Relapse is an ever-present possibility when you are in addiction recovery. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the relapse rate among recovering addicts falls somewhere between 40-60 percent.
No one leaves treatment expecting to relapse, but if it should happen to you, it is important to know that relapse does not mean your treatment has failed. It just means that something crucial has not been addressed or dealt with and treatment must be revisited.
Relapse is often ‘triggered’, meaning that a particular person, place, or situation has caused you to experience cravings for drugs or alcohol. Everyone experiences triggers differently.
Good treatment gives you tools and strategies to use to either avoid or cope with triggers. There are a few fundamental steps you can take to understand and manage triggers effectively.
Identify Your Personal Triggers
Identifying and naming your personal triggers is the first step toward proper management and even avoidance of those triggers. For example, maybe you know that walking by a bar will trigger your craving for alcohol. Maybe every payday triggers memories of how you used to celebrate by indulging in drugs or alcohol. Perhaps birthday parties or other social situations trigger your cravings. Whatever your personal triggers, keep an eye out for them and do not seek them out.
Practice Makes Perfect
Try role-playing how you will handle certain situations. Ask yourself “How will I respond if somebody offers me a drink?” and then practice your answer, even if it is alone in front of a mirror. A polite but firm “no thank you” might sound simple, but actually getting the words out can be harder than you think when temptation is directly in front of you. Make a plan to deal with specific situations and practice them with a friend or family member. It will help you resist temptation if and when the situation arises.
Boredom is a huge reason addicts can find themselves relapsing back into addiction. Suddenly you find yourself with all of this free time that used to be filled up with activities connected to your substance abuse. Filling that time with meaningful, sober activities is crucial to avoiding relapse. Here are some suggestions to avoid boredom:
- Join a weekly class and learn something new, like cooking, dancing, or pottery.
- Start a regular exercise routine.
- Take a course at a local college or university.
- Create a task-list that you can work through if you ever find yourself with free time.
- Start a DIY project at home.
Avoiding boredom requires constant vigilance and self-monitoring, but can ultimately help you sustain your recovery and build a new life of sobriety.
Taking care of yourself is one of the most important things you can do to avoid relapse. By making sure you feel happy, healthy, and fulfilled, you will be better able to manage all of the triggers that you may encounter during recovery. Building self-confidence, learning new things, staying well rested and eating healthy foods are all ways to practice self-care and keep your recovery on track.
If you or a loved one in Washington State is ready to seek help managing your addiction, The Recovery Village Ridgefield is here for you. We offer multi-disciplinary, holistic treatment programs that are designed for your needs as an individual, and our secluded retreat in the Pacific Northwest is the perfect setting in which to pursue healing and wellness. Contact us today to start your journey.