Major Causes of Relapse
• Denial -
inability to accept that one is indeed addicted to alcohol and/or drugs and that it is a primary cause of life problems.
Acute Withdrawal Syndrome- inability to cope with a set of very stressful, physiologically-based symptoms that occur
only after use of alcohol and drugs has stopped
• Emotional Dysfunction - inability to cope with feelings
such as grief, depression, stress, fear, etc., without mind altering substances.
• Relational Dysfunction -
inability to develop and maintain healthy relationships with others.
• Temptation - inability
to deal with the issue of sin in one's life.
• Dishonesty - the inability to maintain a commitment
to rigorous honesty which is the foundation of a life of recovery.
Relapse Prevention Strategies
1. 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, even in the sexual area, helps them to avoid getting caught up with people that are not good for
Relapse Seriously - It must be clearly understood that use of alcohol or drugs results in immediate dismissal
from the program. This could mean simply being asked to leave the facility, demotion to "transient"
status or referral to another program. After thirty days, the client can be reassessed for reentry
to the program. The worst possible situation is to give them the impression that everyone has at least
one drunk "in the bank." We can be assured that they will use it!
3 Addiction Education -
Gaining more knowledge about addiction serves two very important functions. It helps the addict in
denial accept his 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 malady that is shared by others. It also gives hope that change
is possible. Many resources are available: lending libraries, literature, videos, and local professionals
who can speak at the mission. Contact AA for information on educational resources for use
in a mission setting.
on One Counseling - Every participant in a long-term program needs at least one hour a week with a staff member
who understands addiction to help 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 interrupt them before the process leads
to actual use.
Groups - Good support groups provide recovering addicts with find a safe, non-judgmental setting to share their
struggles, thoughts, and feelings without fear of rejection. Hearing the stories of others with similar
difficulties and how they overcame them provides real encouragement to go on in a life of sobriety. Because
addiction wreaks havoc upon an individual's relationships with others, support groups are also a great place to begin the
difficult and painful process of re-connecting with other people. (find Christian Support Programs / groups in