Standing Strong: 5 Ways to Prevent a Relapse and Support Your Recovery
Once you’ve taken the courageous step of seeking addiction treatment, especially treatment for meth addiction, stepping back into the outside world and finding your footing as a sober person can be an intimidating but empowering challenge.
Addiction has similar recurrence rates as other chronic diseases,1 making ongoing treatment and lifestyle changes the most effective prevention strategies. It is important to start this part of your journey with a solid relapse prevention plan in place and these 5 tips for avoiding relapse will give you a firm foundation to build upon.
1. Understand Your Lingering Symptoms
There will be lingering effects of drug or alcohol addiction even months after you leave inpatient treatment. An essential part of preventing drug relapse is understanding post-acute withdrawal syndrome and that these symptoms will get better over time:2
- Depression, guilt, disconnection, or emotional numbness
- Increased sensitivity to pain, body aches, and headaches
- Feelings of panic, mood swings, irritability, or emotional overreactions
- Difficulty establishing or rebuilding relationships
2. Identify and Eliminate Triggers
While experiencing some physical cravings during early recovery is to be expected, you can reduce the frequency of these urges by eliminating triggers in your daily life. Understanding what causes your cravings is one of the most effective ways to avoid relapse.
Notice what is happening around you when you feel tempted, and avoid these causes of addiction relapse:
- Visiting places and events where you used drugs in the past
- Associating with people who are using drugs or alcohol
- Staying in any situation where you feel the urge to use
3. Take Action to Deal with Cravings
If you find yourself thinking about using drugs, follow that story to its logical conclusion. You know what the outcome of that slip will be. Remind yourself of the consequences of having “just one” and your power to choose the life you want.
Protect your sobriety by:
- Telling someone that you are feeling cravings, and asking a friend to stay with you.
- Changing your environment and distracting yourself by going to the gym or a meeting.
- Keeping in mind that most urges are biochemical and will go away on their own in 15 to 30 minutes.
- Focusing on getting past this one challenge. Be strong in this moment and succeed one minute, one hour, one day at a time.
4. Reach Out for Support
There are others who know what you are going through. You may have friends that are wondering how to help a recovering addict, but they don’t know what to do. You will need to get out and build new associations and new relationships that support your new life.
Find supportive relationships by:
- Asking for what you need. Let your family and friends know how to support you.
- Fostering sober friendships and attending events with a sober buddy.
- Keeping your commitments to attend support groups, meetings, and therapy.
- Being willing to return to treatment or contact your rehab center for guidance.
5. Never, Ever Give Up
If you return to using drugs or alcohol, you may be putting your life in danger and will lose much of the progress you have worked so hard to achieve. However, relapse is not a sign that treatment has failed but, instead, that more work is needed. Returning for more treatment is a courageous act that ensures success.
You have the determination and dedication to overcome your addiction. If you are struggling with how to stop relapsing or just want to discuss your treatment options with a compassionate recovery professional, reach out to us at Yellowstone Recovery for guidance today. We stand ready to protect your recovery with programs and housing that will help you to stand strong in support of your own sobriety.