A Guide to Surviving the Holidays Sober

Surviving the Holidays Sober | Recovery By The Sea

There is a lot of support out there for people dedicated to recovery from drugs or alcohol. This is particularly necessary during the holidays. Buying gifts, going to events and parties, and seeing relatives can create a lot of stress. This time period can amplify urges and undermine resolve that was recently solid. It is important to take time to prepare for these challenges in order to protect our sobriety.

Tips for Holiday Sobriety

1. If you are considering drinking or using, think about how you will feel tomorrow.

Relapse can happen in seconds, but the effects can be much longer-lasting. When that moment is gone, and you are now facing a new day, you’ll likely experience intense regret. This may be coupled by another hangover or a comedown from using drugs. In addition to depression, anxiety, shame and other negative emotions.

Everyone in recovery should know that sobriety takes place in the present. Saying yes to using substances places sobriety in the past and changes our future potential. Ask yourself if you really want to undermine your recovery by giving up even a single moment, hour, or day?

2. If necessary, admit to your family and friends that you don’t want to drink or use.

If you have been through rehab, there’s a good chance a lot of people already know this. Still, the holidays are a special time, and many people have to face enablers and others who don’t understand why you can’t have just one drink, toke, or whatever. Sometimes you just have to be firm with people, especially those who you have gotten drunk or used with in the past.

3. Carry some other drink in your hand so you can readily turn down other drinks.

If you are already drinking something non-alcoholic, this can serve more than one purpose. If you are new to recovery, staying hydrated and having drinks that are sugary and taste good, such as soda, hot cocoa, or eggnog, can help you resist cravings. It’s a well-established fact that alcoholics in recovery frequently experience sugar cravings, and allowing yourself to indulge might be vital to staving off temptation.

Of note, this approach might not work as well if you are addicted to other substances, such as opioids, cocaine, or meth.

Surviving the Holidays Sober | Recovery By The Sea

4. Call another sober person or sponsor or go to a meeting.

Many people in recovery find it beneficial to “bookend” holiday events with meetings or conversations with AA sponsors. Locating meeting places and times in advance can help you schedule and structure your day around group support.

If meetings are not an option, having another sober friend or sponsor on hand can also be helpful. If tempted to drink or use at a family gathering or other event, you can step away and call this person and solicit advice. In some cases, you might be able to take this person with you, and that can add further accountability and confidence to this day in recovery.

5. If this is your first holiday being clean or sober, consider making alternative plans if you feel certain situations could trigger you to drink or use.

In addition to going to meetings, there are other ways to structure your time away from people or places that may cause you stress. It’s okay to decline holiday plans this year if you feel it’s necessary. Instead, consider going out to dinner with someone else who will be sober, to a movie, volunteer at a shelter, or celebrate at home.

There is no wrong way to experience the holidays as long as you have the emotional support you need at hand. Please realize that you are not alone. Nearly every person who is in recovery from drugs or alcohol will have to go through this. And yes, that is millions of people.

6. Go about your day like any other when it comes to your recovery.

Regardless of whether it’s Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, or New Year’s, it is critical that you continue to engage in the healthy, productive behaviors that have helped to keep you sober thus far. These may include exercise, meditation, daily affirmations, etc. You shouldn’t neglect self-care because this day might unfold a bit differently. If you let yourself break free from your routine, this may result in an unconscious signal to the addict in you. It could trigger thoughts or feelings that can sabotage your efforts and your sobriety.

7. No matter what happens, be committed to not drinking or using.

Surviving the Holidays Sober | Recovery By The Sea

Ultimately, all the planning in the world, while helpful, can’t save you at any given moment. You have to do it for yourself. There are no excuses—it doesn’t matter if you are experiencing stress or feeling upset. You know that relapse is the wrong decision. If you are telling yourself anything else, you are lying to yourself. And others might be lying to you, as well—don’t listen.

Sometimes, the best way to ensure this doesn’t happen is just to accept that you should not put yourself in a position of temptation. As noted, it’s okay to stay home or do something that doesn’t involve being around people who are using substances. But you do have to have emotional support.

But If You Do Relapse, What Next?

Unfortunately, relapse is often a part of recovery, and sometimes, in weak moments, the unthinkable can happen. If this does happen, take steps immediately to rectify the situation.

Remember, not all relapses are equal. If you quickly return to a recovery routine that includes leaning heavily on sponsors, meetings, or even going back to rehab, you can break the cycle and prevent yourself from hitting rock bottom again. One of the most unfortunate aspects of relapse is that those who succumb to them allow themselves to wallow in guilt and shame. This is the last thing someone in this position should be doing.

Moreover, beating yourself up isn’t going to help you or anyone else. It will only serve to encourage you to continue to drown your sorrows in drugs or alcohol. Instead of doing this, be gentle on your emotions while being firm in your resolve to fix the problem before it gets any worse and take steps immediately to do so.

Getting Help for Substance Abuse and Addiction

If you are concerned that you are going to struggle during your recovery over the holidays or need help for addiction, we urge you to contact us today! Recovery By The Sea offers all of our clients comprehensive programs to treat substance abuse and mental health that is tailored to each individual’s unique needs and goals.

Please do not suffer alone during this time by taking advantage of professional treatment and services! Addiction is a chronic, long-lasting disease, but it can be effectively treated and managed for life in many cases. Call us today if you are ready to take the first step on your journey to sobriety and wellness!

⟹ READ THIS NEXT: Step 1 of Alcoholics Anonymous

What Is Partial Hospitalization Drug and Alcohol Rehab?

Partial Hospitalization Drug and Alcohol Rehab | Recovery By The Sea

A partial hospitalization program (PHP) is an intensive form of drug and alcohol rehab that often follows detox. It is characterized by an extended treatment period, which can last A partial hospitalization program (PHP) is an intensive form of drug and alcohol rehab that often follows detox. It is characterized by an extended treatment period, whi up to a month or sometimes longer, depending on an individual client’s needs. PHP patients will spend their days at the center receiving therapy, counseling, and other forms of treatment and support.

Who Benefits From PHP Drug and Alcohol Rehab?

PHP is especially beneficial in any of the following situations:

1) When a patient has completed an even more intensive form of treatment, such as a long-term residential stay.

2) When a patient’s addiction is not so severe that it cannot be addressed without overnight stays and complete inpatient care.

Residential drug rehab can help anyone who has completed a detox or inpatient program, but still needs some supervision and treatment for substance use disorders or any potential co-occurring disorders. Ultimately, anyone who is dedicated to recovery, able to commit to intensive treatment, and wants to improve their outcome and reduce their chance of relapse can benefit.

Overall, PHP programs offer an ideal environment for persons in recovery who are not yet fully prepared to face life’s temptations and challenges. PHP allows clients to interact and grow in an understanding and caring community of people who are facing the same difficulties with substance abuse.

One of the main drawbacks to PHP is the fact that people in this program may be more apt to experience a relapse than those in residential treatment. Moreover, this program requires that an individual be highly motivated to continue their recovery and be accountable for themselves. For those who have completed inpatient treatment, this is a great way to begin transitioning back to the outside world.

Components of PHP Drug and Alcohol Rehab

All clients enrolled in a Recovery By The Sea PHP rehab program will participate in therapeutic activities that help them improve their coping skills and function in daily life.

Features may include the following:

  • Comprehensive assessment, treatment planning, and case management services
  • Sessions with mental health professionals, such as individual cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Recreational therapies, such as yoga and meditation
  • Community meeting groups and daily group therapy that discuss a variety of topics, such as substance abuse, grief and loss, trauma, interpersonal relationships, self-esteem, and assertiveness
  • Music, art, and adventure therapy
  • Family and relationship counseling
  • Nutrition and wellness education
  • Trauma recovery therapy
  • Recreational activities
  • Aftercare and discharge planning

What Is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy?

Partial Hospitalization Drug and Alcohol Rehab | Recovery By The Sea

Our treatment programs focus heavily on behavioral therapy. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most effective forms of therapy used to treat recovering addicts and alcoholics. This form of psychotherapy helps individuals understand the relationship between their thoughts, behaviors, and emotional states. CBT teaches individuals to engage in more adaptive thinking, which in turn contributes to healthier behaviors.

Moreover, in CBT, patients learn to identify, manage, and modify thoughts that typically lead to negative responses. These skills can help patients prevent relapses and manage co-occurring mental health disorders that impact a person’s ability to remain sober.

Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders

A co-occurring disorder includes one or more mental health conditions that occur in conjunction with substance abuse or addiction. The mental illness may predate the substance abuse or may be caused or exacerbated by it. Regardless of which came first, both disorders must be treated concurrently.

Examples of mental health disorders that commonly co-occur with substance use disorders include the following:

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Depressive disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia
  • Anxiety disorders, such as social anxiety, panic disorder, or obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Personality disorders, such as borderline personality or histrionic personality disorder

Recovery By The Sea is equipped to diagnose and treat co-occurring disorders on a residential basis. Addressing mental health conditions in conjunction with addiction is almost always the preferred method clinicians use to achieve the best outcomes.

How Outpatient Programs are Different

There are several differences between PHP and actual outpatient treatment. PHP is characterized by a more intensive level of care than outpatient programs, which are often a step down from PHP treatment.

In an outpatient program, clients do not spend as much time at the center, and the work is not as intense as PHP. This flexibility allows them to maintain a work schedule and tend to any other important responsibilities, such as school or family.

Those who choose outpatient treatment before undergoing a residential stay or a PHP may do so because they cannot take time away from work or family, or because they have less severe substance abuse problems.

Getting Help for Addiction

Recovery By The Sea PHP drug and alcohol rehab programs are characterized by an evidence-based, outcome-focused treatment plan designed by our experienced medical staff. Our center incorporates a full daily schedule for clients in a nurturing, relaxing environment conducive to recovery. Upon completion of our PHP program, patients are highly encouraged to continue their treatment journey at an intensive outpatient level of care.

We are committed to ensuring that each person we serve is provided with the tools and support they desperately need to sustain long-term sobriety and wellness. You can reclaim the fulfilling life you deserve! Contact us today to find out how we can help you get started on your journey to recovery!

⟹ READ THIS NEXT: 12 Step Programs

How to Stay Sober Through Relapse Prevention

How to Stay Sober Through Relapse Prevention | Recovery By The Sea

How to Stay Sober Through Relapse Prevention – A person suffering from an alcohol use disorder (AUD)—also referred to as alcoholism or alcohol addiction—has a chronic brain disease. This condition affects the reward system, resulting in tolerance, dependence, and compulsive behaviors related to alcohol use.

People who seek help to recover from an AUD have many options available in the form of comprehensive, evidence-based treatment, which focuses on altering behaviors through therapy and counseling at a rehab program. However, because addiction is considered a chronic disease, there is a high potential for relapse.

In fact, about half of all people who suffer from addiction, including alcohol will relapse at some point, a rate similar to those of other chronic illnesses such as hypertension and diabetes. People with these conditions can go back to their doctor to adjust their treatment plan, which may include medication and lifestyle changes.

People who have an AUD can regard the concept of relapse in a comparable way—as a recurrence of symptoms of the disease that requires returning to further treatment to adjust some aspects of the care plan or the development of a new one. To appropriately treat relapse, it is vital to understand what it is. Once symptoms are identified, people should seek treatment as soon as possible.

What Is Relapse?

Receiving counseling, attending peer support groups, finding new pleasurable activities other than drinking, taking advantage of emotional support from family and friends, and cultivating ways to manage stress and avoid triggers can help people newly out of rehab stay sober. However, it is critical to realize that a relapse can happen, and being able to recognize the warning signs is among the most effective ways to avoid this and minimize damage associated with it.

Regarding addiction, relapse is defined as the for the inability to stay sober indefinitely. For those experiencing an AUD, this may result in a return to escalating alcohol use or consuming another drug that acts in a similar manner as alcohol.

A relapse doesn’t necessarily mean that treatment didn’t work. Instead, it implies that a person needs more time and help returning to sobriety, which could include additional or altered medications, better social support, or different strategies to reduce daily stress.

What Are the Warning Signs of Relapse?

How to Stay Sober Through Relapse Prevention | Recovery By The Sea

Signs of an impending relapse include the following:

Experiencing profound and uncontrollable emotions – People who have used substances such as alcohol to alter brain chemistry will have to acclimate to life without the help of self-medication. Moreover, adjusting to a job, family responsibilities, and social pressure can be challenging for a person just out of rehab. They may be able to take these tasks on and feel positive about the results, but may also be in denial about how worry and stress can wear them down.

Having difficulty accepting the changes in life – It’s not uncommon for people in recovery to experience stress related to schedule adjustments, health problems, or criticism more profoundly than others. They may have a more difficult time seeing the positive side, and subsequently, depressed or anxious feelings may lead to a relapse.

Holding the belief that relapse is improbable – In some cases, people erroneously believe that they have worked so hard to come so far that they will never relapse. Despite the statistics, they think they are somehow exempt from this risk. Falsely believing that relapse cannot and will not happen actually increases the risk of relapse.

Experiencing a loss of recovery commitment – People who stop attending support group meetings, therapy, or counseling sessions are at a heightened risk for relapse. Without mental and emotional support, the return to compulsive, negative behaviors is a looming threat.

Going to places or hanging out with friends associated with alcohol – Returning to old habits, such as visiting places where drinking occurred or tends to occur (e.g., bars or clubs), or spending time with friends who drink excessively or use drugs, places a person at risk for returning to problematic alcohol use.

Some other warnings signs that someone is in the midst of a relapse include:

  • Breath smells like alcohol
  • Being visibly intoxicated
  • Money goes missing
  • Missing or craving alcohol use
  • Bottles or debris present related to drinking
  • Being absent for extended periods or skipping work or school

How to Stay Sober: Developing a Relapse Prevention Plan

For some, relapse may seem unavoidable, but once again, this does not mean that treatment does not work. A treatment plan should also include relapse prevention strategies. Understanding relapse means one must be able to identify warning signs and find ways to avoid relapse when initial symptoms become present.

People recovering from AUD may be helped by prescription medication to mitigate cravings. For example, acamprosate and naltrexone are both prescribed in some cases to reduce cravings after the person has detoxed from alcohol. Reducing cravings helps the individual focus on their recovery and changing their behaviors concerning alcohol and finding new coping mechanisms.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one of the most commonly employed forms of therapy, often used in rehab and mental health treatment. This type of therapy focuses on understanding the causes of behaviors, recognizing how these behaviors are not consistent with a healthy life and a person’s values, and the learning of new, healthier behaviors. Working with a CBT therapist can help a person in recovery from AUD learn about the warning signs of relapse, and practice new skills and coping mechanisms in advance of this occurring.

How to Stay Sober Through Relapse Prevention | Recovery By The Sea

Some other methods to lower the risk of relapse include the following:

  • Get social support through a peer support group such as Alcoholics Anonymous or SmartRecovery
  • Associating with positive people who can help improve one’s mood
  • Remembering the acronym HALT (hungry, angry, lonely, or tired), as these moods can influence stress levels and lead to bad decisions
  • Learning new coping strategies, such as mindfulness meditation
  • Knowing signs of relapse and maintaining a diary to monitor for them
  • Immediately reach out for help in the event of a relapse

Working with a therapist or counselor to devise a relapse prevention plan can be extremely beneficial. This work includes developing a daily schedule for meals, logging experiences, engaging in supportive exercise, and finding others to talk to during stressful times.

A relapse prevention plan may also include a daily checklist, a list of reminders for appointments, and ways to identify triggers when they are encountered. This plan should also include a section detailing how to manage stress and triggers.

Getting Help For Alcoholism

The first step to overcoming addiction and solidifying your willingness to begin the recovery process is to seek treatment as soon as possible. Recovery By The Sea offers integrated treatment programs in both partial-hospitalization and outpatient formats, which include essential services such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, counseling, peer group support, and more.

We employ highly-trained addiction specialists who deliver these services to patients with compassion and expertise. We are dedicated to providing our patients with the resources and support they need to achieve abstinence and stay sober indefinitely!

If you or someone you love is struggling with an alcohol use disorder, contact us today to find out how we can help!

Revia and Vivitrol Vs. Suboxone

Vivitrol Vs. Suboxone | Recovery By The Sea Addiction Treatment

Revia and Vivitrol Vs. Suboxone – Suboxone and naltrexone (Revia and Vivitrol) are medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of opioid addiction. Both have been clinically proven to be beneficial for those entering recovery, but which one may be more appropriate or helpful for each individual depends on their personal needs and, sometimes, the severity of their addiction.

What Is Suboxone?

Suboxone contains two medications: buprenorphine and naloxone (not to be confused with naltrexone). Buprenorphine is an opioid used to treat addiction to other opioids and withdrawal symptoms. It can be administered sublingually (under the tongue) in films or tablet form or as a once-a-month, extended release injection (Sublocade). Naloxone is an opioid antagonist that is commonly used on its own to reverse opioid overdoses.

As an opioid, buprenorphine attaches to the body’s opioid receptors, but unlike heroin or prescription painkillers, it activates these receptors only partially. That means that the maximum or “ceiling” effects of buprenorphine, such as euphoria, do not occur as frequently and at a considerably lesser intensity than other opioids. For this reason, medications that contain buprenorphine can mitigate cravings and symptoms of opioid withdrawal with much less potential for abuse than other opioids, such as heroin.

Naloxone, the other component in Suboxone is included as an additional means to prevent abuse and overdose.

Benefits of Suboxone

Withdrawal from heroin and other opioids can be incredibly unpleasant and even painful. Suboxone minimizes withdrawal symptoms and cravings, two main instigators for relapse. It allows people in this phase to feel much better and reduce their suffering so they can better focus on the early recovery process.

Potential Disadvantages

Because it is an opioid, buprenorphine can, in some cases, be abused. If this occurs, a condition known as precipitated withdrawal can result.

Precipitated withdrawal occurs when a full or partial antagonist, such as buprenorphine, is administered to a patient dependent on full agonist opioids, such as heroin. Buprenorphine has both a high affinity for and low intrinsic activity on opioid receptors, so it displaces agonist opioids from these receptors without activating the receptor to an equivalent degree.

The inclusion of naloxone in Suboxone typically helps to prevent this from happening when used appropriately, but this can occur if the medication is dissolved and injected or smoked by a person tolerant to opioids. Moreover, health providers must have a waiver to prescribe buprenorphine, and the number of patients that a physician can treat for opioid addiction is restricted by law. Therefore, some physicians may not always be able to prescribe this medication to new patients.

Vivitrol Vs. Suboxone | Recovery By The Sea Addiction Treatment

What Are Naltrexone, Revia, and Vivitrol?

Naltrexone is a medication that does not activate receptors and instead blocks the effects of opioid medication, including pain relief or feelings of euphoria that can promote opioid abuse. Naltrexone is commonly used as part of a long-term treatment program for opioid dependence. Naltrexone both minimizes cravings for opioids and prevents users from getting high if they relapse and return to drug use.

Also, because naltrexone is not technically an opioid, there is no potential for misuse. For this reason, there are no special prescribing regulations placed on health providers, and it tends to be more commonly used in drug courts and prison systems. Many people who are skeptical of medication-assisted therapy for drug abuse appreciate the fact that naltrexone is not addictive and thus does not “replace one addiction with another.”

However, because naltrexone can cause precipitated withdrawal, it must only be administered after opioids have been eliminated from the body, unlike Suboxone. Of note, for reasons that aren’t entirely clear, naltrexone may also be beneficial for the treatment of alcoholism, as it reduces the euphoric effects that alcohol can produce, thus making drinking less appealing.

Revia is a form of naltrexone that is taken in pill form once per day. This method may be more appealing to some than a painful shot (Vivitrol), but it also has a higher potential for relapse because individuals on a regimen can simply decide to stop taking it and return to drinking as normal. Vivitrol is an extended-release injection that can be administered once a month and has the same effects as Revia or oral naltrexone.

Disadvantages of Revia and Vivitrol

Before beginning Vivitrol or Revia, a person must go through a full opioid detox several days in advance, which can be very challenging to do without other medications or professional treatment. Naltrexone can reduce opioid tolerance and cause increased sensitivity to the same, or even lower doses of opioids, increasing the risk of overdose if a person relapses.

Vivitrol has advantages over Revia because once a shot is administered, a person cannot forgo their daily medication in favor of relapse. For this reason, Vivitrol has somewhat better patient compliance than oral naltrexone. Also, for some, it is more appealing than taking a pill every day. However, if during this time the person requires opioid therapy for severe pain, such as that related to an emergency situation, special measures will need to be taken.

Finally, the Vivitrol is both expensive (costing $1,000 per shot for private insurers and $500 per shot for Medicaid) and can be painful for the patient. Indeed, it also associated with several unpleasant temporary side effects. Moreover, Revia may be a better option for those who struggle with insurance coverage or are averse to needles or receiving shots in general.

So Which Approach Is Best?

Suboxone and naltrexone in either form both have pros and cons. The best recovery medication depends on each person’s situational needs and recovery goals.

On the one hand, Suboxone, if available from a prescriber, can help people reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms in detox early in the recovery process. Naltrexone, on the other hand, is more easily accessible for some and may serve them better over the long haul (perhaps years, if necessary) for the prevention of relapse. For some, the ideal long-term treatment plan may include both Suboxone and Vivitrol or Revia.

Vivitrol Vs. Suboxone | Recovery By The Sea Addiction Treatment

Research: Vivitrol vs. Suboxone

Recent research that studied the efficacy of Suboxone vs. Vivitrol head-to-head found they were equally effective at reducing cravings and treating addiction. However, the 7-10 day detox period before Vivitrol treatment could be administered prompted some users (25%) to end their participation in the study. Conversely, only 6% of participants who were to be treated with Suboxone dropped out before they received their first dose.

The study, which was published in The Lancet and funded by the federal government, followed 570 people with opioid use disorder over the course of six months. The study found that 52% of subjects treated with Vivitrol relapsed during that time, compared with 56% of people treated with Suboxone. And while the two medications were found to be almost equally effective, there was still a high rate of relapse for both in the study.

Treatment for Opioid Addiction

People who choose treatment programs that use medication-assisted therapy may benefit from the use of either Suboxone or a form of naltrexone, or both. In addition to medication, however, it has been clinically shown that outcomes are improved for those who also receive evidence-based services as part of the recovery process, including psychotherapy, counseling, and group support.

Recovery By The Sea offers an integrated approach to addiction and employs highly-skilled addiction professionals who render therapies to our clients with care and expertise. We are dedicated to providing each client with the tools and support they need to achieve a full recovery and experience long-term wellness and sobriety.

If you or someone you love is addicted to opioids, other drugs, or alcohol, contact us today. Find out how we help people regain their health and sanity, and enjoy the rest of their lives free from addiction!

How to Implement a Relapse Prevention Plan

Relapse Prevention Plan | Recovery By The Sea Addictiong Treatment

The process of relapse involves much more than just a moment of weakness—it occurs as a series of steps in the direction that is heading toward addictive behavior. Along the way, however, there are many opportunities to actively use new strategies and act to halt and reverse the process.

Relapse occurs for many reasons, and entertaining temptation and acting on triggers are often to blame. Moreover, at some point, the demands of sustaining change begin to feel as though they outweigh the benefits. People tend to forget that this is normal and that sustainable change is highly dependent upon resistance.

Common Triggers of Substance Abuse Relapse

  • Withdrawal symptoms manifest upon cessation (anxiety, depression, nausea and vomiting, physical weakness, etc.)
  • Post-acute withdrawal symptoms (mood swings, anxiety, irritability, and sleep disturbances)
  • Poor self-care
  • Continuing to socialize with people who use drugs or drink alcohol
  • Going to or near places where one used to buy drugs or drink
  • Seeing items such as drug paraphernalia (e.g., needles or pipes that remind one of using drugs
  • Unpleasant feelings (H.A.L.T.: hungry, angry, lonely, tired)
  • Stress related to relationships or sex
  • Isolation—too much time spent alone with thoughts
  • Overconfidence in one’s ability to regain sobriety after “normal” use of a substance

The Stages of Relapse

To understand how to implement a relapse prevention plan, you have to be able to recognize and understand the stages of relapse. An emotional relapse often begins weeks or months before the physical relapse occurs.

There are three recognized stages of relapse: emotional relapse, mental relapse, and physical relapse.

Emotional Relapse

During an emotional relapse, the person is not actively considering using. But emotions and behaviors, however, are positioning him or her in a mindset that could lead to future relapse.

Signs of emotional relapse include the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Anger
  • Defensiveness
  • Moodiness
  • Social withdrawal
  • Not asking for help
  • Not going to peer support group meetings
  • Missing psychotherapy or counseling appointments
  • Poor sleeping or eating habits

The signs of emotional relapse are comparable to the symptoms of post-acute withdrawal syndrome. If you understand the process of post-acute withdrawal, it’s easier to prevent relapse, because the early stage is the easiest to reverse. In later stages, the pull to give in grows more powerful, and related events progress at an accelerated rate.

Relapse Prevention Plan | Recovery By The Sea Addictiong Treatment

Early Relapse Prevention

Relapse prevention requires you to realize that you’re in a state of emotional relapse and immediately change your behavior. Here, you need to recognize that you’re regressing emotionally and ask for help. If you don’t seek help, you’ll continue to feel alone.

If you don’t change your behavior at this stage and languish too long in an emotional relapse, ultimately you will likely become exhausted and eventually desire to escape. This state will transition you into the next stage of mental relapse.

During this time, take note if you are anxious or depressed and use relaxation techniques. If you don’t release resentments and fears through some means of relaxation, they may grow to the point where you’ll once again start to feel uncomfortable in your own skin.

You will also need to identify sleep and eating habits that are inadequate and begin to improve self-care. The most crucial strategy that you can use to prevent relapse at this stage is to take better care of yourself. People use substances to escape, unwind, or reward themselves. Therefore, they tend to relapse when they don’t take proper care of themselves.

If any of these situations persist for too long, you will probably begin to think about drinking or using drugs. But if you ask for help, learn to relax, and practice good self-care, you can prevent those feelings from accumulating and avoid a relapse.

Mental Relapse

During a mental relapse, there’s a war waging in the mind. Part of you desires to use drugs or drink, but part of you does not. Early on during a mental relapse you may be casually thinking about using, but if the stage continues, you will be unmistakably considering it.

Signs of mental relapse include the following:

  • Glamorizing or romanticizing drug or alcohol use
  • Thinking about people, places, and things associated with substance use
  • Lying or being secretive
  • Associating with old friends who use
  • Daydreaming about using
  • Considering the possibility of relapse, up to and including planning a relapse
  • Finding it more difficult to make the right decisions as the pull of possible substance abuse gets greater

Techniques for Coping with Mental Urges

Remember that as you think about using, the fantasy will probably include the possibility that you’ll be able to control your substance use this time around. But if past behavior predicts future behavior, chances are one drink or one drug dose will lead to further abuse. You’ll wake up the next day feeling ashamed, and these feelings may prevent you from stopping again the next day.

Before you know it, you are trapped in the same vicious cycle you always were. A common belief that people in recovery have is that they can get away with using if it can be kept secret from others. This is when someone’s addiction attempts to convince them that they don’t have a serious problem and that recovery is merely to please others in one’s life.

At this point, you should actively recall the adverse consequences you’ve already encountered, and the potential effects yet to come if you relapse. Moreover, if you could keep your substance use in check, you should have been able to do long so before now.

Relapse Prevention Plan | Recovery By The Sea Addictiong Treatment

Tell someone you trust that you’re having thoughts about using. Call a friend, a family member, or someone else in recovery. The wonderful thing about sharing is that the minute you start to discuss what you’re feeling, your cravings begin to subside and you no longer feel so alone.

Make use of distractions—when you start thinking about using, do something else to pass the time. Most cravings only last for about 30 minutes at most. When you have a craving, it may feel like an eternity, but if you can keep yourself occupied, it will be over before you know it.

Remember that recovery happens one day at a time—this requires you to balance your goals with emotional fortitude. When you feel strong enough not to use, then you can set goals to stay clean for the next week or month. But if you’re struggling, you can tell yourself that you won’t use for just today or the next 30 minutes.

Physical Relapse and Getting Treatment

Once you actively begin thinking about relapse and fail to use the aforementioned strategies, it doesn’t take long to descend into a full physical relapse. Moreover, it’s extremely difficult to stop the process of relapse at that point, and this is not where you should be focusing your efforts on during recovery. Rather, you would then be merely attempting to remain abstinent through brute force, and this is not recovery.

That said, relapse is not the end of the world. For many, it is part of the recovery process (although it is not recovery itself). The best thing you can do if you relapse is lift up your head, swallow your pride, and seek treatment as soon as possible before the situation gets even worse. Realize that relapse doesn’t have to send you spiraling to rock bottom, and you have the capability of turning your recovery around once again.

Recovery By The Sea offers partial-hospitalization and intensive outpatient treatment programs. These programs are ideal for those who have already completed residential treatment, but have relapsed and need additional support to re-establish sobriety.

If you have relapsed and feel you need further treatment, please contact us as soon as possible. Discover how we help people reclaim their lives and experience happiness and wellness, free from drugs and alcohol!

How Long Does Precipitated Withdrawal Last?

How Long Does Precipitated Withdrawal Last? | Recovery By The Sea

Precipitated withdrawal transpires when someone with a dependence on full agonist opioids, such as heroin, replaces it with a partial opioid agonist, such as buprenorphine. Precipitated withdrawal is characterized by rapid development.

While using a commonly prescribed drug, such as Suboxone, withdrawal symptoms appear within 1-2 hours of the first dose and usually subside within a few hours, but can last as long as one full day. Precipitated withdrawal from the use of naltrexone may onset within minutes and last up to 48 hours. Withdrawal symptoms associated with naloxone, however, are short-lived, lasting only 30 minutes to an hour, on average.

Opioid Replacement Therapy and Suboxone

Opioid replacement therapy typically uses either methadone or buprenorphine during detox and maintenance treatment programs. The goal of this treatment—also referred to as opioid substitution therapy—is to replace a full agonist opioid, such as heroin, with a longer-lasting prescription opioid with less potential for misuse.

It is vital that those suffering from an opioid addiction seek and receive professional help to overcome this condition. Suboxone, a prescription withdrawal treatment that contains the partial agonist opioid buprenorphine and the anti-overdose drug naloxone, an opioid antagonist, is one of the safest and most regularly used treatments.

This drug has helped many former addicts recover from narcotic dependence, which is almost always the first step in overcoming addiction. However, no one should ever take Suboxone or other withdrawal medications without medical direction and supervision – misuse of these drugs can lead to a condition known as precipitated withdrawal, which is highly unpleasant and can contribute to relapse.

Symptoms of Opioid Withdrawal

People who have developed a physiological dependence on opioids for an extended period, even if taken as directed, will experience withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuation. This problem, however, can be lessened using opioid replacement therapies such as buprenorphine to reduce withdrawal symptoms.

Also, the person may be weaned from the original opioid using a tapering schedule until the body is no longer physically dependent upon it. Moreover, if the person quits using the drug abruptly, they are more likely to encounter uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.

Early stage opioid withdrawal symptoms include the following:

  • Mood swings
  • Excessive yawning
  • Sweating and chills
  • Insomnia
  • Flu-like aches and pains
  • Watery eyes and runny nose
  • Irritability and agitation
  • Anxiety or depression

Late-stage opioid withdrawal symptoms include the following:

  • Diarrhea
  • Chills
  • Abdominal cramps and pain
  • Nausea and vomiting

Depending on the half-life of the particular opioid, symptoms of withdrawal can onset within just a few hours, and typically abate after 1-2 weeks. Precipitated withdrawal symptoms are more intense, however, and are marked by a rapid onset version of the above symptoms.

How Long Does Precipitated Withdrawal Last? | Recovery By The Sea

How Is Precipitated Withdrawal Different?

Precipitated withdrawal can occur when someone with an addiction to full agonist opioids replaces it with a partial agonist opioid. Although partial agonists bind to the same mu receptors as full agonists, they do not induce the same effects because they do not produce the same amount of activity at the mu receptor.

A partial agonist, however, can displace the full agonist from the receptors, so the effects of the full agonist opioid end abruptly. Because the mu receptor is not activated to an equal degree, there is a net reduction in agonist effects that result in precipitated withdrawal syndrome.

In other words, when someone still has full agonist opioid chemicals in their body because they have not begun the process of withdrawing, introducing a partial agonist such as buprenorphine can instigate a rapid-onset withdrawal.

Opioid withdrawal can rapidly occur when someone doesn’t take their next dose. By comparison, precipitated withdrawal is much more intense, and the person experiencing it can become very sick and need hospitalization.

Drugs Involved in Precipitated Withdrawal


How Long Does Precipitated Withdrawal Last? | Recovery By The Sea

As noted, Suboxone is a drug that includes both buprenorphine and naloxone. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist and anti-overdose remedy that removes full and partial opioid agonists from mu receptors and binds to them temporarily.

However, naloxone will only become active in Suboxone when the prescription drug is tampered with—a function designed to discourage someone from abusing it to get high off the buprenorphine. When used as directed, the buprenorphine in Suboxone reaches opioid receptors and reduces withdrawal symptoms.

As a component of Suboxone, naloxone does not induce precipitated withdrawal in those who use it. This condition is actually the consequence of the partial agonist buprenorphine replacing a full opioid agonist when the original substance is still present in the body. Nonetheless, naloxone itself can induce precipitated withdrawal by removing full opioid agonists in the brain.

Indeed, this is an approach employed during rapid detox to eliminate opioids from the body and forces the person to end their physical dependence on a drug abruptly. While withdrawal from opioids is usually not medically risky, rapid detox can be extremely painful, and, unlike therapy and counseling, it does not address the person’s habits or reasons for their ongoing drug use.

Unfortunately, because there are no therapies that address the behavioral changes involved during this method of withdrawal, the individual is at an increased risk of relapse. And, without a physical tolerance, the dose they were accustomed to receiving could produce a life-threatening overdose. For this reason, rapid detox programs are not often advised by addiction professionals.


Another medication that can induce precipitated withdrawal syndrome is naltrexone. This drug is sometimes prescribed to patients after they have completely eliminated the alcohol or opioid from their body. Naltrexone partially blocks the high that these drugs produce, so if a person relapses, they do not experience the pleasure they previously anticipated.

However, if naltrexone is administered before the person has sufficiently detoxed from an opioid, the drug will induce precipitated withdrawal. For naltrexone to work effectively, there can be NO full or partial opioid agonists in the body, or else this condition will undermine the drug’s action on the brain.


If a person doesn’t have a significant opioid tolerance, a large dose of buprenorphine can act as a full opioid agonist and induce a high. Conversely, if a person has built a high tolerance to a more potent opioid, such as heroin, the higher the dose of buprenorphine, the more intense the precipitated withdrawal. Therefore, only small doses of buprenorphine should be delivered to prevent any adverse withdrawal effects.

When beginning a course of Suboxone or another buprenorphine therapy, the original drug of abuse should be discontinued and the new medication withheld until the person encounters withdrawal symptoms. The onset of these symptoms indicates that the brain cannot access the opioid as anticipated, and this, as a result, affects the behavior of neurotransmitters.

Rehab and Medical Detox to Recover from Addiction

Collaborating with medical providers and addiction professional to safely detox from opioids can prevent precipitated withdrawal or reduce its impact if it accidentally occurs.

However, it is vital to understand that detox is only the first step in recovering from addiction. Although important, interrupting the body’s dependence on a substance does not itself adequately address the chronic disease of addiction. After detox, persons are urged to undergo comprehensive therapy provided by an addiction treatment program. These programs are necessary to help the person alter their behavior and attitudes regarding drugs or alcohol, achieve abstinence, prevent relapse, and experience long-lasting, sustainable recovery.

You can reclaim your life and begin to experience the happiness and well-being you deserve. Please contact us as soon as possible—we can help!

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Exercises for Addiction

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Exercises | Recovery By The Sea

Cognitive behavioral therapy exercises help individuals address negative thoughts and feelings to overcome addiction. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is widely used today in addiction treatment. CBT teaches people in recovery how to identify connections between thoughts, feelings, and actions and improve awareness of how they influence recovery.

Besides addiction, CBT also treats co-occurring mental health conditions such as the following:

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

How Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Exercises Work

To people who practice it, cognitive behavioral therapy reveals to people who practice it that many adverse behaviors and emotions are not rational or logical. Instead, these feelings and actions may be based on past experiences or environmental factors.

When a person with addiction understands why they feel or behave in a certain way, and how those feelings and actions contribute to substance use, they are more adequately equipped to overcome addiction.

Cognitive behavioral therapists work with recovering addicts to identify their adverse “automatic” thoughts. Automatic thoughts are images or mental activity that occur as a response to a trigger. They ‘pop up’ in a person’s mind without conscious thought and are often derived from misconceptions and internalized self-doubt and fear.

Often, people attempt to self-medicate these unpleasant or painful thoughts and feelings by drinking alcohol or using drugs. By continually revisiting and confronting these painful memories with a therapist, recovering addicts can mitigate the pain produced by them. They can then learn new healthy behaviors to displace their drug or alcohol abuse.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Exercises and Addiction Treatment

Automatic negative thoughts are often the main cause of depression and anxiety disorders, which are disorders that commonly co-occur with addiction. This means that the presence of automatic thoughts can make a person more likely to use drugs and alcohol as well.

CBT can help patients defeat drug addiction and alcoholism by doing the following:

  • Helping to dismiss the erroneous beliefs and insecurities that contribute to substance abuse
  • Providing self-help tools to improve mood
  • Teaching effective communication skills

Cognitive behavioral therapy also helps recovering addicts cope with triggers in three fundamental ways, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse:

Recognize – Identify circumstances that lead to drinking or drug use.

Avoid – Remove oneself from trigger situations whenever possible and appropriate.

Cope – Use CBT exercises to address and mitigate unhealthy emotions and thoughts that contribute to substance abuse.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Exercises

Cognitive behavioral therapists employ specific exercises to help facilitate addiction recovery. Examples of CBT exercises used in addiction treatment include the following:

Recording Thoughts

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Exercises | Recovery By The Sea

Recovering addicts assess automatic adverse thoughts and look for objective evidence that supports and disproves those thoughts. They record and cross-compare evidence for and against their automatic thoughts and assumptions. The goal is to help the person think more balanced, rational, and less self-critical thoughts by evaluating what they’re thinking and feeling.

“My boss thinks I’m incompetent and I need to drink to feel better” is replaced with “It’s normal to make mistakes, and I can learn from this. I don’t need to drink alcohol to feel better about myself.”

Behavioral Exercises

These exercises contradict unhealthy thoughts against healthy ones to see which is more effective in altering behavior. Many individuals respond better to self-kindness than to self-criticism. Behavioral exercises are about determining what approach works best for the person.

“If I’m hard on myself after excessive drinking, I’ll drink less” versus “If I am merciful to myself after excessively drinking, I’ll drink less.”

Imagery-Based Exposure

In this exercise, recovering addicts and alcoholics recall a memory that induces powerful adverse feelings. They pay attention to every sight, sound, emotion, and thought during that moment. By repeatedly revisiting unpleasant memories, over time the addicted person can decrease the anxiety caused by them.

A man focuses on a painful memory from childhood. He remembers every detail and emotion at the moment. Upon repeated exposure, the memory induces less and less pain, and thereby reduces the need to self-medicate with substances.

Pleasant Activity Schedule

This exercise involves creating a weekly list of healthy and fun activities to split up daily routines. These tasks should be easy to perform while fostering positive emotions. Scheduling these enjoyable activities helps to reduce negative automatic thoughts and the corresponding need to use drugs or drink alcohol.

In place of using drugs or drinking on the job, a stressed out divorce attorney relaxes at her desk for fifteen minutes every day and uses the time to listen to her favorite music.

Finding the Resources Needed to Overcome Addiction

Overcoming addiction requires the help of many people and resources. Drug addiction treatment can help you achieve sobriety and avoid relapse. Recovery By The Sea employs mental health counselors and addiction specialist who teach the life skills necessary to maintain long-term recovery.

In addition to cognitive behavior therapy, we offer individual and group counseling, peer group support, psychoeducation, and aftercare planning. Please contact us today to find out how we can help you or a loved one recover from addiction and reclaim the fulfilling life you deserve!

Holistic Therapy in Addiction Treatment

Holistic Therapy in Addiction Treatment | Recovery By The Sea

Holistic Therapy in Addiction Treatment – According to Oxford Dictionary, holistic therapy as a medical application is the “treatment of the whole person, taking into account mental and social factors, rather than just the physical symptoms of a disease.”

A reputable rehab facility should provide a combination of evidence-based treatment methods as well as alternative, holistic activities, such as yoga or acupuncture, in a customized program to treat drug or alcohol addiction.

How Holistic Therapy Techniques May Help

In many treatment programs, holistic therapy is used only after detox and remission have been achieved as a means to help people with a number of aspects of their new lifestyle. These may include the following:

  • Coping with cravings
  • Reducing reactions to triggers
  • Achieving better quality sleep
  • Become more accepting of one’s body and self
  • Creating a plan for overall wellness, including diet and exercise
  • Dealing with mild or situational depression and anxiety
  • Managing stress and negative thoughts and feelings

It’s most often a combination of research-based applications supported by holistic practices that enable someone to progress beyond addiction and into living a life of wholeness and well-being.

These recovery solutions are intended to address the whole person, not just the addiction. For example, some studies suggest that the combination of breathing and movement in yoga has a positive effect on the vagus nerve, the command center of the central nervous system, which transmits signals throughout the body.

When a person practices yoga regularly, he or she facilitates a faster, more controlled response of the vagus nerve. These signals, in turn, help decrease inflammation, reduce stress and fear reactions, promote improved relaxation, and bolster other parasympathetic actions.

Because of this, a treatment facility with a well-rounded approach to addiction may offer yoga to clients as a valuable holistic tool. Yoga can help clients more effectively manage stress, insomnia, trigger reactions, and the unpleasantness of withdrawal.

There have also been studies emerging that support acupuncture’s ability to help reset the brain after drug or alcohol abuse. It may serve to calibrate a more natural dopamine response that’s been impaired by unnatural stimuli. Acupuncture is another alternative method commonly used that may complement a medically-based treatment plan.

Types of Holistic Therapy

One key factor of holistic therapy is that the client is equally as responsible for his or her wellness as the practitioner.

Here are just a few of the most common therapies used in addiction recovery:

  • Acupuncture
  • Aromatherapy
  • Biofeedback
  • Art therapy
  • Music therapy
  • Homeopathy
  • Hypnosis
  • Massage and other bodywork
  • Mindfulness meditation
  • Spirituality
  • Qigong
  • Yoga

Holistic Therapy in Addiction Treatment | Recovery By The Sea

Do Holistic Therapies Actually Work?

Some in the field of addiction treatment are concerned that holistic therapies are essentially bogus, and people can be taken advantage of while in a weakened state. Some professionals caution against treatment centers that laud the all-natural, non-Westernized approach to recovery, and there may be some truth to this.

If you or someone close to you needs addiction treatment, consider all aspects of a facility thoroughly. Consult with attending staff, review treatment guidelines and continuum of care plans, and if possible, tour the center.

Ensure that the approach to healing is customized to specific medical needs. If holistic treatments are also offered, ask how they work and why they are useful.

If you or someone you know is considering alternative therapy during recovery, consider the following when consulting with a holistic professional:

Check credentials, whether it’s a chiropractor, naturopath, massage therapist, yoga teacher, etc. Also, confirm his or her training, hospital affiliations, and professional organizations. If possible, get recommendations from trusted sources.

Holistic therapy is meant to treat the whole person. Alternative therapists should consider the big picture, including diet, sleep and exercise routines, emotional state, co-occurring medical and mental health conditions, and other factors. Make sure to collaborate with a professional who understands that you are a person with a disease, rather than trying to treat just the addiction itself.

Find someone who understands addiction and will work to support what has already been accomplished. For example, treatment may include an antidepressant or other pharmacotherapy. An alternative therapist may contend that you can reduce or discontinue your dose without consequence, but it’s crucial that he or she consult your treatment plan and the program planner or physician to discuss alternative options to medication.

Holistic Treatment for Addiction

According to research, holistic, adjunct therapies can improve outcomes among those in recovery when used as part of a comprehensive approach to treatment. Such an approach should also include behavioral therapy, individual and group counseling, psychoeducation, and group support.

Recovery By The Sea employs caring addiction specialists who render these services to clients with compassion and expertise. We are dedicated to ensuring that each person we treat receives the tools and support they need to achieve sobriety, prevent relapse, and reclaim the fulfilling life they deserve, drug and alcohol-free.

Contact us today to discuss treatment options and discover how we can help you on your journey to recovery one step at a time!

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