Relapse prevention starts from the moment a person leaves the safety of an addiction treatment facility. Some people may find it difficult immediately upon leaving treatment, while others may go for six months without facing a challenge to their sobriety.
Both types of individuals should have a strong aftercare plan for when they leave rehab – aftercare plans typically include ongoing therapy and community support programs. A strong aftercare plan is the single most important tool for preventing a relapse.
1. Find support. Join organizations that will support your sober life. From community recovery meetings to religious organizations to family groups, there are meetings all over the world that will welcome you with open arms! Create a firm foundation for yourself.
2. Make New Friends. Your friends from before rehab may no longer be the best people to hang out with- it is important you find a social support group that actively supports your sobriety. Check out sober recovery groups- AA and NA are only two of the many available that support a sober lifestyle. Being sober doesn’t mean you can’t be social. Keep a telephone list with you of your sober support system, so if the urge arises you can get support immediately.
3. Gratitude Lists. Keep your gratitude list close, in your wallet or in your car. Update the list of positive things in your sober life- whether it is people, animals, feelings or accomplishments. Look at the list and remind yourself how far you have come. It’s a strong tool for relapse prevention.
4. Watch for Triggers. You have to be on guard when you get out of rehab, so be mindful to remove as many triggers as you can from your life. If stress triggered you to drink or to do drugs in the first place, find healthy ways to remove the trigger.
5. Stay Healthy. We all feel better after eight hours of sleep. Treat your body right when you’re in recovery, from sleeping enough to exercising and eating a healthy diet, the better your physical body feels the better your emotional state and the less likely you are to relapse!
6. Journal. Affirm you feelings and activities with a journal. It will keep you accountable to yourself and provide you with a place to write about your struggles. In today’s day and age, your relapse prevention journal can just as easily be a private blog. Post pictures and quotes to help you on the most challenging days.
7. Be Reasonable. Recovery is a journey, so be reasonable with the expectations you set for yourself. Achieve your goals incrementally – 5 days sober, 10 days sober, etc… Breaking it into smaller bites makes it easier to achieve success and ultimately those small successes will lead to a successful recovery!
Relapse prevention means taking charge of your situation. Relapse is common, so don’t punish yourself if you slip. Instead, identify that you have the desire to relapse or have relapsed, no matter how big or small, and take charge. Call your counselor, therapist or treatment center. Call a meeting leader, sponsor or someone who can help you get back on track. No matter what you’ve done in the past, you are worth it and you are stronger than your disease!
If you or someone you love is in recovery and may need a helping hand to overcome the challenges of recovery, please call us today at 1–877-771-1750. The most successful relapse prevention plans include aftercare planning and ongoing support. Do not punish yourself for a relapse no matter how big or small, instead, call for help. Destination Hope is a full service drug, alcohol and dual diagnosis treatment facility in Florida for men suffering from substance abuse issues.