10 Tips for Avoiding Relapse Article

They often enter treatment saying, “We want our old life back — without the using.” I try to help clients understand that wishing for their old life back is like wishing for relapse. Rather than seeing the need for change as a negative, they are encouraged to see recovery as an opportunity for change. If they make the necessary changes, they can go forward and be happier than they were before. It forces people to reevaluate their lives and make changes that non-addicts don’t have to make.

Whether it’s walking, jogging, yoga, biking, swimming, lifting weights, or something else, there’s bound to be a way to get your body moving that you’ll enjoy. If you want to prevent relapse, use your time to find some new activities you enjoy or rediscover those that addiction took away from you. Try out a new recipe in the kitchen, go to a concert with some sober friends, or join a slow pitch softball league. There are countless ways to occupy your time that don’t include drugs. For example, if you don’t take care of yourself and eat poorly or have poor sleep habits, you’ll feel exhausted and want to escape.

The book “I Want to Change My Life.” contains more information on how to overcome anxiety, depression, and addiction. Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 15,278 times. Study the science and psychology of addiction for a deeper understanding of your urges. It is important to remember that recovery is a long process and a small mistake does not mean that you have failed.

Find a healthy way to release your negativity and boost your mood. An addictions specialist or another mental health professional can help you develop additional coping strategies. After a relapse, some people may feel like they lost all the progress they made and that their recovery is back at day one. Instead of getting discouraged, it’s better to put energy into recommitting to recovery.

This is an unfortunate statistic, but it’s not a prediction for your life. Each individual relies on various coping mechanisms and trigger-avoidance techniques to maintain sobriety. Relapse is a probability for 40–to–60 percent of individuals after addiction treatment. Bennett GA, Withers J, Thomas PW, Higgins DS, Bailey J, Parry L.

Another goal of therapy at this stage is to help clients identify their denial. I find it helpful to encourage clients to compare their current behavior to behavior during past relapses and see if their self-care is worsening or improving. I have also included a link to a public service video on relapse prevention that contains many of the ideas in this article and that is freely available to individuals and institutions . Drug and alcohol detox can be the toughest step in any journey through substance use recovery. Learn more about symptoms, treatment, and aftercare.


People who struggle with addiction frequently lose their capacity to know when to stop. Or, treating yourself to one, unnecessary new pair of shoes could lead to a shopping spree. For additional ideas, work with your counselor or therapist about how to effectively deal with these reminders. But, recovery is not just about “quitting” and “abstaining” as much as it’s about building a new life in which it is easier—and more desirable—not to use. It’s also important to learn positive ways to successfully manage the stress.

how to not relapse

This can be difficult if you have been addicted for a long time because most of your friends are likely addicts as well. If you are serious about avoiding a relapse you have to avoid these friends as much as possible. Looking back on your former behaviors in a favorable light can be dangerous. Instead of referring to your time before recovery as something like ‘The Good Ol’ Days,’ be sure to remember the negative impact that the addiction had on your life.

Asking family for a place to stay or a ride to appointments is often easier than asking friends or acquaintances. This is also the time to deal with any family of origin issues or any past trauma that may have occurred. These are issues that clients are sometimes eager to get to. But they can be stressful issues, and, if tackled too soon, clients may not have the necessary coping skills to handle them, which may lead to relapse.

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It is often said that recovering individuals are as sick as their secrets. One of the challenges of therapy is to help clients practice telling the truth and practice admitting when they have misspoken and quickly correcting it. Finally, physical relapse is when an individual starts using again. Some researchers divide physical relapse into a “lapse” and a “relapse” . Clinical experience has shown that when clients focus too strongly on how much they used during a lapse, they do not fully appreciate the consequences of one drink.

What are the 3 behavioral triggers?

  • Spark: The spark trigger motivates you to act.
  • Facilitator: This trigger works with complicated things like dealing with trauma, setting up a new phone, etc.
  • Signal: Signal triggers act like reminders of who we are, what we can do, or what we want to do.

Clinical experience has shown that this stage usually starts 3 to 5 years after individuals have stopped using drugs or alcohol and is a lifetime path. To prevent relapse, a person must first understand which specific triggers make them feel vulnerable. While it’s not always possible to completely avoid them, becoming self-aware of the physical, environmental, and mental triggers that cause cravings is a crucial step in recovery. Many people find it beneficial to work with a counselor or therapist to identify triggers and learn healthy ways to react and cope.

Tips for Avoiding Relapse

Probably the most important thing to understand about post-acute withdrawal is its prolonged duration, which can last up to 2 years . The danger is that the symptoms tend to come and go. It is not unusual to have no symptoms for 1 to 2 weeks, only to get hit again . This is when people are at risk of relapse, when they are unprepared eco sober house review for the protracted nature of post-acute withdrawal. Clinical experience has shown that when clients struggle with post-acute withdrawal, they tend to catastrophize their chances of recovery. The cognitive challenge is to encourage clients to measure their progress month-to-month rather than day-to-day or week-to-week.

how to not relapse

As individuals go deeper into mental relapse, their cognitive resistance to relapse diminishes and their need for escape increases. Relapse prevention is why most people seek treatment. By the time most individuals seek help, they have already tried to quit on their own and they are looking eco sober house cost for a better solution. This article offers a practical approach to relapse prevention that works well in both individual and group therapy. People who struggle with addiction need effective ways of tolerating, managing, and making sense of the negative feelings encountered in daily life.

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When you are helping other people, it is much harder to focus on and wallow in your own misery. Build a support network to keep in touch with after treatment.

What are warning signs of triggers?

  • Negative emotions that stimulate drug seeking behavior (stress, anger, fear, frustration, guilt, anxiety, depression, loneliness)
  • Friends, locations or events that remind the addict of using.
  • Exposure to drugs of abuse.

” Acknowledge that it is difficult to make a change. Learning to recognize triggers, getting help from a counselor, and building a support network are all useful tools in preventing https://sober-house.org/ a relapse. Do everything you can to protect yourself, but don’t beat yourself up if you do slip. Aim to learn how to get comfortable with uncomfortable feelings and emotions.

Finding a support group has gotten much easier with the internet. Look for groups in your area that are specific to your addiction. You could also ask your mental health professional or doctor to refer a group to you. Consider these 10 methods for preventing relapse and craft an individual approach to affirm your dedication to a healthy, happy, and sober life. The most important rule of recovery is that a person does not achieve recovery by just not using. Recovery involves creating a new life in which it is easier to not use.

how to not relapse

They are caused by insufficient coping skills and/or inadequate planning, which are issues that can be fixed . Clients are encouraged to challenge their thinking by looking at past successes and acknowledging the strengths they bring to recovery . This reaction is termed the Abstinence Violation Effect . During emotional relapse, individuals are not thinking about using.

Daily exercise. Even just a short walk a few times a day is good. Exercise lowers stress, improves sleep, and boosts mood.

Give it time, and believe it or not, the feeling will go away. Although it is a common part of the illness, relapse can be an upsetting, and potentially dangerous, experience. Despite setbacks, a relapse doesn’t mean that the recovery journey is over. It is possible to overcome this setback and achieve recovery again.

  • Consider these 10 methods for preventing relapse and craft an individual approach to affirm your dedication to a healthy, happy, and sober life.
  • The practice of self-care during mind-body relaxation translates into self-care in the rest of life.
  • It’s helpful to maintain regular contact with a counselor or therapist who understands the added difficulty of living a life in recovery.

RCA international addiction treatment expert, Dr. Deni Carise, has put together this five-step plan to keep you or your loved one in recovery and help prevent a relapse. The answer to this question relies on a deep understanding of what recovery from addiction truly is. Recovery is not a negative, the mere absence of taking drugs. Recovery is about connecting with others, and about asking for help when you need it, as much as it is about not just obliterating negative feelings with a drug or a drink. Recovery is about being grateful for what is going well in your life, rather than focusing on what you don’t have, what you did wrong, or what could have been.

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