Relapse is something that is a normal part of addiction recovery. Not everyone relapses after getting sober, but many do. When a relapse occurs, it does not mean that the person has failed; rather it signifies the need for a stronger footing in recovery.
Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing disease of the brain. Basically what happens is that the structure of the brain changes in response to the presence of addictive substances (like heroin, meth, and cocaine). Those changes then cause the brain to constantly crave more of the substance that the person has been abusing. This is why addiction appears as a continuous cycle that seemingly never ends. The only way to stop active addiction is to get sober and begin living in recovery.
Recovery is not a magical place where those who were once addicted to drugs and alcohol are no longer at risk for using again. Instead, being in recovery has its own set of challenges, and it takes a great deal of effort and dedication to keep from using again.
Thankfully, there are several different ways to prevent relapse once in recovery.
5 Ways to Prevent Relapse
Each person in recovery is unique in his or her own way. There isn’t one specific way to prevent relapse from occurring, rather there are many. This is because people recover differently and have various needs that must be met in order to keep on the straight and narrow. Whether while in substance abuse treatment or as a part of their recovery plan, people can implement several different methods of relapse prevention into their lives.
If you are in recovery from addiction, some of the most effective ways that you can prevent relapse include the following:
Know your triggers
There are going to be triggers to use along the way and there is nothing you can do to stop that from happening. What you can do, however, is know what your specific triggers are and learn how to handle them. For example, if you know that when you hang out with certain people you are triggered to use, then an effective way to handle that is by not hanging out with those individuals. The more aware you are of what triggers you to use, the more power you have in navigating through those situations successfully.
Talk about your emotions
Recovering addicts and alcoholics know a lot about finding ways to hide their emotions, and chances are you have some skills in that department, too. But not paying any attention to your emotions or talking about them can only serve to cause you to use again. When you are vocal about your emotions, you are utilizing a healthy means of communicating what you are going through. Hearing yourself talk about your emotions can help you process them as well as build upon your emotional intelligence. You can talk about your emotions with your friends, family, and loved ones, and even a therapist, counselor, or sponsor.
Go to meetings
AA and NA meetings have served the recovery community for decades. The program offered through these meetings has helped individuals maintain their sobriety and grow in their recovery. When you go to meetings regularly, you are keeping your recovery at the forefront of your mind. You are actively working towards strengthening your overall wellbeing, allowing for you to better prevent relapse in the future. Not only are you able to grow from engaging in these meetings, but you can also obtain the support of others who share similar backgrounds as you do. Having a support system of peers who you can relate to can keep you focused on your recovery instead of fixated on using again.
Set a schedule
There is no way that you are going to be able to predict every single day of your recovered life, however, you can set a regular schedule that you can abide by as much as possible. Having a schedule allows for some level of predictability in your life, as well as offers you a sense of purpose and belonging. When you stick to a schedule, you are organizing your life in a way that does not allow in much chaos or disruption of any kind. And, the more stress-free your life is, the more likely you are to maintain your sobriety for the long-term.
Boredom is arguably the biggest threat to recovery. After all, once you get bored enough, you many do just about anything to break that boredom. You very well may use again just to feel a sense of excitement. Rather than waiting for boredom to come find you (which it can and will), set yourself up to combat boredom. For example, develop your interests and engage in activities that capture your attention and desires. Keep connected to others who you enjoy spending time with and regularly make plans with them. Get used to the idea of sitting in your discomfort if you do get bored and develop strategies to get through your boredom without using it again.
Relapse is always lurking right around the corner when you are in recovery. Sometimes the smallest thing can trigger the desire to use again. As a result, it is so important to prevent relapse from occurring. Luckily, there are many ways to do this, including those ways described above.
Are You in Need of Professional Addiction Treatment or Recovery Support? Call Us Right Now.
Being addicted to drugs or alcohol is no way to live. Spending your days and nights chasing after your next high can cause you to fall into a downward spiral of loneliness, poor decision-making, and physical and mental destruction. You do not need to keep using drugs or alcohol. By reaching out to us today, we can help you stop your active addiction for good and begin recovery. If you are in recovery but are feeling unsteady and like you may relapse, do not wait until the drink or drug is sitting in front of you. Call us today to get the support you need to maintain your recovery.