Even if you have been sober for months or have completed treatment or rehab and consider yourself clean at the moment, the journey is not over. Recovery is not a one-time thing.
The best way to practice drug relapse prevention is to know the warning signs and to know more about addiction. Relapses are very frequent for addicts in recovery. How can you prevent it? By knowing the signs.
The temptation of relapse can be stronger at some times than others. That's the danger of being in recovery; there isn't truly one moment where you can say that you're fine and you need to stop fighting.
Only abstinence and consistency as well as a strong commitment to leading a sober and successful life can help you achieve your goals. If you're in recovery, your goal is to be in the percentage of individuals in recovery that avoid relapse and do what they can to stay clean.
Relapses can be brought on by triggers. It could be a break up or any other type of interaction, relationship in your life, or event that puts you into a vulnerable place. Some of the dangers of triggers often include the fact that they can be used to justify using again by an addict.
Triggers can be environmental, emotional, or based on exposure and can also be based off of old routines and memories. Each person is different, but common triggers often include strong negative emotions, being around people or places that remind you of using, having drugs or alcohol present around you, seeing examples of addiction, being in a 'party' mentality, and using substances.
The death of a loved one, financial pressures, health problems, conflict, marital status, and more can also be triggers that lead to an eventual relapse. If you know that you or someone you know is experiencing one or more of these triggers, you can be prepared to look for warning signs with them (or yourself) and offer or encourage them to seek support.
- Hanging out with people with whom they used to use
- Changes in personality, behavior, routine
- Changes in sleep, health, hygiene, or appetite
- Overconfidence or self-pitying attitude
Ways to Prevent Relapse:
- Avoiding the presence of drugs and alcohol
- Knowing what your triggers are
- Knowing what other people's triggers are
- Having a support system in place
- Avoiding anything that makes you crave a drink or drugs
- Talking to a therapist
- Getting enough rest, exercise, and nutrition
- Stick to your schedule
- Attending AA meetings
- H.A.L.T.: Keep in mind that when you are Hungry Angry Lonely or Tired that you may be especially vulnerable to making poor choices.
- Take a moment to assess or call a sponsor or friend if you're feeling tempted.
- Come up with a plan of action with your sponsor or therapist.
Recovery isn't easy, but it's worth it. Never stop fighting for your sobriety. Use these tips to prevent relapse and always reach out to those that support you in your journey to be a sober as well as happy and healthy individual.