For someone with an alcohol or substance use disorder, getting clean is often one of the most profound struggles in their life. Unfortunately, it’s not the last struggle they’ll face in recovery. Various factors in life can make drinking or using again very tempting. This makes the question of how to avoid relapse a core concern for anyone in recovery.
Why It’s Important to Learn How to Avoid Relapse
Before you can address how to avoid relapse, you must understand what relapse means. Relapse isn’t temptation. Almost everyone in recovery feels some level of temptation. Relapse occurs when you use again. What separates relapse from a return to addiction is that you recognize what’s going on, and you return to sobriety, either on your own or with the help of others.
Learning How to Avoid Relapse
There are multiple ways avoid relapse, many of which depend on your individual situation.
However, these general strategies and tactics work for most people:
- As much as is realistic, avoid the people and places you associate with using. Faces and places you associate with using can trigger cravings for drugs or alcohol. This can sometimes mean turning down invitations from friends or colleagues who want to visit a certain bar or club.
- Find a sponsor. Many 12-step programs encourage the use of sponsors as a safety net against unexpected cravings. Unlike a therapist, a sponsor remains available around the clock.
- Some online communities specialize in helping those in recovery through peer support. These communities can often provide you with support in moments where you feel weak or very likely to use again.
- Many people in recovery take some form of medication, such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications. Always take your medication, even if you feel like you don’t need it anymore. If you just stop, it can produce nasty side effects including mood swings, nausea, and suicidal thoughts.If you think you’re ready to go off of the medication, talk with your doctors about it in order to avoid relapse. They can develop a plan for you to stop taking the medications in a safe way.
Those are just four fundamental examples. You can learn many more when you enter treatment.
Treatment to Avoid Relapse
If you relapse, you can return to treatment if necessary.
A short relapse, for example, might call for further development of coping skills. A long relapse calls for a more traditional course of treatment with a focus on fundamentals. For example, some of the more typical therapies include:
Learn How to Avoid Relapse with Beacon House
Beacon House, a Gateway Foundation affiliate, is a not-for-profit organization offering drug and alcohol addiction treatment to help people avoid relapse.
Beacon House provides services in Pacific Grove, California and the surrounding area.
Don’t let relapse derail your progress. You can get your recovery back on track with help from a quality rehab program. Call Beacon House at 1 (831) 372-4366 and we’ll get you back on the road to recovery.