It can be traumatic for a person to go through a relapse. In many ways, treatment programs like West Coast Recovery Centers must instill relapse prevention techniques to help clients with their post-treatment journey.
What Is a Relapse?
A relapse happens when a person stops maintaining their goal of reducing or avoiding the use of alcohol or other drugs and returns to previous levels of use. It may lead to increased use or the introduction of additional substances.
Relapses are far more common than people may think. In fact, due to the high possibility of relapsing, recovery programs often offer relapse prevention and education. The ultimate goal is to provide clients with a clear idea of what is ahead of them.
It is important for people to understand that just because they have made it through a treatment program does not mean that their recovery journey has ended. Outpatient programs such as the one offered at West Coast Recovery Centers are the first steps to preparing individuals for what comes next.
Clients who identify as LGBTQIA+ often exhibit higher rates of substance use and may be at higher risk of relapse compared to the general population.
The Goals of Relapse Prevention Techniques
For people who may be at risk of a relapse, it is important to learn the ins and outs of what relapses are, their triggers, and what people can do to avoid them. It is also important for a person’s social safety network to be aware of these factors and how they can provide support. Should they see signs or recognize the possibility of triggers, they must be prepared to step in and help.
Specific LGBTQIA+ Recovery Concerns
There are always concerns for people who are coming out of a recovery program. The idea of leaving treatment and reentering society creates an opportunity for possible issues, including:
- Emotional instability
- Fear of relapse
- issues with family
- Social group concerns
When a person is a part of the LGBTQIA+ community, they are more prone to these concerns. They may feel that there is very little to be done about their issues but that they lack the support of the general public around them. This fear, coupled with the possibility of familial denial, can lead to isolating behavior, often triggering a possible relapse.
For many people, even if they have the support of their chosen family, their lives may be pocked with self-conscious or even self-degrading behavior. This may originate from a lack of personal identity or from outside pressures to conform to certain “norms” of society.
For individuals in these situations and mindsets, it can be challenging to regain or even find the confidence to confide in family or friends. These issues may feel too personal. They may feel that others will reject them. This, in turn, may cause them to turn to the one thing that they feel has gotten them through the difficult times. Should this occur, a relapse is inevitable.
Relapse Prevention Techniques for LGBTQIA+ Individuals
The most important technique is learning to develop and rely on a social support network. People in the LGBTQIA+ community may feel that they do not want to put their issues on those around them. They may think others have bigger problems to think about and that they do not, or should not, take up that loved one’s time.
This idea of having people close to them is handled differently by people who identify as LGBTQIA+. Because they may not have family support, they are often encouraged to develop a chosen family. Chosen family is the concept of surrounding oneself with people who love them.
This means that recovery programs must assist in building community and self-confidence. Each client must know they are loved, worth loving, and as important to those around them as their loved ones are to them. This self-confidence will help them to learn to speak up for themselves, ask for assistance, and understand that they will receive the help they need should they feel tempted to return to their former substance use.
LGBTQIA+ Relapse Prevention at West Coast Recovery Centers
At West Coast Recovery Centers, it does not matter how a person identifies. Each client is seen as an individual with their own needs and concerns. People have their own personalities and stories that the program will explore.
For all members of our community, including those who identify as LGBTQIA+, West Coast Recovery Centers looks at multiple aspects of a client and their plan of care, including:
- Core personal relationships
- Individual goals as they relate to care and post-treatment
- Identification of personal trauma
- Issues related to personal identity
- Problematic behaviors as related to self-image
These are just five of the possible areas that need to be focused on as individuals make their way through our outpatient program. That is why West Coast Recovery Centers makes sure that every client is educated, assisted, and given their best chance to prevent relapses as they reenter society.
Relapses are a well-documented part of the recovery process. While many people feel defeat and shame, those in the LGBTQIA+ community may feel even more unsupported by family or even friends. They may feel that they have been judged for other aspects of their life and that the relapse gives people more fodder. West Coast Recovery Centers understands these concerns, and we want to make sure that all people feel supported. Our program proudly supports those in the LGBTQIA+ community and believes that they deserve just as much support and assistance as everyone else. For more information about our program and how we can help with relapses, call us at (760) 492-6509.