Recovering from drug or alcohol addiction is not a quick or easy task. It takes a lot of time, energy, and dedication to get over a dependence and resist the urge to use substances. With all of the challenges that recovery brings, there’s a risk that people who are trying to overcome their addiction will relapse and begin using drugs or alcohol again. Relapsing does not mean that someone’s recovery journey is over, but it can put a bump in the road and potentially lead to a person abusing substances again. To prevent relapse, individuals who are in recovery should practice certain techniques that will calm them down and clear the mind.
What Does It Mean To Relapse?
To relapse technically means to go back to using alcohol or drugs after being abstinent. Using drugs or alcohol again is an ever-present thought during the recovery process. It is difficult to resist relapse, but it is very possible with enough motivation, treatment, and support. When a person relapses, they may begin to display certain signs and behaviors. Someone who recently relapsed may lie about their behaviors and hide their drug or alcohol use, have financial problems, isolate themselves from loved ones, or experience guilt and anxiety about using.
Reasons Why Someone May Relapse
Everyone who fights addiction has their own personal triggers, but some are more common than others. Some of the most common include boredom, stress, loneliness, sleep issues, withdrawal, trauma, bad relationships, peer pressure, and being in places with drugs or alcohol. In order to avoid relapse, it’s important for a person to understand what their triggers are.
Strategies to Prevent Relapse
Along with being aware of their individual triggers, people who want to stick with their recovery should practice relapse prevention techniques regularly. Here are some strategies that you can utilize if you are working to prevent drug or alcohol relapse:
- Distract yourself. See a movie, take a walk, bake a cake, or enjoy other hobbies.
- Record your thoughts. Keep a journal and write down when you feel tempted.
- Do breathwork and focus on your breathing when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
- Call a friend or ask for help when you’re tempted to use alcohol or drugs.
- Play out what would happen in your mind if you started using regularly again.
- Try to eat balanced meals and drink plenty of water.
- Learn how to deal with negative emotions on the spot.
- Meditate and practice mindfulness exercises.
- Remind yourself of your reasons for quitting.
- Practice and prioritize self-care.
While the techniques above can be helpful, they are not all for everyone who struggles with substance abuse. Many psychologists and treatment specialists offer relapse prevention plans that are tailored to the individual and their needs.
The most important thing to remember is that nobody’s recovery journey is perfect. Recovery will not be achieved overnight, and it’s okay to move slowly. There are many support groups and resources available for individuals going through recovery who are working to prevent relapse.
Relapse & Addiction Treatment
If someone does relapse, it does not mean that they failed. People who relapse have the ability to start over with their recovery journey and get back on track if they choose. Recovery takes a lot of hard work, but it is very worth it to live a happy and healthy life free of drugs or alcohol.
For more tips on how to avoid relapse or to enroll in a treatment program, contact our team of addiction specialists by giving us a call at 267.719.8528.