Once an executive recovers from addiction to alcohol or drugs with treatment in a rehab facility, the next big challenge is the question of preventing relapse.
Recovery from alcohol or other drugs is a process of personal growth with developmental milestones. At any stage of recovery, there is a risk of relapsing, making relapse prevention skills highly important to know and understand.
Some of the most common triggers of relapse include:
- Falling into old habits
- Money problems
- Certain sights and smells
- Certain people or places
- Relationship issues
The strategy used by successful addiction treatment centres includes an integrative approach to mind, body, and spiritual healing. Examples of relapse prevention skills include:
Insomnia and fatigue are considered to be common withdrawal symptoms when recovering from addiction. Reports indicate that these are also common potential triggers for relapse. Practicing self-care, including regular physical exercise, following a healthy balanced diet, getting a better quality of sleep is some of the recommended follow-up work after discharge from rehab. By doing this, the recovering executive can retrain their body to be healthy and sleep better which will also help reduce the risk of relapse.
Practice Grounding Techniques
Stress and anxiety are considered the biggest obstacles to recovery. A practical technique to prevent relapse is a grounding method called the 5-4-3-2-1 coping technique. It involves the five senses to focus on the present moment and avoid thoughts and cravings to abuse alcohol or drugs. This method is also used by experts to overcome unhealthy thoughts, anxiety, negative self-talk, or other thought patterns that could lead someone to want to use to escape.
The 5 steps begin by taking a few deep breaths, followed by the following:
- 5: Acknowledge five things you see around you
- 4: Acknowledge four things you can touch around you
- 3: Acknowledge three things you can hear around you
- 2: Acknowledge two things you can smell around you
- 1: Acknowledge one thing you can taste around you
This exercise will be ended with a deep long breath. Focusing on your senses will help you have mindfulness and gain self-awareness which will help to do daily activities, get over unhealthy feelings or thoughts, feel in control without overwhelm, and reduce the risk of relapse.
The key concept of mindfulness is to pay attention, be aware, and have a focus on what you’re doing, who you’re with, where you are, etc. A comparative study found significant improvement in individuals in recovery who followed a mindfulness meditation relapse prevention program when compared to those who didn’t follow mindfulness meditation.
The logic is that mindfulness meditation increases people’s self-awareness, and when we are more self-aware, we can cope better with potential triggers to relapse. The individuals using mindfulness meditation generally remain sober for longer with fewer cravings. Acceptance that cravings will come is a learned skill through this practice and is part of relapse prevention skills. Concepts such as acceptance, letting go of personal control, and the use of prayer and meditation are the key strategies in mindfulness meditation.
Successful Executive rehab programs integrate relapse prevention skills into each recovering person’s daily schedule and routine to prevent or reduce the risk of cravings.