, drinking alcohol increases the probability of using cocaine 8 times, and smoking marijuana increase the probability 3 times. The addiction crusade is more likely to occur where one substance is replaced by another. No one can learn from their experiences if they are intoxicated with one drug or another.
The brain simply cannot process such information correctly. For someone to make a full recovery, they must also remain completely sober of all substances. This is so because the basic process of searching for, consuming, and recovering from toxic effects is essentially the same.
Drugs anesthetize or confuse emotions and then interfere with rehabilitation. If fear is felt in recovery, the person must deal with that fear. If you have suffered a loss, you must learn to live with it without anesthetizing the pain. Instead of shutting up the pain, the person can talk about it. The pain and difficulties are recognized not as insurmountable obstacles, but as great teachers that provide valuable information.
The Recovery Process
The addict is considered recovered:
- When you don’t need to revert to addictive behavior once a problem occurs in your everyday life. You have already learned and internalized those mechanisms and practices that you have known throughout the treatment.
- You are able to apply these mechanisms successfully in a real conflict situation.
If relapses occur, it is very important to resume treatment, either in the form of admission or with outpatient therapy, to rework those defense mechanisms that have failed. Relapses should not be taken as treatment failure. Addiction rehab therapy is a difficult and long process, and relapses are a logical reaction when this disease has raged for years.
The best option to make the treatment work lies in total abstinence from all substances. As is usually recommended, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to consult your doctor.