When you finally decided to get ahead of your life and quit drugs or alcohol, you took your initial step towards recovery. However, you may have thought that all your anticipated problems will go away when you enter rehab, only to find out that a bunch of them are still there. You can have mixed feelings about changing your old circle of friends, and you can also feel doubtful about your commitment to stay sober. However, it is important to bear in mind that recovery is a major life decision that takes time. Addiction treatment and recovery are more about the journey than the destination. Maintaining sobriety involves relapse prevention planning so that you can keep your goals. This article shall discuss relapse, what is involved in a relapse prevention plan, and the importance of aftercare and sober living after drug rehab.
What is Relapse?
When dealing with addiction, a relapse takes place when someone gets sober, and then starts using drugs or alcohol again. The sad part is that relapses often happen when you least expect them. Some people might suffer a relapse during the withdrawal phases of detox. Other people might suffer a relapse after 30 years of sobriety.
Relapse may begin when you think that you can control drug or alcohol use and you take a chance to use it again. Some common relapse triggers may also include the following:
- Poor stress management of problems related to work, school, or family situations. When crisis or stresses build up, some people go back to alcohol and drug use.
- Failing to address your legal, medical, or financial problems. You must not only solve the problems, but you also have to deal with your stress.
- You give in to your alcohol and drug cravings.
- You no longer stick to your recovery plan. You may have missed several AA meetings or meeting with your support groups.
- When stressed, you immediately think of drinking or using drugs again to cope up with it. You no longer want to deal with your loneliness, boredom, and other negative emotions using the life skills you learned in the rehab or sober living facility.
Relapse Prevention Plan Componenets
Detox and treatment programs may not be enough to establish a complete and continuing recovery. You need to learn a new lifestyle, through relapse prevention planning. In a nutshell, you need a guide to your new life without drugs or alcohol. Achieving sobriety is only a baby step towards full recovery. You need to grow as a person and you can only achieve this through a personal evaluation of your entire life and the development of a long-term plan for your total recovery. After rehab, a relapse prevention plan aimed to achieve long-term changes shall follow.
A good aftercare program and sober living facility will help you learn skills that will allow you to stick to your relapse prevention plan. Planning revolves around three major components:
- People involved in your recovery: Your sponsor, counselor, family, and friends. Family members and friends who also attend AA meetings or family therapy learn how to help the addict stay sober.
- Life skills and effective stress management techniques: It is important to know what triggers your relapse and how you can handle them. You will learn techniques on how to reduce your daily stress.
- Know when to ask for help: Once you need help because you’re beginning to stay off track again you need to seek for it.
6 Relapse Prevention Tips & Strategies
Relapse can be a scary concept, but it’s avoidable. To help avoid relapse, it’s important to make a commitment to sobriety every morning you wake up, and every evening before you go to bed. There are a few points to keep in mind when it comes to addiction, drug abuse, and most importantly, relapses.
- Know the signs: You can suffer a relapse in your mind before you use drugs or alcohol again. When the cravings start, this is your mind warning you that relapse is on the way. It’s important to educate yourself on what craving feels like so you can watch out for it. By staying focused during sobriety, and making an effort to be in touch with your feelings, you can recognize these signs, and stop the relapse.
- Be in touch with your emotions: Being in touch with your emotions is a big component to avoiding relapse. Your emotional state is directly related to your addiction. If you’ve completed treatment, you probably learned about your triggers that drive you to drink alcohol or use drugs. By checking in with yourself daily and taking the right measures to stay happy, you’re much more likely to use the healthy coping mechanisms you learned in treatment and way less likely to relapse.
- Stay busy: There is a saying that idle hands are the devil’s workshop. This is particularly true for addicts. If you’re bored, you’re more likely to think about drugs or alcohol. A great way to stay busy is by picking up a new hobby such as exercise, painting, reading, or volunteering.
- Create a routine and stick to it: If you’ve been sober for a while, you may feel like you no longer have to work on yourself. You may stop going to group therapy meetings, or you may want to stop seeing your therapist. Don’t do this. The main reason you’ve been able to stay sober is because of your routine. Your routine helps you keep working on things a day at a time.
- Always have an emergency contact: Having that one person you can call day or night, no matter what the circumstances are, can help immensely in sobriety. Getting sober is hard, and it’s nice not to have to do hard things alone. Find someone who is nonjudgmental and always happy to lend an ear. They’ll do a much better job than drugs or alcohol at making you feel better.
- Have a backup plan: This can also be thought of as protecting yourself. Just because you’re sober doesn’t mean your life should stop. If you want to see friends and they’re at a place where alcohol is involved, drive yourself there, so you can leave at any time. You’ll be less likely to feel like you want to drink if you know you can leave the place if you start to feel uncomfortable. If you rely on public transportation to get around, look up the schedule before you head out, so you know when the next train or bus is coming.
Let Us Help You Stay On Track
Soba Recovery Center is a premier drug and alcohol treatment program with locations in Arizona and Texas. Our detox and inpatient treatment programs help individuals overcome addiction and regain control of their lives. We also offer sober living and aftercare services designed to keep you on track with your recovery and maintain the progress you have made during your time in treatment.
Our unique luxury program combines traditional addiction treatment with modern therapies to assist our participants in overcoming substance abuse for good. If you are interested in learning more about how our professionals can help you beat addiction, contact us today!