How to Prevent Relapse


Recovery from a drug or alcohol addiction isn’t easy. Neither is staying sober. People who have successfully completed treatment for their addiction need to make an effort every day to prevent relapse.

If you have recovered from an addiction to drugs or alcohol, it is important to realize that there is a chance of relapse. And that, if you do relapse, it doesn’t mean you have failed in your recovery. What is important is to take note of those situations that may cause you to relapse and prevent yourself from being in those situations as much as possible.

Avoid Relapse Triggers

A trigger is a place, person or event that will cause you to think about, crave and eventually relapse with your drug or alcohol use. Everybody’s triggers are different. What can cause you to relapse will depend on your history and patterns of use.

Remember that if you do relapse, it doesn’t mean you have failed in your
recovery.

You may be triggered by walking into a restaurant where you would often go to drink, hanging out with friends you once used with, eating a certain food or watching a particular movie. You may not be aware of what will trigger your cravings until you come into contact with it.

One way to avoid coming into contact with your triggers is to make a list of those things that you know will trigger your cravings. Once you have, avoid those people, places or events as much as possible so that you aren’t tempted to use. If you come across a trigger that you didn’t know existed, draw on the coping mechanisms you learned during addiction treatment to remove yourself from the situation and resist the temptation to use.

Have a Plan

At most residential treatment centers for addiction, outpatient facilities and with other addiction treatment, you will prepare a relapse prevention plan. This plan will help you to outline your triggers, know what to do if you run across one and who you can call for support when you are feeling tempted to use.

When you are craving the use of drugs or alcohol – and you likely will – it is important to know how to handle it so that you can continue with your sobriety. Your relapse prevention plan will be unique to you, and should include a list of people to call and techniques for working through your craving, such as running, taking deep breaths, doing household chores or taking your dog for a walk.

Get Support

One of the main reasons people relapse is lack of support. Without a strong team of family and friends around you giving you the support you need to continue your recovery, staying sober can be difficult.

Be sure to only surround yourself with those people who continually give you support and encouragement during your recovery. If there are people in your life who tempt you to use or who are triggers, it may be a good idea to reconsider having them around.

Support groups can also go a long way in helping you to stay sober because you will have the support of people who have been through their own addictions and recovery.