Managing Relapse Prevention

Want to get through addiction? These days, addiction education is stressing the topic of relapse prevention so people learn how to deal with the tough days of treatment. Not everyone will have the “perfect” process of treatment and could easily fall victim to triggers that lead them astray. Ask any former drug or alcohol addict about their initial treatment days and they will likely have a lot to say about mentally blocking their triggers. For some people, cutting off the drug of their choice cold turkey worked and they never looked back. For others, they needed to go back to their counselors every few weeks to talk about pain points and list their triggers so they can continue to do better the next time.

No matter what an addict does, they are doing the right thing if their goal is to improve their health and commit to living a sober life. Recovery should be done in bite-sized chunks and not be overwhelming so addicts aren’t sabotaging their mental health too far ahead. Soaking in too much information or going too “hard” in the beginning of treatment could burn some former addicts out. Learning how to properly engage in relapse prevention is crucial before anything happens!

Learn about stress and triggers to form your relapse prevention plan.

What Are “Triggers”?

Triggers are important to manage in relation to addiction relapse. Signs of addiction relapse are point to people not managing their triggers in the right way. They either give in to the trigger or react in a harmful way to their body. According to addiction education experts, triggers can commonly include feeling hungry, angry, alone, and tired. This is called being in the “HALT” state and is risky for addicts to find themselves in since it makes them feel very vulnerable. Another trigger is becoming overconfident in recovery since addicts can easily cross a line from healthy confidence to arrogance about their behavior. They may tell themselves that they are doing everything right and reward themselves with the drug that brought all their trouble.

Stress could possibly be the top addiction relapse trigger because of its wide range of effects on the mind and body. If someone is having a bad week at work, lost a relationship, are facing tough tasks, or just had an intense argument stress can easily come on.  With stress, various health problems can develop such as headaches and lower energy. The key for preventing stress-triggered addiction relapse is to be proactive about stress prevention and staying mindful about what causes stress in the first place.

The Right Relapse Prevention

While there is no “perfect” fix that fits everyone, all addicts can find a custom treatment or support group that helps prevent their relapses. Online and community resources are present so everyone finds something that fits their needs and weekly schedule.  In order to prevent social isolation, addicts are encouraged to join online or in person support groups to build healthier connections. Within support groups, addicts can gain important accountability to stay true to their goals and preserve through their toughest days. They can benefit from sharing tips for preventing relapse and find emotional support from fellow addicts who are going through a similar experience as them.

Another great way to practice sustainable relapse prevention is to start a new habit of doing consistent exercise and following mindfulness programs. Holistic therapy methods preach using activities like yoga, jogging, meditation, and even group sports events to boost patient’s daily mindfulness and connection to their physical body. Since our hormones are far more balanced with exercise, gaining strength through doing it in various forms greatly helps addicts develop their mental strength overall. For an added boost that comes from spiritual connection, addicts can exercise outdoors or in a club as well. Most patients can learn what treatment centers offer as soon as they begin their first consultation with a counselor.

Above all, stay in connection with your support system and share whatever struggles you are going through. Addicts find more success when they are honest with their troubles and aren’t afraid to ask for help form professionals. Achieving long term sobriety is no easy feat and sometimes it takes a village to help a former addict get there.  Along with discussing your experiences with counselors, it’s encouraged to also keep in contact with your addiction treatment peers and family members who know about your journey so far. These people can also be coworkers and friends who find joy in your commitment to recover. If anyone is showing negative signs or opinion towards your treatment, make a point to taper off your communication with them for the sake of your health. You don’t need any naysayers in your life when you have enough struggles of your own to deal with.

Finding Strength

Anyone can deal with relapse prevention with the right addiction education. As you find the right treatment center, addiction support group, and experienced counselors to get you through sobriety, your mental strength will grow to overcome your temptations. Even if you feel like you can’t do it now, make sure you treat your body like a temple and think about the “why” for your treatment when all things seem lost in the present. Coming back to our higher purpose helps us push forward and preserve when we are feeling too lazy to go on. Know that you are worth everything in life and deserve a better future. Practicing positive thoughts and affirmations to yourself and creating meaningful connections with others is without a doubt a great complement to treatment!

Relapse prevention is important for both men and women.


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