In a private, secluded, remote treatment center with 24 hour staff, it is difficult to imagine someone would be able to relapse. To underestimate the power of cravings is to not understand them. One of the reasons many addicts and alcoholics stay addicted is because getting through the pain of cravings during withdrawal is crippling and challenging to overcome. In the neuroscience model of addiction, cravings play a major role. When addiction takes over the brain, it rewires how the brain prioritizes. Additionally, it changes the way the brain regards its own survival. Drugs and alcohol create a surplus of a neurotransmitter called dopamine. Neurotransmitters are small communication chemicals, each assigned to a particular kind of messaging. Dopamine sends messages of pleasure. In fact, it is the hyper production of dopamine which results from consuming an excess quantity of drugs or alcohol which creates the substances’ euphoric effect. When there is a continual and repeated inundation of dopamine, other areas of the brain become influenced. Namely, the reward center of the brain and the survival center of the brain. Eventually, the survival center of the brain becomes entirely focused on the euphoria-causing substance of choice. Relapse during recovery is rarely a matter of weakened willingness. Somewhere inside the brain, there is a desperate cry for help as though it were a matter of life or death. Though relapse might be fatal, the brain feels as though continuing to stay sober would be a worser fate.
Access to drugs and alcohol don’t stop behind treatment walls. Some people sneak drugs in, use alcoholic mouthwash, or even have friends bring them drugs at a recovery meeting. The compulsive, survivalist need for more drugs and alcohol is always inconsequential. Just to soothe the physical and psychological pain of craving is worth whatever consequence happens.
Urine testing and regular drug screening is essential for maintaining accountability in this area. Most substances stay detectable in the blood stream, thereby in urine samples, for three to five days. Even if a relapse event was days before, a urine test will reveal the lapse. Urine tests help to make sure everyone in a program of safety is staying safe and healthy. Regular drug screening lets program coordinators know who is in need of higher levels of care than what they are currently being provided.
Aurora Recovery Centre offers medically assisted detox to help ease the pain of withdrawals. Our residential treatment programs keep members on our beautiful remote property on the shores of Lake Winnipeg. For more information, call 844-515-STOP.