Going into treatment for addiction to drugs and alcohol is a huge and empowering step for an individual. Once a person has completed their initial treatment, the work of learning how to stay in recovery begins. A chief task proves to be learning ways to avoid relapse.
While it is understandable to initially fear relapse, planning ways to handle temptation puts the power in your hands. A proper plan in place helps keep you from white-knuckling your way through potentially triggering emotions and events.
Take Stock of Potential Triggers
Everyone has potential tipping points. For someone in recovery from a substance abuse disorder, knowing what your triggers are can help you prepare to deal with them. Do an inventory of what you know to be potential triggers for you. To round out the list, consult close family members and friends who know you well. You can also talk to therapists or support group members who understand your situation.
Divide the list into two parts: triggers you can avoid and those you cannot avoid. Situations you can avoid may include interacting with people who may tempt you to into poor decision-making. Other situations to avoid include frequenting places you associate with prior drug or alcohol usage.
Triggers you may not be able to avoid do not necessarily have to cause you temptation. Make a battle plan for how to handle each one. If you find yourself experiencing difficult feelings, such as stress or anxiety, stop and look at your plan of attack. You might try contacting someone who can listen to you air your thoughts. You can step back and take a designated break from a situation. Remind yourself that just because you feel the temptation to relapse doesn’t mean you can’t stop yourself.
Keep Yourself Busy With Recovery Activities
If you live in a sober living house environment, take advantage of all it has to offer. Lean on your co-residents and any support staff provided. Make sure you attend all required meetings and appointments.
If you have returned home, make sure your schedule includes regular activities that focus on recovery. This can be one of the ways to avoid relapse. These may include:
- 12-step or other support groups
- Individual therapy
- Having a sponsor you can check in with on a regular basis
- Taking advantage of any support systems offered to alumni of a treatment program you attended
- Scheduling time to read inspirational websites and books related to recovery. The internet has many uplifting videos to access, such as TED talks.
- Journaling about your thoughts and feelings in order to keep track of them in an organized manner.
Make Healthy Living a Priority
Learning to live a healthy life without drugs or alcohol includes taking care of your body and mind in other ways. Eating a healthy diet gives you fuel for each day. A mind that feels nourished helps you make better decisions. Consider making an appointment with a registered dietitian who can advise you on how to eat to be at your physical best.
Similarly, the body needs to engage in regular exercise. Try establishing a workout routine at home or outdoors. This is one of the top ways to avoid relapse. As businesses continue to reopen, options like gym memberships and yoga classes become more common.
Do Not Assume the Worst
Negative thinking can get anyone down. When it falls under the category of your go-to response to everything, you reduce your chances of success. Recovery from a substance abuse disorder mandates the ability to harness the power of positive thinking. Look for helpful books that teach you to surround yourself with positivity.
When you find yourself automatically assuming the worst will happen, take immediate action. This is critical in regards to ways to avoid relapse. Envision holding up a red stop sign. Ask yourself to turn around the ingrained belief that you will fail at something. Envision a positive outcome instead. Stop waiting for the other proverbial shoe to drop.
Look For a Higher Purpose
Many 12-step type support groups tout a higher power as part of their programs. For those who are inclined to enjoy a religious belief system, utilize this as your higher power. For those who prefer something else, look for other options. Think about what makes you tick and enjoy the fact that you can choose a higher power that makes sense for you. A sense of spirituality can be found in things like nature, science, love, or volunteer work.
Work With Others In Recovery
Once you have reached a strong point in your own recovery from a substance abuse disorder, you may want to consider becoming a sponsor. A sponsor is someone who has banked time in recovery and has something to offer those who are coming up behind them. Inquire if anyone in your support group is looking for a sponsor. Talk to them to see if the two of you might be a good fit.
If being an official sponsor doesn’t sound like the right fit, look for other ways to work within a recovery context. Support groups might need volunteers for office work or to assist in welcoming newcomers. Look for websites that need someone to write a guest blog about their recovery experience. Network with others in recovery about how to give back to your community. The act of doing so can help you develop a stronger immunity to relapse.
Addiction Treatment in Texas
Are you ready to leave addiction to drugs and alcohol behind? Purpose Driven Recovery can help you learn the skills that keep you from relapsing. Call Purpose Driven Recovery at (713) 266-1507 or click here to contact them. They will help you get started on the road to recovery.