Renaissance Ranch

Maintaining Relapse Prevention Strategies for a Long-Term Recovery

May 23, 2024

Early recovery can be one of the busiest and most stressful times of an individual’s life. This stage typically requires one to make several different changes to promote a healthier lifestyle. Knowing early recovery can be a vulnerable stage for some individuals, life does begin to slow down after developing an effective yet structured routine. It is important for one to maintain relapse prevention strategies to establish a long-term recovery. Joining the Band of Brothers Alumni program and participating in various community events can help one maintain mental stability for a better quality of life. 

The Many Challenges of Early Recovery

Many individuals may make the false assumption that once a loved one completes their treatment program, they are essentially cured. This is entirely not true, as every stage of recovery involves hard work and strong dedication to achieve long-term healing. Those with substance use disorder (SUD) or co-occurring mental health conditions commonly present maladaptive routines and habits associated with their condition. They can be either unhealthy, healthy, efficient, inefficient, supportive, or plain harmful. Either way, an individual’s routine takes momentary effort and time. It may be embedded in ecological or cultural contexts.

Research indicates that it is very common for one to relapse within the first year of recovery. This can be due to trauma triggers, intense stress, or sudden changes in one’s life. Unwanted exposure to trauma and substances can derail one’s recovery if an individual does not have the tools or effective strategies to respond to them. The obstacles in one’s recovery can be very hard to cope with the different stages of relapse. These include: 

  • Emotional relapse – The individual remembers their relapse and does not want to repeat past addictive behaviors
  • Mental relapse – The individual has the desire to use again but is indecisive about using substances again
  • Physical relapse – The individual has a substance relapse

The Importance of Staying Connected With Alumni for Long-Term Recovery

Knowing recovery can be a lonely stage, as one must make major sacrifices to make good headway, developing healthy connections is imperative for continued success. It can be difficult for an individual to manage intense stress, boredom, or unhealthy relationships in recovery. Not everyone has a healthy environment to return to after completing treatment. It can be hard for one to maintain effective relapse prevention strategies without positive support from others. Staying connected with fellow alumni can help an individual stay on track to long-term mental stability. Spending time with those who have similar goals can be a healthy distraction from negativity. 

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), many individuals gain benefit from peer support. This is when one receives nonclinical or nonprofessional assistance from those under similar circumstances. Peer support can help individuals achieve long-term recovery from substance use disorders (SUDs) or mental health disorders. Randomized controlled trials and studies with adult participants have demonstrated associated benefits from peer support that consisted of: 

  • Decreased or complete abstinence from substance abuse
  • Increased treatment engagement
  • Reduced HIV/AIDs and hepatitis cases
  • Improved self-esteem
  • Reduced substance cravings 
  • Improved self-efficacy

What Is an Alumni Event?

Knowing recovery can be a challenging time, many individuals may benefit from joining an alumni program. An alumni program is designed to help those in recovery maintain long-term sobriety and ongoing mental stability. A typical program provides emotional support, guidance, and a sense of safe community. These are critical, especially in early recovery. Alumni programs host alumni events. These sober events intend to gather those in recovery together to celebrate their milestones and support one another in relapse prevention. Extracurricular activities at Renaissance Ranch commonly include: 

  • Camping trips in the mountains
  • Different marathons
  • Fun sporting events
  • Bible study groups
  • Boating on a local lake
  • Barbecuing at local parks

Learning Relapse Prevention Strategies at Alumni Events for Long-Term Recovery

Staying connected with fellow alumni can increase deep inner strength and help one maintain strong relapse prevention strategies for ongoing improvement. Renaissance Ranch helps to establish a foundation and culture of sobriety that permeates every facet of an alumni’s life. The program hosts quarterly retreats and a wide range of fun annual events to help newer members effectively integrate with the alumni community. Renaissance Ranch understands that recovery takes time, as there is an abstinence, recovery repair, and growth stage. The repair stage is frequently thought to last up to two or three years. The growth stage begins after the individual has repaired the damage caused by their past addictive behaviors. 

Making healthy connections can help one develop new coping strategies to overcome mental health troubles and addiction altogether. Frequent relapses can further derail one’s recovery. Making connections can bring positive encouragement to positively move forward. Weekly meetings can teach alumni relapse prevention strategies to effectively respond to the different stages of relapse. Helpful relapse prevention strategies include: 

  • Communication and interpersonal skills
  • Self-control and assertiveness
  • Critical thinking and problem-solving skills
  • Forgiveness in oneself and others

At Renaissance Ranch, support for our patients doesn’t end when they complete their stay at our program. Sobriety is a lifelong journey, not just a simple destination that can be reached after inpatient rehab. The Brotherhood at Renaissance Ranch is a tight-knit group, where we all hold one another accountable for what it takes to stay sober. It’s so important for guys like us, who are sober, to feel like we are a part of something and Renaissance Ranch does more than any other program we know of, in keeping our Alumni connected. We understand recovery is a one-day-at-a-time deal. Call Renaissance Ranch at (801) 308-8898 to learn more about our alumni program.