A man sits on a couch looking out the window while thinking how to stay sober and prevent relapse.

How to Stay Sober When Your Friends Aren’t

For anyone who has faced the reality of a substance use disorder, learning to live life without drugs or alcohol can prove to be a difficult task. They say old habits die hard, and that proves even more true when those old habits include addictive impulses that have impacted your personal relationships, physical health and overall wellbeing.

But, making the decision to get sober and overcome your addiction is a commendable choice and should be celebrated for the amazing accomplishment that it truly is. While your journey to recovery is typically paved with improved personal insight and accountability, affiliating with friends and family who still indulge in intoxicating substances is not uncommon.

So, how can you maintain the progress you have made in your rehabilitation when those around you continue to engage in questionable decision making and substance use?

Will you be forced to remove all people from your life who drink alcohol, even occasionally, or is there an alternative to maintaining your sobriety while also engaging with friends and family who are not on the same recovery journey as you are?

Taking the time to contemplate these questions is essential to achieving your recovery goals while also fostering a strong sober support network within your life.

Why a Healthy, Supportive Social Circle is Vital to Your Long-Term Sobriety

Finding the strength to overcome your addictive impulses and avoid unforeseen setbacks along your path to recovery sometimes requires the encouragement and support of those around you. For most individuals working to address their negative behavioral patterns and history of addiction, being around people who continue to use, or encourage substance use, can prove to be a major trigger to relapse.

Alternatively, by creating a sober support network that encourages your recovery progress and holds you accountable during the good times and the bad, you are establishing a safety net of sobriety. If you find yourself falling back into old, addictive habits, this safety net can prove essential at stopping your fall and providing support to get you back on a sober track.

Here’s How to NOT Drink When Everyone Else Is

Preparing your mind for the inevitable is imperative to avoiding an unanticipated relapse during your recovery journey. While you can control your decision to use substances, you cannot control the actions of those around you.

Therefore, practicing responses and reactions to those who may offer you a drink unknowingly and preparing your reactions to scenarios that increase your potential to relapse is essential. It is important that you prepare yourself for the reactions and lack of understanding that you may receive from those around you.

Be ready to say no and stand by your decision, even when it may jeopardize the relationships you have with others.

How to Stay Sober and Prevent a Relapse

As the saying goes, those who do not plan are planning to fail. This saying proves so true for those recovering from addiction who do not prepare themselves to interact with friends and family members who continue to drink or use other substances.

You must take the time to construct solid points and perspectives that you can reference when faced with difficult situations. This is important to maintaining the progress you have made and avoiding an unforeseen setback.

Some potential options include:

  • Recruit Sober Supports

A family member, spouse or partner accompanying you can be invaluable, especially if they don’t have any substance use issues. Establish some ground rules with your loved one or friend before you leave:

What kind of event is it? How long do you want to stay? Do you need a secret signal to indicate that it’s time to leave?

With this kind of teamwork, staying sober and getting used to this new lifestyle is much easier.

  • Create a List of Reasons You Stay Sober

For a lot of individuals, having a list of reminders helps them to achieve goals they have set for themselves. The same is true for those who are striving to lead a life of sobriety.

Think about the reasons why you have decided to be sober and make a list based on the following questions:

Are you doing this to be healthier? Is your motivation to stay sober a result of a spiritual or philosophical reason? Are you leading a sober life so you can be there for your family and children?

Making a list of the reasons you have decided not to relapse can give you a source of reinforcement when you are in social situations where others who are abusing substances.

  • Respect Your Limitations

Everyone has triggers that can shatter their recovery. It’s important to be aware of your personal limits and what you can or can’t handle. The truth is there are some people in recovery who can’t be around substances at all, and that’s okay. It’s also significant to utilize the behavioral tools you learn in treatment.

Additionally, part of this is also understanding that we can only resist so much temptation. Sometimes this means passing up on opportunities in order to maintain the progress you’ve made.

The fact of the matter is you can only worry about your own actions and responses throughout your path to recovery. Having a plan and sticking to it can not only make social situations easier to navigate, it can also ensure that difficult scenarios don’t become a setback in your goal to achieve sustained sobriety.

Holistic Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment at Ranch Creek Recovery

If you’re looking for a luxury, non-12-step rehab in California, consider Ranch Creek Recovery’s alternative approach to addiction rehab. We go beyond the traditional, widely used 12-step program and focus on tailor-fitting each recovery program – whether 30, 60 or 90-days – to address every client’s unique needs.

With a more intimate recovery experience, a higher level of care, a serene environment, individual recovery plans and a holistic approach, you can be sure you or a loved one will receive everything needed to achieve sobriety and prepare for a thriving, sober life.

Learn more about Ranch Creek Recovery, including what we offer and what we treat. Contact us today to get your questions answered.

CALL NOW: (877) 293-8607

A group of friends kayaking instead of drinking at the bar on St. Patrick’s Day.

How to Help a Loved One Avoid St. Patrick’s Day Parties

St. Patrick’s Day is a time for celebration. It signifies the harsh winter has passed and spring is right around the corner. It provides people the opportunity to gather with their family and friends to celebrate a rich cultural tradition and longstanding custom.

While everyone is welcomed as Irish on this holiday, the correlation with celebration and drinking alcohol has become synonymous over the years. For many, this opportunity to consume alcohol is just another part of the celebration. But for a recovering alcoholic, the temptation associated with an entire day of drinking alcohol can prove to be too much to handle.

Taking the time to better understand the needs of your loved one on days like St. Patrick’s Day allows you to provide emotional support, as well as, enables you to help them avoid a potential relapse that could impact their entire recovery process.

Is It Possible to Avoid Drinking on St. Patrick’s Day?

Avoiding alcohol is difficult for a recovering addict on a normal day. On a day like St. Patrick’s Day, where kegs, eggs and green beer is available everywhere, avoiding alcohol may seem like an impossible task.

After all, everywhere you turn on a holiday like St. Patty’s, you see people finding every reason under the sun to drink large quantities of pretty much any alcohol they can get their hands on.

But even with all this alcohol-induced celebration and temptation, your loved one can avoid drinking with a proper plan and support from their friends and loved ones.

How to Avoid Alcohol on St. Patrick’s Day

Working with your loved one to construct a plan to avoid drinking on St. Patrick’s Day is key to avoiding people and places that can trigger a relapse. It allows you to control the environment to ensure that your loved one stays away from addictive triggers and empowers them to enjoy the holiday with a sober state of mind.

The following recommendations provide a guide you can implement when planning a holiday centered around helping your loved one avoid alcohol:

  • Bring Your Own Beverages
    If you’re planning to attend private parties, make sure to bring your own beverages. There’s no guarantee that the host will be offering anything other than alcohol, so having your own drink options allows your loved one to safely sip while interacting with other partygoers.
  • Embrace the Other Elements of the Holiday
    While St. Patrick’s Day is known for its alcohol offerings, the food associated with the holiday can be very tasty. That corn beef and cabbage is so much more satisfying when you are sober enough to savor the flavor.
  • Don’t Be Afraid to Own Your Sobriety
    No one wants to walk into a get together and announce they are a recovering addict. But hiding it from the world is no way to live, either. Instead, encourage your loved one to discuss their health and happiness if anyone gets pushy about offering them a drink. After all, being clean and sober is something to be proud of, so encourage your loved one to brag about it if anyone asks or tries to pressure them to drink.
  • If You Can’t Find a Good Party, Host Your Own
    Enjoying St. Patrick’s Day can sometimes be easier when you do it from the comfort of your own home. Talk to your loved one and see if they are interested in hosting a get-together that highlights the other amazing elements of the holiday. Keeping the party at your place ensures only supportive people attend and enables your loved one to control the environment throughout the day.

These ideas and options allow your loved one to embrace the holiday without having to deal with constant relapse triggers the entire time. However you decide to approach it, making a plan and sticking to it ensures your loved one has alternative ways to enjoy the day without having to sacrifice precious time with family and friends.

Get Your Loved One Addiction Treatment to Get Sober or Bounce Back After a Relapse

It’s important to remember that even with the best made plan, experiencing an isolated relapse is always a possibility. This is not uncommon at all, but it does need to be addressed in order to avoid a momentary setback becoming a full-blown unraveling.

Being prepared for every outcome allows you to support your loved one both in their success and in their failures. By establishing that level of consistent communication, you can help them identify if their problem is manageable or requires professional intervention.

At the end of the day, being able to help your loved one achieve their best life is the primary goal and, sometimes, that requires clinical guidance to overcome short-lived setbacks.

Holistic Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment at Ranch Creek Recovery

Always remind your loved one of how strong they are and how far they’ve come. Should your loved one end up in a situation where alcohol has crept back into their life, they need to get back on track as soon as possible – and we’re here for them.

At Ranch Creek Recovery, we address addiction recovery and relapse prevention head on through our
non-12-step, individualized, holistic addiction treatment programs. Our team of treatment experts will work one-on-one with your loved one to create a custom treatment and recovery plan that will help them feel confident and ready to re-enter their sober life.

Contact us today to learn more and get your questions answered.

CALL NOW: (877) 293-8607

alcoholic relapse after long term sobriety

Drinking Relapse After Long-term Sobriety

You have diligently—and with great fervor—embraced a sober life, notching many years on your recovery journey while dedicating your new life to remaining sober.  You may have logged a thousand A.A. meetings.  You may have achieved the fourth level of the SMART Recovery model.  You may even be a sponsor or mentor to those new in recovery, devoted to serving others in their quest for an abstinent lifestyle.

Whether you have 30 days sober under your belt or 30 years, relapse is an ever-present threat to sobriety. In fact, not to recognize and respect this fact constitutes a dangerous form of denial.  Alcohol addiction is a wily foe, never to be thought of as under control.  No matter how methodically you have managed your long-term recovery, every recovering alcoholic is vulnerable to relapse—especially if complacency has seeped in.

Why Do Recovering Alcoholics Relapse After Long-Term Sobriety?

Considering all the many roads that can lead a person to become an alcoholic, it should not be surprising to learn that an addict that starts drinking after long-term sobriety can be triggered by a myriad of situations and reasons. Among the most common include:

  • Memory fades.  After a certain number of years, the hard edges of the memories associated with active addiction can soften.  Wistful memories of drinking may become romanticized, weakening your resolve and tricking you into drinking again.  
  • You stop participating in sober fellowship.  Whether it is a 12-step program or a non 12-step program, the connections with others also battling the monster of alcoholism helps give you the support and accountability needed to remain sober.
  • Co-occurring mental health disorder.  Some alcoholics suffer from an underlying mental health condition such as depression and anxiety.  Both the alcohol addiction and the mental health condition must be treated if recovery is to be sustained.
  • Inadequate coping strategies.  Life will continue to throw curveballs and challenges, no matter how long one has been sober.  Never having acquired the tools to cope with significant loss, trauma, or life’s difficulties makes you vulnerable to relapse.
  • You buy the lie.  One of the most common causes of alcoholic relapse after long-term sobriety is coming to believe that, since you have been sober so long, you can have a drink now and then.  Alcohol dependency is a lifelong condition that will never morph into an innocent recreational habit.

What to Do When an Alcoholic Relapses

Let there be no doubt about it: a relapse from drinking after long-term sobriety can lead to death.  This is because the body has adjusted to having no alcohol exposure for years, but the alcoholic mind stubbornly retains the memories of active addiction practices.  A relapse after a long period of sobriety can overwhelm the body with lethal toxins and cause alcohol poisoning.  Alcoholics also have very high rates of suicide, with depression accompanying a sense of failure and despair among those who relapse.

Recognizing that sobriety is the only option for living a full and satisfying life, it is imperative that the individual who relapsed return to treatment, therapy, a sober living environment, or fellowship meetings immediately.  It is common for there to be feelings of shame and guilt after a relapse, but that must not inhibit the individual from returning to the necessary recovery activities that will save one’s life.  Seek the support of loved ones and humbly do whatever it takes to reclaim sobriety.

Ranch Creek Recovery Can Help

If you have found yourself in the state of relapse, the compassionate treatment team at Ranch Creek Recovery will “walk the path” of recovery alongside you.  Focused on providing a holistic approach to treating alcoholism, the many therapeutic options available are designed to treat the mind, body and spirit, not just the disease.  Located in the serene hillsides of Temecula, California, Ranch Creek Recovery provides a natural setting in which to overcome addiction and heal.  For more information about our holistic treatment program, please call us today at (877) 997-8931.

Relapse Prevention Groups in Treatment

Relapse Prevention Groups in Treatment

How Relapse Prevention Groups in Treatment Can Prepare for Life after Recovery

The decision to get clean and sober was not an easy one. In some ways, severing ties with your drug of choice is akin to breaking up with a lover. Even if that lover is not good for you and your relationship is toxic, it is still hard to walk away. Deep-seated past emotional hurts can lay the foundation for coupling up in a dysfunctional romance, as well as finding oneself seriously addicted to a substance that can actually kill you. For this reason, detangling yourself from the grip of a substance addiction is a difficult endeavor that demands a proactive effort if one is to be successful in recovery.

No matter how pumped you are to start life over clean and sober that dreaded “R” word dangles there like low-hanging fruit….Relapse. While it’s true that 50-90% of recovering addicts will likely relapse within a year, that doesn’t have to be your fate. There are numerous actions one can take to anticipate the triggers and emotional baggage that could lead to a relapse, and a relapse prevention group is a great place to start the offensive planning.

What are Relapse Prevention Groups in Treatment?

Relapse Prevention Therapy falls under the umbrella of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that focuses on not only identifying the possible triggers and situations that could trip up your recovery, but also teach new, healthy responses to them through the group exercises. By creating a relapse prevention plan in the early days of recovery—giving voice to the potential culprits that can undermine sobriety and learning techniques to dodge them—the chances of relapse will be dramatically reduced.

In a relapse prevention group a therapist will help each member identify certain thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that you associate with using. Just becoming aware of these triggers that, in the past, were followed by cravings and drug or alcohol use will help the newly recovering individual see them from a sober perspective and make a plan to respond differently to them moving forward.

Making an action plan to implement when the warning signs of impending relapse occur is learned in the relapse prevention group’s warning sign management exercise. Each group member will share their own personal warning signs, and how you plan to manage them. The group assists in helping each other with strategies, and challenge each other with “what if?” types of scenarios to help fellow members create a sound strategy for relapse prevention. All of the techniques taught in the relapse prevention group will help prepare you for life after rehab.

Other Relapse Prevention Tools

Relapses after recovery usually follow a predictable pattern. There is an emotional relapse phase where signs of anxiety and anger along with isolating behavior and skipping meetings can begin the process toward relapse. The mental relapse phase is characterized by fantasizing about using, hanging out with friends who use, lying, and beginning to plan a relapse around people’s schedules. Finally, the physical relapse occurs. It is during the first two phases that an impending relapse can be thwarted.

The acronym BHALT is important to preventing relapse, as it identifies the emotions that may promote relapse. BHALT stands for bored, hungry, angry, lonely, and tired. In relapse prevention group coping techniques are taught to help you pay attention to these emotions and how to cope with them to prevent a relapse.

Other relapse prevention tools are eating a healthy diet, getting quality sleep and establishing regular sleep hours, and getting exercise. In addition, relaxation techniques are taught to help calm the mind and reduce the anxiety associated with the early days of sobriety. Deep breathing techniques, yoga, meditation, journaling, and massage are all excellent relaxation tools.

Ranch Creek Recovery Relapse Prevention Groups in Treatment

Ranch Creek Recovery is a private drug and alcohol rehabilitation program located in the beautiful hills of Temecula, California. Their relapse prevention group is one of the many excellent features offered at this non 12-step recovery facility. With a focus on holistic and experiential healing, the compassionate clinicians at RCR walk the walk with the clients, offering a serene therapeutic approach to addiction recovery. For more information, please call (877) 997-8931 today.

Addiction treatment

Learn More About Relapse Prevention And Dual Diagnoses

Ranch Creek Recovery offers more than specialized addiction treatment; we offer a second chance at a normal life. Contact us at (951) 795-4326 to learn how we’ve changed the lives of others. You can also learn more about the importance of effective addiction treatment by browsing these addiction-related resources:

  • This article from The Huffington Post describes how self-medication can lead to substance abuse.
  • Explore the truth behind dual diagnosis by visiting this page from Mental Health America.
  • Visit PsychologyToday.com if you’d like to learn more about addiction triggers.
  • How can you avoid relapse during your addiction recovery? This page from Livestrong.com has the answer.
  • This page from MedlinePlus has reliable information about dual diagnosis disorders.