Opiate addictions are some of the most difficult to overcome because once you are addicted, the chemistry changes in the brain reinforce the continuous need to feel well by using opiates in basically, the same manner hunger and tiredness reinforces the need for food or sleep.
Reconditioning these responses takes time and continuous efforts to remain abstinent. Some are better at it than others, but, most never get it right the first time. It is estimated that up to 90% of those who undergo opiate detox will relapse and many, multiple times.
About Relapse After Opiate Detox
It is important to get the opiates out of your system, but, no matter how this is accomplished, opiate detox will not reduce drug seeking behaviors or help in remaining abstinent for any substantial length of time.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “addiction requires an ongoing and active disease management strategy.” Beyond the opiate detox and beyond any formal treatment, there are many things you can do on your own to prevent relapse and these tips might help.
Self-efficacy involves dealing with situations that may provoke a relapse. You need to know what may trigger a relapse and have a strategy to deal with them effectively. This can mean avoiding people, places, things, or behaviors that would remind you of using and if a relapse thought is triggered, knowing how to suspend the thoughts until you can get out of the situation.
Group meetings such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous sustain recovery efforts, providing support, recognition, and non-judgmental feedback from those who have similar experiences. Talking things out with others can open up new discoveries for coping as you progress through the various changes of sobriety.
Build a Support Network
Stay close to those who have your best interest at heart. Open up to your family, friends, and coaches about those goals you are trying to obtain and those problem areas you have. They can encourage and support your abstinence in ways that you alone, may not be able to grasp.
Clean Out Your Closet
Get rid of paraphernalia and other reminders of use. Clear out your contact list on your phone, block calls from other users or dealers, and restructure your surroundings to promote a healthy and positive lifestyle.
Environmental factors are a primary factor in causing relapses. Misery loves company and there may be people in your home, family, or community with problems or habits too close to avoid that could easily draw you back in. Change your environment so you can focus on your own situations and not theirs.
Too much time on your hands leaves room for the opiates to take over occupation of your mind. Do positive, productive things and gain those senses of accomplishment that promote the integrity, peace, and confidence you deserve.