Relapse occurs when an addict returns to substance abuse after a period of sobriety. Several triggers can trigger or prolong a relapse, including certain places, people and activities that bring memories and emotions associated with addiction. Learning to recognize the warning signs of relapse is one of the most effective ways to help prevent one from occurring.
Chronic relapse prevention is most effective when an addict starts over from scratch with new friends, new hobbies and a new outlook on life. To start with, just spend time with people who lead a sober and satisfying life. Join special interest groups that allow like-minded people to meet and share their passions together, or find new friends at your favorite bookstore or restaurant. Avoid boredom by engaging in hobbies you enjoy, such as hiking or surfing, and work towards a career that makes you feel happy and fulfilled.
Attending group meetings like Alcoholics Anonymous on a regular basis can help addicts recover from being sober while meeting people with similar backgrounds. According to PubMed.gov, those who supplement inpatient substance abuse treatment with follow-up care in groups such as AA and NA had higher rates of success than those who did not. Counseling and other forms of “talk therapy” can also be helpful at work through the problems that lead to addiction. For those who can not attend therapy, the diary can vent frustrations while helping to signal patterns of undesirable thoughts and behaviors.
Things To Avoid
Avoiding high-risk activities is vital to the success of any rehabilitation program. Avoid meeting places and old places that trigger unpleasant emotions until you are able to handle them without fear of relapse. Cut off communication with distributors, addicts and people who encourage dangerous behaviors, and avoid high-risk situations, where the drug of choice is likely to occur.
Boredom is a major threat to recovering addicts. To avoid this stumbling block, keep busy with work and hobbies and set aside time to relax each day. Avoid unnecessary stress from external sources and only focus on your own problems until you feel ready to handle the external stressors. Replace negative internal dialogue with positive affirmations that increase your confidence and do not hesitate to ask for help when you need it.
Warnings And Safety
If you or someone who knows relapses into drug or alcohol abuse, get help right away to avoid injury, death, or the full-on return to addiction.