tips to prevent relapse
Macro photo of tooth wheel mechanism with imprinted arrows and RELAPSE, RECOVERY concept words

If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve already addressed your addiction to drugs or alcohol and took the proper steps to better yourself. 

Whether you’ve been sober for three days, three months, or three years, recovery is not a linear process. There might be tougher days where you find yourself wanting to break sobriety and feed into your addiction.

Don’t let this addiction creep back into your life — especially after you’ve put in a lot of work and effort to get to where you are today. To keep the momentum going, create a relapse prevention plan to help you stay sober.

Keep reading to find out six tips on how to avoid relapse.

Avoid Relapse In 2021

According to data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, drug addiction relapse rates can vary between 40-60%. 

As mentioned earlier, recovery is not a simple process — you might find yourself craving the things that once hurt you in the past. However, recognizing that you might fall into these patterns before it evolves is part of that process. 

If you’re trying to avoid relapse in the new year, look no further than these tips.

1. Be Aware of What Triggers You

The first step to acknowledging a potential relapse is knowing what might trigger you to turn to old habits again.

There are many common factors that can trigger or affect your decision to relapse, including:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety/stress
  • Sensory triggers, like tastes and smells
  • Times of celebration or where you would normally use, like holidays and birthdays
  • Specific places and people that remind you of certain memories tied to drug/alcohol abuse
  • A negative outlook that can be tied to anger, guilt, and frustration

While no two people have the same triggers, it is important to know what they are and how to tackle them. The next step is to compose an easily accessible list of ways to deal with your triggers. In the moment, your judgment may be clouded and it may be hard to think of ways on the spot. Your list, however, should help put your mind at ease in a stressful, triggering situation. 

2. Practice Self-Care

While you’re recovering from addiction, you may experience post-acute withdrawal symptoms like exhaustion and insomnia. These are known triggers for relapse. 

It’s important to make sure you get enough rest so you can feel good and have plenty of energy throughout your day. If you partake in physical exercise for at least 30 minutes and implement a healthy, balanced diet into your daily routine, your quality of sleep will improve significantly. 

A simple way to do this is to create a daily schedule for when you plan to eat, work, exercise, and sleep. This will train your body to not only get a good night’s sleep but reduce the risk of falling into old habits and relapsing.

3. Join a Support Group

Support groups are an effective option among patients of any kind, whether they’re addicts or dealing with loss. It’s comforting to know that you can speak to a group of people who are going through the same thing you are. It’s also helpful when it comes to being vulnerable and speaking about your own problems. 

Plus, it’s a sign that you are never alone on your journey. There’s an opportunity for you to connect and develop a strong bond with the members of your support group, which in turn helps with encouragement and making sure you stay on track.

Alcoholics Anonymous is a popular option for those dealing with alcohol addiction. For those struggling with a narcotics addiction, Narconon is a similar program.

While these groups cater specifically to recovering addicts, there are other options that can help keep your mind off of relapsing. Even if it’s an art class, a culinary course, or a book club, it can help you on your journey of staying sober.

4. Reach Out to People You Trust

If you don’t already have a list of people you can reach out to in times of desperation, you should do so immediately. Your emergency contact list should consist of people you love and trust who will help you when you’re vulnerable. This can range from healthy family members, friends, or other people you know who are also recovering. 

When you feel the urge to use again, reach out to one or several people from your list. They should be able to comfort you and help you dismiss the craving. This method is particularly helpful because it can take your mind off of relapse in the given moment.

5. Think About The Outcome

In moments where you find yourself wanting to relapse, it’s helpful to think about what would potentially happen if you do. If you have a history of hurting yourself or others after substance abuse, you’d probably want to avoid relapse. Imagine what will happen in the future — both short and long term — if you go through with it. Think about how it will affect your day to day life, your loved ones, and other people you care about.

This is a good tip to help clear your conscience in defenseless moments.

6. Seek Professional Help

If you’ve tried several methods (including the ones mentioned above) to stay strong but still find yourself struggling, it may be beneficial to reach out to a professional for help. Addiction treatment and recovery centers are an attainable option if you feel you need special guidance to keep you on the right track. While it might not be your first choice, inpatient facilities are also effective if you want to take extra steps and make sure you won’t be exposed to drugs or alcohol. 

Looking For More Resources?

If you or a loved one are still feeling a little lost and need more guidance, Lighthouse Recovery Centers can be a source of light in the darkness. Visit our blog for more information and tips regarding addiction, relapse prevention, and rehabilitation programs.

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