While some argue that addiction is a disease, new perspectives view it more as a chronic condition requiring relapse prevention strategies. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “ Relapse refers to the reoccurrence of compulsive drug-seeking behavior and use after a period of abstinence.” To put it simply, relapse is when someone who is in recovery falls back into their old patterns of using drugs or alcohol.
Treatment professionals at Pasadena drug rehab have found that certain activities and behaviors can help people prevent relapse. Here are five effective relapse prevention strategies:
1. Identify your Triggers.
To avoid relapse, you must first identify your triggers. A trigger is anything—a person, place, thing, situation, or feeling—that sets off a craving or urges to use drugs or drink alcohol. Once you know what your triggers are, you can develop a plan to avoid them. For example, if your trigger is being around people who drink alcohol, you may need to find new friends who don’t drink or go to places where there will be no alcohol (like movies or the park).
2. Build a Support System
It’s important to have supportive people in your life when you’re in recovery. These people can provide encouragement, love, and understanding when you’re struggling. They can also serve as a reminder of why you’re choosing recovery over drugs or alcohol. When selecting your support system, choose wisely—look for people who will be positive influences and make sure they are reliable and dependable.
3. Develop Healthy Coping Skills
People who are in addiction recovery often turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with difficult emotions or situations. In order to prevent relapse, it’s essential to develop healthy coping skills that don’t involve using drugs or drinking alcohol. Some healthy methods that can help you cope include journaling, working out, yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises. Experiment until you find what works best for you, and make sure to practice regularly so you can use your healthy coping skills when triggers arise.
4. Stay Connected to Treatment
Just because you’ve completed a treatment program doesn’t mean the work is done—in fact, it’s just beginning. Staying connected to treatment through aftercare programs and 12-step meetings (such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous) can help you stay on track and prevent relapse. These programs provide ongoing support and accountability so you can live a life of sobriety moving forward.
5. Take it One Day at a Time
Recovery is a journey, not a destination. Taking it one day at a time is essential as not getting too ahead of yourself. If you start to feel like you’re slipping, reach out for help right away. Don’t wait until it’s too late—the sooner you get help, the better.
Preventing relapse is an important part of addiction recovery. By identifying your triggers, building a support system, developing healthy coping skills, and staying connected to treatment, you can increase your chances of success in recovery. If anyone you know is struggling with addiction, it would be best to seek help. There are many resources available to those who need them.