7 Drug and Alcohol Relapse Prevention Tips for After Recovery is Over

What happens after treatment is over? How do you prevent relapse once treatment ends? Learn about relapse, the causes of relapse, triggers that potentially lead to relapse and relapse prevention as part of the ongoing recovery process.

Relapse Prevention Tips

Getting clean and sober does not mean you become a dull, boring person. It simply means you have fun without that drink in your hand or needle in your arm. As you become healthier, you realize how much better you actually feel.  Consider these tips to help you stay clean:

Establish a support network

Establishing a support network of people who support you in your recovery provides the positive influences you need. Ask sober friends if you can call them at any time. Your using did not occur from 9 to 5 and your weak moments will almost certainly not occur on a 9 to 5 schedule. Once you have received the go-ahead from this network, use it.  Do not hesitate to contact someone because it might not be a “reasonable” hour, or you are worried you will pull them away from something important.  If they have discussed your possible need for an emergency support system, trust that they meant it when they told you to call them at “any time, day or night.”  In that moment of crisis, you are more important to them than anything else they may be doing.

Avoid old people, old places, and old things

You cannot put yourself in places or situations where you have the opportunity or desire to use again. It is easy for the addict to assume that a relapse will not occur. When you go around people you used to drink and drug with, those old “friends” will likely urge you to “Have one for old times’ sake” or tell you that “One drink will not hurt you.” Perhaps you think you can go into the club and drink a non-alcoholic beverage. Not likely and you know it. Avoid the toxic places and people that have the potential to lead you to a relapse. Find new opportunities to socialize, whether it means joining a gym, attending dance classes, joining a club or organization or spending time with someone who enjoys the same safe hobbies that you enjoy.

Keep all aftercare appointments and meetings

After you complete a treatment program aftercare becomes crucial to your ongoing recovery. Aftercare provides you with ongoing tools and support to sustain your sobriety. Living your new life, free of alcohol and drugs is a new way of life. You need the ongoing aftercare to strengthen your self-esteem and willpower and to provide you with a support network.

Take your medications

Medications are an important part of treatment and ongoing aftercare for many people. If you take medications, taking the medicine as prescribed provides you with the best opportunity for the medications to work and for you to retain a sustained dose of the medications in your body. NIDA points out that medications help manage withdrawal symptoms as well as to prevent relapse and manage other conditions such as co-occurring disorders.

Create a healthy schedule

Creating a schedule after rehab is a great way to develop a new and healthy routine. Make time for treatment, journaling, and relaxation. Too much idle time on your hands presents potential opportunities for weak moments. Keep yourself busy and keep a schedule to stay on track. When you keep a schedule of planned recreational or social activities as well as a schedule of aftercare appointments and meetings, you minimize your idle time.

Don’t View Relapse as a Failure

Just because you relapse does not mean that your treatment failed. It does indicate, however, that you need adjustments to your recovery. Some people do not enter an actual treatment program, choosing instead to simply rely on Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA) or another type of 12-step program. Remember, these programs are support groups; they are not actual substance abuse treatment programs.

Entering into an actual treatment program gives you the tools you need to increase your chances of remaining clean and sober. Another misconception is that detox is treatment. Detox is not treatment. It is a means of quickly cleansing your system of the toxic alcohol or other drugs to stabilize you. Remember that even after completing a comprehensive treatment program, relapse is still a possibility. Options for relapse prevention includes adjustments such as increasing medication, increasing aftercare sessions, re-entering treatment, moving into a sober living home or other options deemed appropriate for you.

Avoiding Relapse Starts with Tailored Addiction Recovery Treatment

Your recovery begins when you decide to make the call to start treatment. There is no one-size-fits-all treatment plan for all addicts. Each person entering into treatment needs to have an individual treatment plan tailored to his or her treatment needs. Once you complete your treatment program, you receive a plan for aftercare and recovery specifically tailored to your recovery needs.

Treatment programs offering an individualized approach help to empower people throughout the treatment and recovery process. Learn to love yourself, trust yourself and believe in yourself again. Learn to forgive yourself. A multi-disciplined approach to treatment allows you to restructure unhealthy beliefs and behaviors. Through evidence-based treatment, you learn how to become healthy again. Learn how to reward yourself without resorting to alcohol and drugs. The individualized approach to treatment helps you develop other techniques and tools to lessen your risk of relapse, such as developing healthy eating and exercise habits.

Completing long-term drug and alcohol treatment provides the best chances for breaking the cycle of addiction. Just because you complete treatment successfully does not mean you walk out of the treatment facility and find yourself suddenly cured of your addiction. Your treatment program prepares you for the day that treatment ends, prepares you for aftercare and even informs you about relapse and relapse prevention. Pathways Real Life Recovery in Utah helps people to build and repair the relationships that were damaged by their addiction and puts a support system in place that effectively eliminates the triggers and thoughts that would drive them to use in the first place. By taking a whole life approach to treatment, Pathways ensures that after achieving sobriety for a short time, the client is not immediately put back into the situation that led them to addiction in the first place.  Get started on your new life without alcohol or other drugs. Your treatment begins with just one call. Contact Pathways Real Life Recovery today!

Michelle Amerman
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