How to Prevent a Drug Relapse
If you or a loved one has recently completed a rehab treatment, it’s important to take the proper precautions of preventing a drug relapse. Find out more here.
According to recent statistics, roughly 1/3 of addicts who enter a treatment center will fall victim to an alcohol or drug relapse within 1 year.
Unfortunately, another recent study proved that deaths from a drug overdose are on the rise – in every state in America. This means that a drug relapse can have deadly consequences.
Whether you or someone you love has finished treatment, a network of support is invaluable when it comes to preventing a drug relapse.
In this post, we’ll tell you some of the most important steps you can take to set yourself or someone else up for success in their recovery.
Celebrate Small Accomplishments
Too often, addicts that have completed recovery can feel as though their life still leaves a lot to be desired.
Now that they don’t have the effects of drugs or alcohol as a distraction from their problems, or even just to fill their time, they can see more clearly that they may have fallen behind.
It’s very common for recently sober addicts to relapse because they feel that it’s impossible for them to “catch up” to where they should be.
One way you can prevent this?
By celebrating the small steps you or your loved one takes every day to get one step closer to their goal. Don’t focus on what you haven’t done and allow yourself to get overwhelmed by all you have yet to accomplish.
Instead, ask yourself, “What is one thing that I did today to get myself one step closer to that goal?” Maybe you revamped your work resume. Maybe you reconnected with an old friend and positive role model.
Maybe you just made it one more day without drinking or using.
Especially when you consider that only 1 out of every 10 people with an addiction actually seek treatment, that’s an enormous accomplishment in itself.
Strike the right balance of living in the moment, while also planning for the future.
Take Preventative Action
Another common reason for drug relapse?
Many people in recovery wrongly assume that once they’ve made it through the first 90 days, they are “cured.” If you or someone you love understands that addiction is a disease, it can be easy to feel like everything is going “fine.”
It can also be easy to let your recovery process slip. It starts by not making the time to call your sponsor, head to group, or make an appointment with a therapist. Before you know it, all of a sudden you’re using again — and you’re not even sure how it happened.
Remember that when you’re still feeling strong enough to get help is when you need to take preventative action. Plus, as you transition back into the “real world,” you’ll also have to face the reality that temptation is all around you.
As a result, even if you’re feeling strong now, it’s always good to prepare for those times when you’re not — and trust us, they will come.
Remember to take time to meditate, say the Serenity Prayer, and even exercise. Additionally, make sure you’re getting enough sleep.
One of the best ways to ensure you’re still taking care of yourself? Schedule things in advance, and even at your home. This means making plans for the weekend on a Monday, or inviting a few people from group to your home for a movie night.
If you can also propel that preventative care into being a role model to help others stay clean, you’ll feel that much more motivated to stick with it.
Stay Away from Temptation
We mentioned above that sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you’ll be faced with temptation at some point during the recovery process.
While you can’t always control these tempting situations, you need to focus on the ones that you can steer clear of.
Temptation comes in lots of different forms, and it’s a slippery slope. You can convince yourself that you’re just “checking in” on old friends that you used to use with, “because you care.”
But in reality, you’re much more likely going because you want to revisit your old life. And it’s highly possible that, in such a permissive atmosphere that’s even antagonistic to the idea of sobriety, you’ll give in.
Temptation isn’t just about avoiding triggering places, like bars or the park where your drug dealer hangs out. It’s also about avoiding the people that encourage you to make poor choices.
Often, most people find that saying goodbye to their old drinking and drug buddies is one of the hardest parts about recovery.
Keep in mind that it’s perfectly natural, even healthy, to mourn these types of friendships. And the chances are that you truly do want the people from your old life to get help and to get clean.
But remember, nobody can make that choice for them. They can only get help when they are truly ready for it.
Be Open About Your Recovery
You don’t need to tell everyone you meet in the grocery store line that you’re in recovery.
However, it does help you to stay sober if you inform the people around you of your intentions. It’s not just about holding yourself accountable. It also means that those who care about you will help you to avoid the temptations we discussed throughout this article.
You’ll likely be surprised by the amount of support you’ll find around you. Embrace it — and never be afraid to ask for help if you feel yourself starting to slip.
Prevent a Drug Relapse With These Tips
We hope that this post has helped you to understand that proactivity, accountability, and an elimination of temptation will all help you to stay sober.
However, you can do everything right and still relapse — it’s just another part of the recovery process.
The important thing is to forgive yourself, and then to move towards focusing on your recovery again.
When you’re ready to seek help or want to learn more about treatment programs for someone you love, we invite you to spend some time on our website or to reach out to us.