Recovery from addiction can be a difficult path, and for many people, the fear of relapse can make this time all the more frightening. This is why it is important to develop skills and coping mechanisms to help prevent a relapse in the early phases of recovery. To help you during the next step of your journey, here are a few tips on how you can prevent a relapse.
One of the most critical aspects of staying sober is having a support network of sober friends and family who will be there to assist you in times of need. Ask people you are close to, and who you can trust, if you can call them at any time of the day or night. When considering who to choose, remember that your support system should be made up of those who will not only be there for you during this difficult time, but who will also be able to notice red flags indicating a relapse. It is important that both parties understand the level of responsibility this role requires, and make sure they are comfortable confronting you if they believe you have relapsed. Once you have this support system in place, make sure to use it. Don't hesitate to call someone if you are having a difficult night, or if you don't trust yourself to be alone. Having a support system is often critical in preventing a relapse.
After finishing your treatment program, it is critical that you maintain your ongoing recovery by continuing to attend meetings or support groups. Even once you think you are doing fine, sticking to your aftercare plan will hold you accountable and help to prevent a relapse from occurring. Similarly, if you were prescribed medication as part of your treatment, you need to keep taking it even if you do not feel that you need it anymore. Discontinuing medication against medical advisement may trigger urges that lead to relapse, and you will realize too late how much these medications aided your recovery.
It is also crucial that you avoid people and places associated with your addiction. Whether this be your old group of friends or a local bar you once frequented, it is critical that you stay away from things connected to your addiction as being around these triggers can easily cause a relapse. Instead, try to form new routines and associations; start spending more time with friends and family members who are sober, and try hanging out at new places not associated with your past.
Having the right tools at your disposal as you recover from addiction can be critical in preventing a relapse. However, if you do relapse, it is important not to see this as a failure, but instead, view it as motivation to double down on your recovery efforts by seeking additional treatment, such as through an intensive outpatient treatment program.