Navigating the road to recovery can be tricky sometimes, especially with the reality of relapse always looming overhead. Nearly 40 to 60 percent of people in recovery will relapse at some point. While relapse is a reality that all addicts have to face, it doesn’t necessarily have to happen to everyone. With a little bit of hard work and motivation, you can take the necessary steps to prevent a relapse and have a successful recovery. Below are ten relapse prevention strategies that can be a great addition to your recovery journey.
- Accept Yourself and Your Situation: In order to prevent episodes of relapse from happening, it’s essential that you learn how to accept yourself and the situation you’re in. This means not being in denial about your addiction or your recovery. Openly embrace the fact that you were once an addict instead of hiding in shame of it. Accepting yourself and your past for what it is will help prevent you from returning back to it.
- Become In Tune With Your Mind: Becoming one with your mind is the best way to understand your urges and cravings. Get to know yourself on a deeper level by turning inward and reflecting on the way you think and how it affects your addiction. You do this in many ways, keeping a reflection journal and practicing mindfulness.
- Be Aware of Your Triggers: Everyone has things that trigger them whether it’s the sight of someone else drinking or a situation like a party, understanding what your triggers are can help you avoid them. A great way to become aware of your triggers is keeping a list of them and writing down anything that makes you feel the urge to use drugs or alcohol. That way later down the road you know what situations and things to steer clear from, lowering your chance of relapse.
- Learn About PIG: PIG or Problem of Immediate Gratification, which is the impulse to choose immediate small rewards over bigger, long term rewards. Understanding your own Problem of Immediate Gratification can help you overcome it and prevent relapses from happening.
- Be Aware of the Abstinence Violation Effect: The Abstinence Violation Effect is using the excuse of a small slip up to justify having a major relapse. Just because you have one drink at a party, doesn’t mean you should throw away all of your hard progress and work. Always have a plan in place to implement when you have a slipup. Preparing yourself for a slipup will decrease the risk that you will fall back into your addiction because of it. Instead, you can bounce back and work your way up to abstinence again.
- Gain Balance in Your Life: A healthy, addiction-free life is a balanced life. Make sure you are adequately balancing out your work life and your personal life to avoid too much stress. Remind yourself that it’s okay to indulge in things every once in awhile, like a chocolate bar or a pizza, as long as you balance it out by doing something healthy like jogging or meditating.
- Practice Self Care: Taking care of yourself is an essential part of a great relapse prevention strategy. Self care means you are taking some time to pay attention to your body, both physically and mentally. Try eating healthier or taking up a yoga class so you can make sure your body is in the best condition possible. Ensuring your mental health is good is also helpful for preventing relapse. Activities like mindfulness and getting out in nature can help you better connect with your mental health.
- Find Something to Give You Direction: Whether it’s a passion project or a desire to volunteer, finding something to give you direction in life is an excellent way to create purpose in your days. Finding what’s important to you and committing yourself to it will help keep your mind off of your addiction and help you form deeper connections with yourself and your community.
- Create Long Term Goals: Long term goals are important when it comes to preventing relapse. They create structure in your life and help you plan your future. By having something to always be working towards it’s easier to see how relapsing can ruin your chance at success. Creating a vision board to help you visualize your future goals and desires can inspire and motivate you every time you look at it.
- Celebrate Your Accomplishments: Don’t be afraid to celebrate all of your accomplishments, no matter how small. Whether it’s something as simple as staying sober another week or having control over your cravings at a party, every struggle you overcome deserves to be recognized.
When you’re addicted to drugs or alcohol the road to recovery can seem never ending and impossible. Once you’ve made it through rehab and start leading a sober life, your journey isn’t over. Relapse is something that should always be on your mind. The more aware you are of it, the more prepared you are going to be if it happens. There are also plenty of measures you can put into place to prevent relapse from happening. With these ten strategies, it should be a little easier to see how to tackle the threat of relapse while still enjoying a fun and exciting sober life.