Relapse is best defined as the return to old destructive behaviors after a period of improvement, such as drug or alcohol intake after a period of clean time. While relapse is certainly not a requirement, it is an unfortunate reality for many people who attempt to achieve sobriety.
The good news, however, is that a relapse does not simply happen- it is often a multistep process, with the last step being the actual intake of drugs or alcohol. Here are some simple tips that help prevent a relapse.
Finding healthy hobbies
We are often amazed at how much time each day was spent feeding our addiction. Sobriety thus often creates a huge void in our days that needs to be filled with healthy hobbies. Exercise is often a popular option, as this naturally releases endorphins and builds back self-confidence.
Others may pick up old musical instruments that gathered dust in our addictions. Regardless of what we chose to fill our newfound free time with, it is important in relapse prevention to find healthy hobbies.
Setting a routine
Addiction often leads to a daily routine that we never break from. It is important in recovery to develop a new routine that we can stick to. We are, by definition, compulsive people. Having a set routine acts to diminish the danger that compulsion presents to our sobriety.
“People, Places, and Things”
The most common suggestion in relapse prevention is to avoid the “people, places, and things” from our past addiction. The relationship we have with the people we formerly used with is often built solely around addiction, and thus not sustainable in recovery.
The places we used, such as our favorite bar for example, is also a toxic place for us to visit. Things can refer to any items that we associate with addiction that may trigger us to relapse. Avoidance of people, places, and things from our past is key to relapse prevention
Service work and accountability
Service work to recovery is often key to relapse prevention. Service work can include joining a homegroup, chairing meetings, making coffee for meetings, and any other weekly commitment that can be had by attending a meeting and asking for service work. This creates accountability to the program and meeting, which is crucial for relapse prevention.
Never forgetting where we started
Recovery will ultimately give us our lives back, often better than we have ever experienced. While this is the best gift sobriety has to offer, it can sometimes lead to complacency that results in a relapse. We often have a short-term memory when it comes to the pain of addiction, which is truly dangerous to recovery.
Therefore, it is essential to always remember where we started. A good method for this is to attend alumni meetings at the treatment center in which we began recovery at. It is also crucial to always listen to the newcomers who share, to remember the pain we ourselves went through in early sobriety.
This article is intended for those considering a new way of life, free of the pain of drug and alcohol addiction. For more information on recovery and anyone seeking help with addiction and substance abuse problems, please call True Recovery at (844) 744-8783 or visit us online.