Developing relapse prevention strategies is vital to ensure you remain on your path to recovery. For most people, recovery is taking things one day at a time. Sometimes, it may even involve taking things one hour at a time.
Whether you have just completed a treatment program at a rehab treatment center or have hit a major milestone, like celebrating five years of sober living, it is important to remember relapse can occur at any time. The best way to avoid a relapse is to ensure you know how to prevent a relapse using your own specific strategies and techniques, which could include:
1. Understand What Your Triggers Are
Once you become aware of your triggers, you’ll reduce the likelihood of a relapse. You can develop effective coping skills to get beyond the triggers. For instance, if you know that hanging out with certain friends can trigger memories of using, then you will want to avoid hanging out with them.
2. Continue Seeking Support
Just because your rehab treatment program is over, it doesn’t mean your recovery journey is over. Continue to go to meetings and support groups, one-on-one sessions, counseling, and so on. The more you talk about your addiction with others, the more it helps you understand it and feel less isolated and alone.
3. Play Out the Urge to Use
If you have an urge to use, one technique that can be beneficial is playing out the entire scenario in your mind. Speak out loud, too, if it helps. Imagine what will happen if you use in the short-term and play it out all the way through the long term. Don’t forget to think about the impacts using will have on your life and about having to go through detox all over again.
4. Take Care of Yourself
One of the best things you can do is to take care of yourself by eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and getting plenty of restful sleep each night. When your body and mind are being taken care of, your urges to want to use again are also reduced.
5. Meditate and Take Deep Breaths
Two techniques that can help prevent a relapse are meditation and deep breathing. For meditation, find a quiet place where you can close your eyes and just clear your mind. Accept the fact that urges will come and don’t be judgmental toward yourself. Then let them go.
With deep breathing the concept is similar. As you concentrate on your breathing, start to focus your mind on what is around you. For instance, think about five things you can hear, four things you can see, three things you can smell, two things you can taste, and one thing you can touch.
Both of these techniques will help you focus your mind, reduce your stress and anxiety, and help you regain control.
6. Celebrate Your Successes
Avoiding a relapse and staying on track with your recovery can be difficult. Take time to celebrate the successes at each stage of your journey. For example, after one week sober, reward yourself with a special treat. At two weeks, watch a movie that interests you.
At one month, go out for dinner at your favorite restaurant. You could also buy something you have been wanting, get a massage, plan a spa, day, etc.
Remaining clean after addiction treatment is challenging with the risk of a relapse. Yet, by using these relapse prevention strategies and techniques, you can reduce the risks of a relapse.
Most importantly, do not forget help is available if you find your strategies and techniques aren’t working and you have the urge to use. If you are ready to start your path to recovery, need help to address urges and avoid a relapse, or are interested in ongoing outpatient services, please feel free to contact Dedicato Treatment Center at 626-921-0113 today!