Relapse is bad news. Drug rehab is a long, hard road, and maintaining sobriety in the long-term can be just as difficult of a process—especially since it is entirely up to you to manage. For the best chances of success, you should commit to attending community support groups—like 12 step programs—as well as maintain a network of support within your home and social life.
The following are some tips for avoiding relapse that addicts learn while in recovery:
A crucial element of long-term sobriety is accepting that we do not have all the power. A common refrain among the casual public is that in order to maintain sobriety, an addict must learn to resist temptation, since temptation is unavoidable. However, studies show that avoiding temptation is entirely practical, and that putting yourself in tempting situations is unnecessary and can cause us to lose control and relapse.
Maintain a Support System
In regards to the first tip—this is what should replace the tempting elements in your previous, drug-using life. It seems simple and obvious but can be more difficult than it sounds, because those who want you to succeed are not always those who are helpful. Sometimes, the relationships that comfort us most happen to be counterproductive. Maybe those friends or family members are drug users themselves; maybe something about their personality triggers the urge; or maybe the memories you associate with them steer your mind toward a bad place. Comfort and support are not mutually exclusive, but often times, they are separate—and recognizing that divide is an important part of any program of recovery.
Don’t Get Too Confident
When life seems to be going well, and our responsibilities become more and more demanding, there is a tendency to attend our sobriety programs less and less and to let our support networks fizzles out. Addiction is a sneaky, life is unpredictable, and just one relapse can send you back down the rabbit hole. More than half of heroin, alcohol, cocaine, meth, and marijuana addicts relapse after treatment, and the relapses do not happen immediately after they leave the rehab center. It usually takes anywhere from 1 to 4 years. The bottom line: It is important to maintain some sort of support system not as a reminder that your life is messy, but as a fail safe to maintain clean living. Still, everyone gets cocky—which leads to our next tip.
If You Do Relapse, Do Not Abandon Ship
Have you ever spent hours writing an essay or assignment of some kind only to have your computer crash, all progress lost? The thought of starting the whole thing over again can be so daunting that we’re likely to say screw all and accept a zero. The same goes for a drug relapse; however, it is much harder to pick our pencil back up the next day. The best way to handle a relapse is to think of it as a learning experience: figure out what triggered your urge to use and make a note to avoid that situation in the future.
To someone who has never experienced drug addiction, the recovery process may seem open-and-shut: admit your problem, accept treatment, get better, and put it all behind you. But the reality of drug addiction is that sobriety will always be a challenge; the urge to use lingers for years to come; and addicts must learn to identify, understand, and avoid the psychological triggers that lead to relapse.
For more information on avoiding relapse and staying sober during recovery,
contact us here at Treatment Now for help.
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