When recovering from addiction, there is always the possibility of relapse. Relapses may occur for many reasons, so it’s best to be prepared ahead of time before cravings and other compromising situations for the recovering addict arise. There are several ways by which you can prevent a relapse.
Reduce the Amount of Free Time Available
While it is important to include downtime in your life for relaxation and enjoyment, too much free time can often lead to boredom. When you are bored, you are more likely to dwell on any cravings that may develop, which can lead to a relapse. You might find it useful to make a daily schedule and stick to it. Be sure to include enjoyable and relaxing activities in your schedule that keep you focused on clean and sober living. Exercise is a good activity that takes time and helps to improve mood as well.
Build a Support Network
Build a contact list of friends, family members, and others that you can turn to for support when you need it. Include in this list people you can enjoy activities with that do not involve using drugs or alcohol. When you feel stressed, bored, or depressed, call someone in your support network to talk or hang out with, even if it is just for a walk in the park or a movie at home. Those without support networks are far more likely to relapse than those who have people they can depend on.
Enroll in Addiction Rehabilitation
Addiction rehabilitation can include inpatient or outpatient treatment. A good rehab program will help you develop coping strategies and learn how to keep from giving into addictive behaviors. You will also learn to develop a relapse prevention strategy in the event that temptation strikes.
Commit to an Aftercare Program
Addiction rehabilitation can be extended with aftercare programs. Outpatient counseling exists to provide a continuation of services that better equips you for relapse prevention strategies. Individual and group sessions may be available. Those who are struggling with recovery issues may benefit more from aftercare through a halfway house. These sober living facilities help those in recovery to gradually return to everyday life with continued monitoring and support.
While relapse is considered to be a natural part of the recovery process, it is not always inevitable. With proper planning and adherence to a good relapse prevention plan, those in recovery can actually limit their risk and prevent a relapse from occurring.