If you are recovering from an alcohol or drug use disorder, you have experienced the challenges that entail. Because addiction is a chronic disease, it can’t be cured, but staying sober is an achievable goal. Realize that relapse does not mean the end of recovery. It is not a defeat but a new challenge to be met and overcome, without shame. However, avoiding relapse is the goal of everyone in recovery, and some strategies can be used to do so. Participating in a relapse prevention program or devising a relapse prevention plan with a sobriety counselor is another excellent idea for anyone living a sober life at any stage of recovery.
There are many benefits to making a relapse prevention plan. Finding outlets for your painful emotions and feeling secure in what steps you will take post-rehab will help you manage any anxiety that arises about the future. If you have any questions about relapse prevention, call Serenity Light Recovery at 855.658.6109 or use our online form.
How to Avoid Relapse
Did you know that the crucial turning point before relapse happens is not the decision to use the drug or take the drink but the choice to let yourself be subjected to triggers? Triggers can be: walking past the liquor display at your grocery store, meeting friends at a place where you used to drink or use drugs, seeing your dealer’s contact information on your phone. Making the decision not to subject yourself to these and other triggers is critical.
Hit the Pause Button
If you feel the urge to use, wait it out. There is evidence that suggests the pause is powerful. If you can distract yourself for even half an hour, your craving will likely subside to a more manageable level. Even if it does not disappear, it will have less power over you.
Don’t Go It Alone
Accountability to people who care about and support you can have a compelling effect on you as you face temptations and the choices that accompany them. Trusted others can be your allies. Find one, two, or more dependable people to confide in, and when you are feeling vulnerable to relapse, reach out to them.
Make a Plan B
Give some thought to how you will do life’s celebrations differently, including everything from weekend activities to holidays. Loop in your support network to help you with this. What will you replace the old ways with making you feel just as excited and positive? For example, if you get engaged, find a new job, or it’s Thanksgiving, how will you celebrate that does not compromise your sobriety?
Plan for Challenges
When things don’t go as planned, or you experience setbacks or loss, have a plan in place for these moments, too. Setbacks are part of life, and in the past, drug or alcohol use probably played a big part in how you coped. Having a sober plan lined up in advance will help you get through these difficult times.
This Too Shall Pass
Never forget that truism. When we are in the middle of an awful experience—being heartbroken, sick, or hopeless—we wonder if this is just the “new normal” with no end in sight. But there is always an end. Cravings are the same way. They hit hard, and they can be brutal, but they will go away. It may help to write it down, or say it over and over, or offer the thought (as in a prayer, perhaps) to your higher power: this too shall pass.
How Serenity Light Recovery Can Help
Staying sober after rehab is possible, and is a worthy goal that many have sought before you.
You are not alone in this work. The support of peer groups, therapists, and recovery coaches is out there and available to you. At Serenity Light Recovery, our professional mental health practitioners can help you devise a relapse prevention plan that is effective for avoiding relapse. Please contact us today to learn more about how we can help you avoid relapse and live your best life. Call 855.658.6109 or use our online form.