After recovery, your biggest fear may be having a relapse. Regardless if you recovered alone, or if you took time to visit Couples Rehabs with your partner, eventually, you will be on your own. At that point, it will be up to you to ensure you have the tools and resources needed to stay sober.
While this may seem like an impossible feat, it doesn’t have to be. Here are some helpful tips to ensure you have the best chance of remaining sober after recovery.
Know Your Personal Triggers
A huge part of avoiding relapse is understanding your triggers. This includes the situations, things, people, and places that may cause cravings or thoughts related to substance abuse. It also helps to understand what your internal triggers are, including your emotions, thoughts, and feelings related to substance abuse. After you identify the top risks, you can build a plan to ensure you avoid them.
Some of the most common triggers for former addicts include emotional distress, work stress, financial issues, environmental cues, unemployment, relationship issues, or people who still use drugs or alcohol.
Create a Support Network
Lean on your family and close friends for support, even in situations where your relationships are not the same as they used to be. Consider ongoing therapy if needed, which will help you deal with your issues. You should also find sober friends you can invite to social events with you, such as weddings or parties. If you have a sponsor, be sure you stay in touch with them if you become uncomfortable or anxious.
Achieve Inner Balance
To break your addiction habits, take time to examine your old patterns of behavior and make adjustments if needed. Rather than drinking socially with your friends after you get off work, now you will have time to go to the gym, take a class, or start a new hobby. You can keep your hands and mind occupied with various enriching activities.
Exercise can be particularly beneficial when dealing with cravings because the natural endorphins produced will help relieve stress and make you feel well. Some of the best activities include karate and yoga, which are ideal for achieving internal balance and self-control. If you want to remain sober, you have to break habits and create new and healthy routines.
Recognize the Warning Signs of a Relapse
Sometimes, a relapse can sneak up on you. In most cases, people don’t recognize the warning signs this is going to happen. Unfortunately, most relapses begin before you pick up your choice of drug or drink. The three stages of relapse include emotional, mental, and physical. The main warning signs that a relapse may occur include someone who:
- Finds themselves in situations where alcohol or drug use seems to be a logical escape from pain
- Returns to former addictive thinking patterns
- Thinks less rationally and behaves less responsibly
- Engages in self-defeating and compulsive behaviors
- Looks for situations that involve people who use drugs and alcohol
Knowing the signs of relapse will help you be better prepared if they occur, which is important to avoid relapse.
Find Ways To Manage Your Stress
During your recovery, you will inevitably face stress at some point. It could be caused by a major event such as losing your job, or stress could come in smaller ways, such as running late for an appointment. Regardless of what it is, you should find a sober family member or friend you can talk to and seek support from when something like this happens.
Be sure to keep your schedule flexible enough to go to group meetings or look into meditation or targeted breathing exercises you can do to help you through these rough patches. If you keep your body healthy, your mind will also remain positive and healthy during your recovery. Take time to get exercise, eat a healthy diet, and get enough sleep.
Create a Structured Schedule
If you have a disorganized or chaotic lifestyle, this may hurt your recovery. You need to develop a structured weekly and daily schedule and make sure that you stick to it. With a structured schedule, you will be able to start achieving some of the other goals you have set in your life, too.
Start with shorter-term goals such as making it to work on time and then work toward longer-term goals such as changing your career or going back to school. While remaining sober may be your top priority, developing and working toward other goals will help you maintain your newfound sobriety, too.
If you have recently become sober, this is a huge accomplishment and you should be proud of the work you have put in so far. However, your work is not done. Be sure to keep the tips above in mind to help you maintain the sobriety you have worked so hard to achieve. Doing this is going to pay off in the long run and help you avoid a relapse.