The completion of a drug or alcohol recovery program is a tremendous accomplishment but those who struggle with addiction know it is only the beginning. Recovery is a life-long journey and for many, relapse will unfortunately be part of their journey to sobriety. While everyone’s road to recovery will be different there are some things that everyone can do to help avoid relapse.
Know Your Triggers: Create a list of the people, places or situations that have led to your drug/alcohol abuse in the past. When you can identify the triggers that caused you to use in the past, you can avoid them moving forward. Often, those in recovery will feel the need to prove to others that they can handle a situation where substances may be available. This can be very dangerous. Understand that the feeling to use is normal and avoiding triggers will help you stay sober.
Stay Active: Walking, Running, Biking or any other outdoor activity will help you to avoid temptation and live a healthier lifestyle. Volunteering your time will help others and provide you with the satisfaction of making a difference in someone else’s life. Staying active will help keep your mind off of the feeling to use.
Create A Safety Network: Create a network of “healthy” friends & family to help when you have feel the draw of addiction. Avoid those people who have caused you to want to use in the past. Change your number, delete/block unwanted numbers and texts, and change your social media. Try to communicate with those who are dedicated to your success. While your cravings will subside over time, there will be random times where your body remembers how much it wants use. Make sure that you have someone you can call at all hours of the day or night. Do not be afraid to call at any time or on any day of the year.
Create a Schedule: Map out your Day, Week or even your Year. Creating a balanced schedule will help you to avoid difficult situations and bolster a healthy living environment. Know that it is okay to adjust your schedule. Life will toss you curveballs and disrupt your schedule and its okay.
Work the System: Work the 12 steps and continue to attend meetings. Many times those who relapse have become complacent and stopped going to meetings or seeking support. While getting sober can seem like the biggest step, know that this is only the first step in the life-long battle of recovery. Don’t be afraid to call someone for support who you haven’t asked for support in a long time. Attend meetings even if you do not feel the temptation to use.
Lastly, know that relapse doesn’t mark the end of your recovery. If you’ve been sober in the past you CAN do it again. Many times people feel like they have failed after a relapse and are afraid to ask for help again. Don’t be afraid to let your support system know of your relapse. Admitting you need help is the first step to get back on the right track.