Last Edited: 10/19/2021

Author: Demitri Kanellopoulos Demitri Kanellopoulos

Tips to Avoid Relapse

Being in recovery from drug addiction is a big deal, and it says many positive things about who you are. You’re making a valiant effort at bettering yourself; it’s not easy, and everybody knows that.

However, once your time in a treatment center is coming to a close, it’s important that you continue to stay drug-free even after you’re back home and enjoying your everyday life. 

If you relapse after treatment, it does not mean that you’ve failed. It doesn’t take away from anything that you’ve already accomplished and all your hard work. It’s simply an unfortunate setback, one that can be temporary and possible to recover from.


Luckily, there are things you can do to prevent these unwanted setbacks. Try incorporating these five tips into your new life to keep living clean:

  1. Create and follow an aftercare plan

As you end your time in treatment, take a moment to sit down with a professional and create an after-treatment plan, an aftercare plan, for yourself. This means to plan what you’re going to do once you leave the treatment center. One of the best ways to avoid relapse is to follow your plan. 

Common aftercare plans involve attending an outpatient program and some drug or alcohol counseling. Most rehab facilities recognize aftercare as a serious step in recovery and will offer you continuous care as you leave.

If the facility where you’re receiving treatment does not provide aftercare plans, it might still arrange additional assistance. Aftercare typically includes doctor visits, group or individual therapy, and hobbies to stay healthy and distracted from using. 

  1. Avoid triggers

Many people go to a rehab center that is far from home. The thought behind this is to avoid people and places that you associate with your old, destructive habits.

Returning to your everyday life can cause your cravings to trigger. It’s best to recognize these triggers and avoid them, if possible. Most importantly, it’s essential to cut out people from your life who don’t support your sobriety. 

If there are certain places where you frequently used alcohol or drugs or people that you used substances with, it’s wise to avoid them. After cutting these triggers from your life, there are ways to fill the gaps.

For example, going to sobriety support meetings could be a way to meet new friends who are on the same path as you. Along with that, going to places that don’t bring back memories of using substances is very important in avoiding a relapse.

  1. Ask for help, if needed

There’s no need to isolate yourself or be alone during this stage in your recovery. Countless people are experiencing similar situations, and connecting with them can prove to be incredibly helpful.

Finding others who can help you and hold you accountable in your recovery is crucial to your sobriety success. It can’t hurt to ask your counselor or meeting leader about these kinds of opportunities during therapy or an aftercare meeting. Often, they’ll be glad to introduce you to others who are rebuilding their lives as well. 

  1. Make plans for difficult times

Though rehab can improve your life immensely, it’s unrealistic to assume that your life will be perfect or that good times will last forever. Things happen.

It’s essential to have a plan in place to help you get through life when unfortunate things inevitably happen. This is important because, without a plan, you could resort to using drugs or alcohol to deal with stress or challenges, especially if you’ve used them as coping mechanisms in the past.

Consider approaching a friend or family member for comfort after things go awry. They may help keep your mind away from substances as you move forward and continue with your sobriety. You might want to contact others in your aftercare treatment and agree to be this type of resource for each other.

  1. Create new traditions

Humans are creatures of habit, and we find comfort in tradition. Whether we realize it or not, we all have our traditions.

Yet old traditions may be triggers for substance habits. Some people celebrate special events or holidays with some sort of alcohol or drug, but if you’re in sobriety, you can create something new for yourself instead of using substances to commemorate.

Instead of using drugs or alcohol to celebrate, consider treating yourself to a nice dinner, going on a weekend trip, or spending time practicing an enjoyable hobby. Of course, there are plenty of other ways to have fun without using harmful substances.

Good luck!

Your recovery journey is yours alone, and it won’t be the same as anybody else’s. It can be a challenging road, but you’ve already made it so far.  These tips could prevent you from feeling isolated, falling to any triggers, or reminiscing about old habits. 

Look forward to your new traditions, new friends, and happy life. Good luck!

Sources

health.gov.au – 8.1 Relapse Prevention/Management

sunshinebehavioralhealth.com – Importance of Aftercare Programs

thecourier.com – 8 Tips to Avoid Addiction Relapse Triggers

Medical disclaimer:

Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

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