The word relapse comes from the Latin word “relabi”, meaning to fall back or vanish. In medicine, relapse means to fall ill again after an apparent recovery. In addiction recovery it means a return to using addictive substances or participating in addictive behaviors. The rate of relapse in addiction is similar to other chronic diseases such as diabetes, asthma, and hypertension. As stated by Dr. Thomas Estis, PhD, Clinical Director at Woodlake, “Being an addict, in and of itself, means one is prone to relapse. To assume and simply hope it will not occur is denial…professionally and personally we must all take a proactive stance.” As part of our programming at Woodlake Addiction Recovery we incorporate relapse prevention education at all levels of care.
An important part of relapse prevention is awareness. From the start of treatment, Woodlake Recovery Center clients work with their counselor on a comprehensive self-examination. Through this process, clients develop an awareness of and insight into their patterns of self-defeating thinking and behaviors, and identify other manifestations of addiction aside from substance abuse. In groups, clients discuss thoughts, feelings, urges, and actions that are relapse warnings. They work on identifying these warning signs in their own life and creating a plan to deal with them. We also value the importance of providing a climate of safety where clients can disclose their shame based secrets that can often fuel relapse. Woodlake Recovery Center staff assess clients for the possibility of co-occurring disorders that if undiagnosed can contribute to relapse. Our use of mindfulness techniques and adjunctive therapies also help to reduce emotional reactivity that comes from trauma histories in many of our clients.
Woodlake Recovery Center strongly believes in including families in recovery. Families are in structured programming from the first week of client treatment, and attend our two-day intensive Family Renewal Program during the client’s stay. We offer extended support to families through our Family Alumni Group. Our extensive family work provides the path for ongoing family member recovery. We also recognize that having a family member strong in their own recovery is significant to prevent client relapse.
The Woodlake Recovery Center mission statement says “Our goal is to foster a supportive environment that promotes awareness and understanding so that our clients may realize their potential and experience freedom from active addiction.” As Dr. Estis suggests, in order for this to occur we must be proactive. In that process, we are honored to be witness to the miracles of recovery.