If you or a loved one has been through an addiction treatment program and completed it that is a major accomplishment. Rehab is typically a safe and guarded place with no temptations and constant support. While there, relapse prevention tools were learned and aftercare plans were made so that you are prepared for the outside world. But while successfully completing a program in rehab is an amazing accomplishment, it is also only the beginning! Remaining substance-free is a lifelong journey and sometimes a struggle that doesn’t end when rehab is over. True addiction recovery takes courage, persistence and hard work to prevent relapse.
Here are five simple tips for effective relapse prevention.
- Avoid situations where you may be tempted to drink.
You may want to prove to yourself and others that you can now be around drugs or alcohol and not use them. But this is a dangerous and usually uncomfortable ambition! You may be able to resist temptation one time or even several, but that might not always be the case, especially when still early on in your addiction recovery. Situations where you are tempted to drink could be physical or emotional and mental. Definitely avoid places that could trigger you emotionally, like your old drinking haunts or the neighborhood of someone you were once in a relationship with.
- Develop a strong support network.
This one is very simple. Surround yourself with positive people, especially people who are also in addiction recovery. You are going to need help in your new, sober life, so spend time and develop strong relationships with healthy people who can be there for you in a non-codependent way. It’s also best to sever unhealthy relationships, particularly with people you once used or drank with. Block their phone numbers and even delete them from your social media.
- Create a set daily schedule and follow it.
Make time for relaxation and fun as well as work and recovery. Creating a schedule is a powerful way to develop a healthy routine. There are usually set routines in rehab, and when you create one as part of your aftercare, you set yourself up to continue a disciplined and joyful life!
- Don’t get complacent in your addiction recovery.
There’s no other way to say it – complacency is dangerous. Most people are very motivated when they are right out of addiction treatment, but this motivation can quickly dwindle as other responsibilities come up. They think as their life improves, continuing to go to 12-step meetings and building a support network isn’t as necessary. And perhaps not everything learned in rehab is necessary since everyone’s recovery is different – but it’s essential to find what works for you and sick to it.
- Don’t view a relapse as a failure.
Relapsing can seem like the worst thing in the world, and yes, it does usually have consequences. But viewing it as a failure will keep you sick and unhappy. If you could stay sober before, you can do it again! If you relapse, immediately reach out for help and go back to 12-step meetings right away if that is a tool you use. Take note of the actions you took and emotions you felt that possibly led to your relapse so you don’t repeat them. By processing the things that encouraged a relapse, you can learn from them and your mistakes. It will only make you stronger in your recovery!
Relapse prevention is a key component of everything we do at New Life. To speak confidentially with one of our recovery advisors, please call us at (855) 658-0035 to discuss what treatment plan will be most effective for you.