You have to fight for recovery from alcohol and drug abuse. Here are 9 ways to arm yourself against relapse triggers that threaten sobriety.
What are relapse triggers? Party invitations, rude coworkers, family troubles and rocky relationships can all pose the threat of relapse if not properly handled. Since recovery is essential for your livelihood, I want you to be prepared to resist these pitfalls. How can you do that? I’ll present to you nine strategies I’ve found that help myself and others stay on course.
1. Avoid Drug/Alcohol Parties
Parties are all about shaking off stress and celebrating, and many like to add alcohol or drugs to this mix. You know yourself best; can you be around it without faltering? If you have even a shred of doubt, don’t go. If you do go, I urge you to avoid mocktails; even just an imitation can trigger the mechanism of addiction. It can also help to have a trusted friend or sponsor come along and agree to escape with you if you feel uneasy.
2. Save Money for Something Fun
Did you ever calculate how much money you spent during your active addiction? You now have the perfect opportunity to save your money for a wonderful recovery reward like a vacation, spa pampering, or new yoga gear. If your money is being channeled towards positive and nurturing long-term goals, you’re less likely spend it on quick, risky fixes.
3. Develop a Positive Support Network
First, you need to purge out toxic relationships and build healing ones to prevent relapse triggers. This is invaluable, but can be quite challenging for those of us who aren’t social butterflies. Go to meetings regularly; don’t worry, you won’t be forced to share right away. Just listening and being surrounded by recovery warriors can empower you. Sponsors work wonders as a lifeline for when you feel your recovery is threatened. Social media outlets can also be a constant, uplifting source of recovery guidance, but be wary of relying too much on it. Genuine, face-to-face support is vital.
4. Stay Busy
Sometimes, too much free time can trigger a relapse. Boredom can weaken your willpower. Banish idle thoughts that could wander to cravings by diving into new hobbies. Exercise, dance, craft, write, hang out with substance-free friends or play with your pet. Even if the time you spend in recovery is not productive at first, it has far more potential to blossom into happy leisure and prideful work than active addiction ever did.
5. See a Therapist
The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that a dual diagnosis of substance abuse and mental illness affects one-third of alcohol abusers and one-half of drug abusers. Even if you don’t suffer from depression or anxiety, I recommend therapy because you need a treatment plan that helps you cope with your unique triggers. Simply having someone to talk to can make all the difference.
6. Get Enough Rest
Have you noticed that making wise choices is tougher when you’re exhausted? While the amount of sleep we each need varies, I urge you to apply sleep hygiene techniques to your sweet slumber. Cut down on electronic exposure about an hour before bedtime, try to establish a solid schedule that also keeps weekends in check, and keep your bedroom cool, soothing and as dark as possible. Sleep is the foundation for physical and emotional health, so try not to skimp on it.
7. Reduce Stress
Stress can trigger drug/alcohol use, so do whatever you can to keep yourself calm and relaxed. There are countless ways to ease stress, so I encourage you to explore and discover what works best for you. I find that exercise and enough sleep are a wonderful way to begin your stress-releasing repertoire.
8. Remember that Relapse is Possible
80 percent of drug addicts relapse within the first year after recovery. You need to stay strong, be vigilant and get to know yourself. Never underestimate the sway of relapse triggers and addiction; strive to always be leaps and bounds ahead of it and become familiar with what can make you falter. Establish a strong recovery plan and stay convicted.
9. Learn from Relapse Triggers
I am not supporting the idea of succumbing to relapse triggers just so you can learn from it. I am stating that you can gather momentum and wisdom from a fall if you refuse to give in to self-defeating claims of failure and hopelessness. A relapse can reveal to you how vulnerable you really are and what is capable of bringing you down. This knowledge is invaluable for getting back on track stronger than ever. So don’t sabotage your recovery by living in fear of relapse; just do your very best and see the value of mistakes. It will take a lot of trial and error to reinvent your lifestyle, so please don’t be discouraged.
I hope you consider using these tips to reinforce your recovery plan. Do you have any suggestions you’d like to share that could help us all navigate through recovery?
Morningside Recovery offers comprehensive addiction treatment services to help people learn coping mechanisms to fight against relapse triggers. For more information or to learn how to get started, call Morningside Recovery today at 855-631-2135.