Perhaps the most frightening thing for a person in addiction recovery to go through is a relapse. It feels in the moment that all your hard work has been for nothing. Once drugs or alcohol have hold of you again, there is fear of going through detox once more. You will wonder if you can recover one more time. The more you relapse, the more these fears amp up. Yes, it is easier to stay sober than to get sober again. Here are some things you can do to keep yourself from relapsing.
Recognize that the Temptation is Short-Lived – The thought or craving to use generally lasts no more than thirty minutes. If you don’t give in to the feelings, they very likely will pass. Instead of agonizing over the situation, get yourself out and active. You can go for a walk, call someone in a 12-step program, or do some volunteer work. Before you know it, you won’t feel like you want to use.
Know Your Triggers – In therapy, you’ll learn about your personal triggers. What are the hard things that get you to want to use? Is it driving down a particular street, a certain time of day, or a situation at work? If you know what your triggers are, you can learn to avoid them. If you cannot avoid them, have a plan for when you are triggered and know what you can do to keep yourself safe.
Meditate – The more you practice meditation, the more you will change your brain in positive ways. Meditation is one of the most grounding activities you can participate in. Although it is difficult to do at the beginning, keep practicing until you are doing at least 30 minutes morning and evening. Once you have bulked up your practice, you’ll find that it is one of the most important aspects of your day.
Exercise – Exercise activates your body chemistry in ways that tell the brain that using is not important. If you want to drink every day after work, instead, make a habit of going to the gym. This change will quickly supplant your desire to use and you’ll feel and be healthier for the effort.
Call for Help – If you really feel like you have to use, pick up the phone and call for help. Call anyone who will support you – someone at the treatment center you went to, a friend, someone from a 12-step program, a 12-step program central office, or an anonymous helpline. The simple act of asking for and receiving help will buoy you and encourage you not to use.