Recovery Is a Long Journey
Anyone who is recovering from alcohol or drug addiction should know that healing from addiction requires ongoing management. Just like a physical illness, such as diabetes or a heart condition, a person in recovery needs to consistently manage their overall well being. However, because recovery requires ongoing care, it’s very possible (even likely) that a person might experience relapse.
And this doesn’t mean that a person has failed! Just like when a person is managing a physical illness, there may be times when certain levels are low or when the illness has returned in some way. At these times, a person may need to see the doctor, schedule regular appointments with a nurse, or arrange for in-home care. In other words, that person needs more medical support.
And it’s the same with addiction. When a person has relapsed, it’s an indication that they need more assistance. A person might need to do one of the following in order to prevent or recover from a relapse:
- Attend more 12-step meetings
- Schedule one or more (or ongoing) appointments with a therapist or drug counselor
- Increase or strengthen a network of support
- Make a plan to call or meet with a sponsor regularly
- Create a relapse prevention plan
- Avoid old friends or environments that may be triggering
- Make changes to the daily routine to fit in self-care, such as exercise and eating well
- Spend time doing something fun or enjoyable
- Make sober friends
- Amend family relationships
- Reduce any triggers of stress or emotional pain
- Address any medical concerns that may be causing pain or stress, which in turn may create cravings to use.
Other Factors Can Affect Addiction
And there may be other items to add to this list that will help you prevent relapse in the future. Keep in mind that addiction has a strong biological component where triggers and cravings might occur almost without notice.
Even if you have made the decision to stop using, it’s easy for stress from work, relationship concerns with friends, family issues, environmental cues, running into old drinking or drugging friends, and even a smell to trigger an intense craving. That’s why taking the time to plan out how you’re going to manage your recovery is so important.
It’s also good to know what has typically contributed to relapse for others. These tend to be weak networks of support, underlying psychological disorders, beginning drug use early in life, and abusing multiple forms of substances. Furthermore, those who chronically relapse might not have the coping skills to manage the emotions that might have been leading to drug use.
Preventing a Relapse
If you’re working on your sobriety, be sure to consider the following so that you can prevent relapse whenever you can:
- have a strong network of support
- keep your thoughts positive as best you can
- work with a therapist to resolve any early trauma in your life
- take good care of yourself physically and emotionally
Relapse is not a sign that you’ve failed. It’s only an indication that you might need more support to keep yourself healthy, safe, and sober.
The Lakehouse Recovery Center is a residential drug rehab center in Westlake Village, CA. We provide drug detox, addiction treatment, drug treatment aftercare, and relapse prevention. Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, or visit our blog for helpful addiction and recovery tips.
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