prevent a relapse

5 Ways to Prevent a Relapse

In For Addicts, Long-Term Recovery by Rebecca Flad

Overcoming a drug addiction is not easy, and you shouldn’t let anyone tell you it is. There is a stigma surrounding drug addiction and relapses indicating it to be a choice and not a disease. The fact is that addiction is a disease that can only be conquered with hard work and willpower. Once you’ve gone through the struggles of recovery, it can be tough to prevent a relapse. Temptations of all kinds surround you non-stop, but this does not mean you’ve failed your recovery. Some may even say post-recovery is the hardest part of an addiction. Here are 5 ways to prevent a relapse once you’ve successfully recovered.

1. What is the Bright Side?

That’s a question that you should ask yourself every single day. There is a reason as to why you’ve recovered and gone through the withdrawal, so all you have to do is remember that reason. Look at the bright side of everything. With negativity comes massive room for positivity, and there should always be something to look forward to at the end and beginning of the day to prevent a relapse. Yeah, sure, everyone says this, but the glass is not half empty. It’s half full.

2. Have a Back-Up Plan

This means you should have a course of action when you feel like you’re going to relapse. Many ex-addicts find themselves attending support group meetings to be around others who understand their struggles. With other people around you who are supporting you, whether it be a stranger or a friend, you are more likely to prevent a relapse. Some recovered addicts get a sponsor as well to help them prevent a relapse. A sponsor could help you talk through your cravings and understand your emotions while getting through any withdrawal or flashbacks.

3. Don’t Put Yourself in Uncomfortable Situations

Especially if you’re fresh into the post-recovery phase, you should avoid being around drugs and alcohol altogether. When holidays or special events come around, be sure your friends and family know that you are in recovery and will feel the most comfortable when there are no drugs or alcohol around. To prevent a relapse, consider avoiding situations when you know you will be surrounded by users or substances. Those who care about you will take your recovery into consideration and avoid any temptations.

4. Exercise Your Willpower

Nobody should live their life in fear, let alone in fear of relapsing. The extent of your willpower reaches the limits that you set for it. This means that if you truly believe you can’t do something, odds are you won’t be able to do it. Believing in yourself and your willpower will make recovery and post-recovery much easier. Doubting yourself will only encourage relapse rather than prevent it. Understand that there is relapse potential everywhere you go, but each time you resist that temptation it makes the next one much easier to resist.

5. Have Faith in Your Emotions

During your addiction, odds are you hid behind your emotions with drugs or alcohol. Now that you’re recovered, there is no avoiding or hiding the fact of your emotions. Instead, you should confront your emotions and speak out about them. Many ex-addicts struggle with depression and anxiety as a result of not being able to hide behind their emotions. To prevent a relapse, find a support group that will allow you to speak openly about your feelings or express yourself to family and friends.

Understand that the possibility of a relapse is common during post-recovery. If you or a loved one are struggling with post-recovery temptations, reach out to someone and confide in them. Whether it’s a family member or your sponsor, it’s important to talk about these feelings you are experiencing.