The addiction recovery process is hard work. It involves the acceptance of a problem, the request for assistance, and the constant work to maintain the recovery. Although all parts of the recovery process are difficult, the most trying part for many is maintaining recovery. The struggle with preventing relapse is often caused by the inability to recognize triggers and plan for them, reducing their chances of lifelong recovery. It is important to develop a plan and to be aware of the common causes of relapse and specific triggers for you.
Change Your Lifestyle
Perhaps one of the biggest causes of relapse is peer pressure or the desire to “go back to normal”. When you accept a lifestyle of sobriety, it is important to understand that some things in your life are likely to change. You may not be able to be around your previous friends for a while, especially if they are not clean from drugs and alcohol. You may not be able to frequent places you once did, such as bars or friend’s houses.
According to the World of Psychology (2013), it can be particularly dangerous to expose yourself to these environments, especially early in the recovery process. In many cases, the temptations may be high and may be enough to cause a relapse. Avoid any of these temptations by spending time with sober friends and trying new hobbies to engage in.
Know Your Boundaries
It can also be helpful to evaluate and list your boundaries. Consider the parts of recovery that are the most difficult for you. Do you struggle with an ex who is a bad influence on you? Do you work in an environment that is surrounded by drugs and alcohol? Evaluating and listing these concerns prior to dealing with them can be beneficial. Attempt to come up with alternative steps in dealing with them.
This may be a part of your treatment process. However, this list is likely to constantly change. You may find that you are regularly updating your struggles, depending on where you are in the recovery process. You will also probably find that you are able to cross off previous struggles as you further your recovery. Knowing these new struggles can help you prepare for them, including finding ways to successfully get through them.
Keep Going to Counseling
Recovery is a process. It is never completely finished. You may go for many years with minimal struggles, and find that one event tempts you and threatens your sobriety. The only way to constantly evaluate and monitor these situations is with regular counseling. Counseling can also identify tricky situations before you are too deep in them. You may find that your counseling sessions are needed less frequently, however, consider continuing them. According to The Huffington Post, 8 Ways to Prevent Relapse (2013), group counseling sessions can also be effective. Most group counseling members are at different points in the recovery process and can offer valuable feedback to members in the different steps.
Counseling can also help you develop necessary coping strategies. A large number of people turn to drugs or alcohol to handle extreme emotions. Now that you are sober, you will have to handle these emotions without masking them. The counseling process can make them easier to handle and can provide a necessary outlet for working through them. These coping mechanisms will be important in later struggles you come across.
Designate a Trusted Contact Person
You will have difficult times during recovery. This is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of being human. Recovery is a huge process and it takes a lot of work, even after treatment has occurred. Most treatment center participants find it especially helpful to designate at least one person as their “go-to person”. This is the person they can call on when times are tough and the temptation is high. We recommend it be someone who has been in recovery much longer than you, someone who has been through some of the same situations, and who is familiar with the obstacles you have faced and will face.
For some people, this may be a loved one, for others, it might be a member of their counseling group or a sponsor. It is important to choose your trusted person carefully, as they will be responsible for talking you down during the tough times. It should also be a person that you can count on to always be available to you. You may even find that others ask you to be their “go-to person” after years of recovery. Consider your ability and your progress before agreeing to such a commitment.
Know When You Need Additional Help
You are likely to feel alone at times. Although this is not a problem in itself, it can be problematic if you are unable to recognize these times of struggle. The ability to recognize when you are struggling allows you to contact your trusted person or sponsor, schedule an additional counseling session, or engage in calming techniques (such as mindfulness techniques) that do not involve drugs or alcohol. Having the ability to identify these periods of loneliness can help the recovery process and is an important step in a full recovery.
It is also likely that the drug treatment center provided you with valuable information and coping techniques. There is nothing wrong with deciding to enroll in a drug treatment center again. You will find that you work on different issues and that you are better able to focus on learning these important coping mechanisms when the primary concern is not your withdrawal.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction or the recovery process, contact The Outpatient Treatment Center today at (844)211-7944. You will be met with a confidential consultant who is available 24 hours a day.