Not everyone is equally strong and has the same willpower. Thoughts about drugs or alcohol are a common thing after detox, and they’re completely normal. If you, or someone you love still long for an addictive substance from the past, even after you’ve been officially “clean” for a while, don’t beat yourself about it. It’s important to understand the most common triggers and prevent them by minimizing the chances of responding to them. Here are some tips for relapse prevention.
Stay focused on the recovery
Becoming mindfully aware of our thought patterns and the exact triggers before we reach for a drink or a drug, can be the last barrier between long-term recovery and relapse. What is the cause of your worries and anxieties? Stress at work, love life, low self-esteem, or something else? Everything can be solved. Talk to your close ones or experts in the mental health field. Whatever bothers you, addictive substances are not a solution, they will only shortly mask up the problem.
Scientists say that relapse begins weeks and even months before an individual picks up a drug or a drink. It’s important to understand the early warning signs of relapse to develop some coping strategies and prevent it early when the chances of success are high.
Don’t bottle up your feelings
A big part of drug or alcohol rehabilitation is about honesty and communication. It’s about discussing all your important feelings with a close friend. This is something for family and friends to keep in mind. A person that is recovering from addictive behaviors is often quiet and secretive.
When you get out of the detox facility, it’s definitely not the end of the process. There will be struggles and a lot of temptations. Talk them out! Make your family a sounding board for your emotions, don’t be scared to express your emotions, especially if you find them to be dark.
Don’t see boredom as an enemy
Time drags when we’re having a period of boredom, and all there is to think about is how much we wish something else more exciting was going on. Boredom is an enemy for most people, especially those going through an addiction fight. Boredom was probably the main cause of substance abuse in the first place. A person struggling with addictive behaviors needs healthy ways to handle boredom to support relapse prevention.
There are many hobbies to choose from, plenty of movies to go see, and TV shows to watch. Make sure to have friends and family close; it’s of great importance to have someone to call to in the moments you need to fill some time. Learning to focus your mind on more useful and productive things is not easy, but it’s not impossible. Instead of describing something as “boring”, think about it as “meditative” and take a mental rest from the outside world.
Make sure to have a support group
Having support of any kind—either from your loved ones or your support group is crucial to recovery. The addict can’t disappear if they remain in the old social groups that reinforce the old, addictive behavior. This is where family and support groups come handy. You need someone who understands what you are going through. You need a group of people that will support your new sober behavior and offer ideas and strategies that will encourage your new sober identity to grow and flourish.
NEVER think of relapse as a failure
Relapse is a possible part of a recovery process. It is considered an integral part of the recovery. Do not get discouraged if you relapse. Addiction is a disease, and returning to treatment is common to most diseases.
The notion that relapse is a sign of failure is an obstacle that people with substance abuse must get rid of, and this is where a positive mindset can do a lot. The ability to control cravings comes with time. Those who have achieved long-term sobriety have learned to well control the urges and triggers from their past. Every mistake means a new and valuable lesson to better resist cravings in the future.
Relapse prevention is never guaranteed, but the only way to get sober is to try. Get started on your road to recovery by contacting our team at Compass Detox. Call today!