Steps to Relapse Prevention

Author - JD Meints | April 12, 2016

If you've been struggling with relapse, you might need to step up the effort you're putting into recovery. It's easy to make sobriety the focus in your life when you're in early recovery. The change to get sober is a big deal and it might require all of your attention and focus. However, once a person has over 6 months of sobriety under their belt and perhaps they have a job and have mended old relationships, then the effort they put into recovery might diminish. Sooner or later they might find themselves giving into cravings and saying yes to invitations from old friends.

If you can relate to this, then perhaps it's time to re-dedicate yourself to your recovery. Perhaps it's time to work on relapse prevention and make a few more changes to your lifestyle - such as those listed below:

Avoid tempting situations. If you already know that you're moving closer and closer to relapse, then it's a great idea to avoid parties, celebrations, and other events where there might be alcohol or drugs. You might also avoid spending time with anyone that is going to trigger the desire to get high or drunk. Also, you may even need to send a spouse or family member to the grocery store for you, or have them accompany you, so that you don't end up buying alcohol and later regret it. When you're feeling vulnerable to relapse, avoiding any situations that can tempt it will keep you sober.

Strengthen your support. While you're avoiding risky situations, you'll also want to boost the supports you have in your life. Start attending more 12-step meetings, visit with friends who are sober, participate in support groups, and talk with your sponsor more often. You might also want to let your family members know that you're vulnerable and that you need their support. Do everything you can to boost the level of support you have so that you can continue to make the choices that keep you sober.

Create a busy but healthy schedule. Keep yourself busy until you're through this period of vulnerability. You might exercise before work, take a walk during lunch if you've got some extra time, visit with friends after work and then attend a 12-step meeting in the evening. And if you're not working, then you've got plenty of time to participate in activities that can keep you sober, such as support groups, AA meetings, therapy, and other activities that promote your well being. Continue to choose healthy activities to keep your schedule full at least until you feel less vulnerable to relapse.

Connect with the reasons you got sober. You got sober for a reason. Although a part of you might have enjoyed the experience of getting high or drunk, you might have noticed the negative effects on your family, career, and/or children. Addiction can be a hard experience, and there are likely parts of the experience that prompted your decision to sober up. Reconnect with those reasons to help find the motivation to stay sober.

If you want to keep up relapse prevention, you might have to revise your plan for recovery again and again. You might have to tweak the decisions you're making so that they're keeping you healthy and happy.

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