Technically, a relapse can be defined as a return to drug and substance abuse after a period of detox or rehab. Relapse is, however, a more personal problem, contrary to what most people think. Actually, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, over 60% of people struggling with addiction will eventually relapse within a year of recovery or detox. The statistics are startling, but those who had a personal experience with drug addiction and recovery are aware of the challenges and hardships in the recovery journey. Therefore, because the possibility of relapse is always rife during the recovery journey, equipping yourself with a variety of relapse prevention strategies will help you in achieving your long-term sobriety goals.
Identifying the Relapse Triggers
When you identify your relapse triggers, you stand a higher chance of attaining your long-term sobriety goals as well as full recovery. This requires one to identify the situations, surroundings, and the people who encourage you to use drugs or drink. Once you’ve recognized these, you can go ahead and plan on how to avoid them in the future. This is one of the best and proven strategies to help prevent relapse. You can cut ties with lousy influence or old friends who encouraged alcohol or drug abuse. At home, you can also clean out all the alcohol and drug paraphernalia you had hoarded during the addiction period. Make your house a clear reflection of your new life, especially in the long-term recovery process.
The urge to go back to drugs or alcohol is always present and can, at times, be uncontrollable. During this period, it’s advisable to distract yourself with activities. As they say, “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.” It may sound simple, but it has proven to be one of the most effective strategies. The cravings will always be there, but time passes fast when distracted by an activity such as going for a run, meditating, showering, playing instruments, catching up with a friend, a sport, and walking, among others.
Building a Support Network
The recovery process isn’t an easy one and requires a shoulder to lean on. You don’t have to go through it alone as there are millions of people out there living in recovery. These individuals have once been where you were and understand what you’re going through. You can easily find such people in the community and start by developing healthy relationships with them. Make use of their advice and wisdom as a guiding light in your recovery path. This way, even when things get hard, you can lean on your support network for help instead of going back to drugs and alcohol.
Learning to Deal with Both Negative and Positive Emotions
Drug and alcohol abuse is known to impair brain pathways and can alter the way one regulates emotions. To avoid relapse, one has to learn how to deal with his or her feelings without relying on alcohol or drugs as support. This isn’t as easy as it sounds as the day-to-day activities contribute to the build-up of stress, which is the primary cause of relapse. Instead of ignoring the negative feelings, learn to live with them every day, and to manage them. Positive events such as weddings and parties can provide a conducive environment for relapse where many people are engaging in alcohol or other drugs, hence being a strong trigger.
Armed with these strategies, your recovery journey can be a lot easier and less susceptible to relapse. For more information, you can check out Detox of South Florida, Inc and learn more about the recovery journey and relapse.