Giving up drugs and/or alcohol and living a sober lifestyle can be extremely difficult and relapse is often common.
In this article, I’m going to share well-researched tips that can help you avoid relapse.
- Take notice of your stress- substances are often used to cope with stress and uncomfortable emotions. By paying attention to your stress levels and figuring out what you need that don’t involve substances can help you to not relapse.
- Feel the feelings- The only way for uncomfortable emotions to leave is to feel them. Addiction creates a destructive cycle of avoiding pain. In early recovery, feelings are more intense because you’re no longer numb from the substances. Going to meetings as often as you can, can help you to feel the feelings and build a support system.
- Don’t isolate yourself- This is one of the most essential tips! By isolating yourself your increasing negative self-talk and cravings to creep their way back in. Turn to a friend or go to a meeting!!
- Don’t ignore your problems- By ignoring problems you’re allowing yourself to fall into old bad habits. By addressing your problems you’re being proactive and decreasing your chances of relapse.
- Don’t view relapse as a failure- be kind to yourself, realise the slip-up and start again.
- Attend regular meetings and/or therapy sessions.
- Take your medication regularly- if this has been instructed by your therapist.
- Don’t become complacent- by getting used to a routine you might think “you’re cured” or “don’t need to go to meetings” etc. WRONG. There is no cure for addiction, its always going to be an uphill battle. But by staying proactive and on track you’ll decrease your chances of a relapse.
- Stick to a routine- This can help decrease stress, anxiety, cravings and relapse. For example, you may have gotten into a routine such as the gym, work, meeting, home, dinner, relax, sleep. If that works for you don’t change it, stick to it.
I hope these tips have helped anyone struggling with addiction/substance abuse. It’s not easy but you’re not alone.
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P.S.S.S. If you need someone to talk to or immediate help (in Victoria, Australia) see: http://www.mentalhealthcompass.com.au/helplines