How to Prevent Drug Relapse

How to Prevent Drug Relapse

     It is not only our opinion, but our experience that relapses are preventable. There are certainly contributing factors to relapse that either go unreported, undiagnosed, or simply avoided. This is where the genius of Turnbridge can be easily missed amidst the chaos and emotion involved in just getting the young man into drug treatment.         We do not need the young man to “buy in” before getting here as most people believe. Usually, these young men are not ready to stop or leave their current destructive life. This is generally based on a variety of fears that perpetuate the destructive behavior. They’ve found a solution in drugs and alcohol that seems to work for them in spite of the injurious outcomes. Their fears about life or the inability to get past some painful life experiences as well as the unknowns about their future can become overwhelming. Then add into the mix other forms of mental health issues, be it depression, anxiety, ADHD or countless other mental health diagnosis. This creates the perfect storm for substance abuse and relapse if these symptoms go unattended. Most importantly these individuals need to learn how to manage these very serious obstacles. This does not happen overnight. It is a slow, long and laborious proposition for a young man. Get him here, and from there we can handle the “buy in” process.  We provide a warm, comfortable and understanding environment for these young men to start their new lives.        The first step in prevention is building a solid foundation. Turnbridge has systems in place to recognize and uncover these unreported or unnoticed underlying symptoms. This is the value in the individualized attention and approach that exists here. The length of stay that allows the clinical team the time needed to design and implement each young man’s plan, to include 12 step immersion and medication management if needed. Also the elimination of reliance on self-reporting and the addition of our 24 hour support staff give us real time identification of behaviors and attitudes that perpetuate a lot of these underlying symptoms. And let’s not forget that addiction in and of itself is a mental health issue that needs constant attention.        The next step is to build the framework of a solid sober young man. Again, this is an individualized approach; the beauty of only dealing with young men is that most of their needs are specific to this age group. They need to learn certain coping mechanisms and have specific tools and relationships in place. Knowing that relationships and new behaviors are not developed overnight this again plays into Turnbridge’s long-term treatment model that believes ‘slower is faster.’ Anything worthwhile in life comes through time and hard work to include sobriety.            Lastly, the maintenance of this new young man and his precious new found sobriety takes top priority over anything else. That is the attitude we impress upon these young men during the last phase of development here at Turnbridge. Sobriety first, then the rest of life follows. Continue to mold yourself through therapy, 12 step groups, sober friends, and better decision making. Don’t place yourself in harmful situations, but above all else; have fun! Sobriety is not boring. Through our exciting recreational treatment component we hope that we’ve begun to show these young men that getting sober young is not the end of life, but the mere beginning of something better and more fulfilling.         Now this is not to say that they are never going to think about using again, because that is the farthest thing from the truth. The idea that life isn’t going to throw an emotional curveball their way or that there could be an unexpected or unforeseen negative experience during their sobriety would be misleading. We all know life isn’t always rainbows and unicorns. So how are they going to stay sober? How are they not going to relapse if the underlying symptoms rear their ugly head? The answer is simple. By this time the safety net has been put in place. The foundation to their sobriety is solid and the framework is built on support systems, sober relationships, 12 step work and new coping skills. The “knee jerk” reaction to escape or get high has been replaced with new and healthy decisions. Through the process of time and hard work emerges a new young man. He now believes in himself and is aware how the disease manifests in him. He no longer wants to self-destruct or hurt those around him through his actions. Relapse is prevented.