Over the last few months, Ashley clinicians have been enhancing and revising our three main programs. This article is the second in a series of three describing these enhancements which provide the cornerstone of our treatment program.
The Ashley Relapse Treatment Program
Recovery is a lifelong process. Sometimes that process includes relapse – a return to old patterns and behaviors that also includes a return to substance use.
A relapsing patient is defined as one that has experienced at least one year of continuous sobriety, has participated in a 12-Step recovery program, and has returned to active substance use. The Ashley Relapse Program focuses on educating patients on the stages of relapse: emotional, mental and physical – and the development of a plan to manage each.
Signs of emotional relapse include anxiety, anger, defensiveness, mood swings, isolation, poor eating and sleeping habits, and failure to attend 12-step support meetings. Mental relapse indicators include glamorizing past use, lying, returning to old behaviors, places and friends, and thinking about and planning their relapse. If emotional and mental signs are left unmanaged, it usually won’t take long before one returns to active use. Physical relapse involves patients failing to take care of themselves and prioritize their overall well-being.
Some of the lectures and group counseling topics include:
- Triggers in early recovery
- Relapse warning signs
- Obstacles to reconnecting with 12-Step support groups
- Family issues / re-engaging with the family
- Guilt and shame in early recovery
- Problem solving
Other new programming enhancements involve workshops which will help patients learn to manage their emotions in early recovery, create “warning-signs” cards as a visual tool to share with family and other members of the support system, and experiential and gender-specific groups utilizing the whole Relapse Program team, including clinical counselors and continuing care planners working in collaboration.
These program changes will be implemented over the next few months, bringing fresh and essential new content to the Ashley patient experience.