If you are experiencing the process of recovery or have recovered recently, you understand how difficult the process is. To prevent yourself from ever going through that pain and suffering again, you might want to do everything you can to avoid a relapse. Remember that relapses are very common for people recovering from addiction or who have recovered. The recovery process after a relapse is more excruciating and worse than before. Therefore, to prevent a relapse trigger, some methods can help you stay sober, such as:
- Identify Your Triggers
Not everyone has the same experience when it comes to substance abuse recovery. Therefore, when it comes to recovery and preventing relapse, you must identify your triggers. These triggers include places, things, people, or situations that can elicit cravings or thoughts linked with substance usage. Moreover, you should also consider the type of mental state associated with drug use. Some of the most common triggers that you can experience are:
- Environmental cues
- Emotional distress
- Social gatherings
- Relationship issues
- Financial problems
- Recognize Warning Signs
If you don’t recognize the warning signs, a relapse can sneak up on you, and you won’t realize what has happened until you have indulged in substance again. People don’t realize the warning signs of relapse because a relapse happens even before they pick up a drink. There are three stages of relapse that include:
- Emotional relapse
- Mental relapse
- Physical relapse
Hence, physical relapse is the last stage, whereas emotional and mental relapse occurs first. Hence, when taking a treatment overview, you must also learn to figure out the relapse warning signs. Some of them include:
- Having the thinking patterns that are associated with addictive behavior
- Engaging in self-defeating and compulsive behavior
- Behaving irresponsibly
- Irrational thinking
- Finding yourself in a situation where you want to use drugs to escape from pain
- Prepare for Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome
Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) is when a person experiences withdrawal symptoms every after the end of their detox period. These withdrawal symptoms are mostly related to mood and include fatigue, depression, irritability, anxiety, sleep problems, etc.
Depending on the intensity of your drug use, the PAWS symptoms can last two years and more after you initially quit using drugs or drinking alcohol. Moreover, these symptoms act as the biggest barrier to your recovery if you are not actively combatting them. Therefore, you should be able to recognize PAWS symptoms and seek help whenever necessary before it leads to a relapse. If your symptoms have persisted over a long period, then you might want to consider seeking medical help from professionals.
- Avoid Old Routines And Habits
The reason why sobriety is so hard for people is that they are not able to change their habits and routines from the time they indulge in substance use. If you continue with the same routine as before, hang out with the same social group, or at the same place, then it will increase the chances of relapse. You have to make changes in your situations if you truly aim to remain sober. Because if you maintain the same routine as before, you will be tempted to use the substance again.
Some of the immediate changes you need to make for the sake of your sobriety include changing your social setting. This includes avoiding people with whom you used to indulge in substance use and avoiding situations that include substance use. Moreover, you might also need to change your work routine, living routine, and social circle to avoid getting the temptation of drinking or using drugs again and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
- Build Healthy Relationships
Your sobriety has cost a lot of time, patience, and pain. Therefore, you must do everything you can to maintain it. This includes letting go of people who are not right for you, may it be friends or family. Every person who causes triggers or the type of stress that pushes you towards substance use is a danger to your sobriety. Therefore, you must maintain independence from such people and release yourself from toxic relationships for the sake of your health.
Instead, focus on building healthy relationships with your friends and family who truly want the best for you. Surround yourself with people who truly care for you and want to push you to do your best.
It may get difficult to change your habits, routines and free yourself from the social settings and social circles that sparked substance use in the first place. To cope with the change, you can join a support group of other recovering individuals who are somewhat experiencing the same things as you. They can help you and motivate you to make better choices for yourself and adopt a healthier lifestyle. After all, your sobriety is a major win for you, and you must do everything necessary to maintain it.