How to Prevent Relapse
Although avoiding any form of relapse is a positive goal to aim for, unfortunately, for some, it can be an unrealistic objective.
Relapse risks are likely for every recovering addict, as sadly, a cure for an addiction diagnosis doesn’t exist, meaning that recovery must be sustainable.
Within the first few weeks and months of sober living, relapse risks will be at their highest, down to the unfamiliar reality that rehab may result in.
Post-rehab can in fact be testing for some individuals, deviating from a life they once knew, consumed by drugs, alcohol, gambling and further addictive stimuli.
Of course, like anything, relapse risks will vary for every individual, where some will have greater tests, whereas others will experience a straightforward transition of relapse prevention.
Some studies show that younger clients struggle with relapse risks the greatest, whereas others believe that individuals with pre-existing mental health issues are the concern.
With this in mind, it’s understandable to see why a relapse, of any degree, can happen. It’s also reasonable to consider the varying forms of relapse for every individual.
However, the issue here is that many individuals see relapse as a failure, placing so much pressure on themselves, to avoid the risks, that in fact, those risks are even greater. In tandem with this, many recovering addicts lack awareness around relapse prevention and how to initially avoid those risks through lifestyle changes and control.
A) Some non-alcoholic beers actually contain a tiny bit of alcohol in them, so whilst the content is small, it can still count as a relapse.
Here’s how to prevent relapse, along with some key causations to consider when going about your post-rehab reality. If you’re struggling at all, know that a relapse can be reverted, that it defines that greater work is needed and that you can still continue to benefit from sobriety. At Ocean Recovery, we’re here for you through addiction, recovery and through relapse.
Causations of relapse
A relapse can be experienced on either an emotional, mental or physical scale. Each will result in varying actions and consequences, where emotional will merely begin with cravings of addictive stimuli for emotional support, whereas physical will result in cravings of exposure. As a result of this, every relapse will materialise differently.
Differences are also likely when considering the causation of relapse, as triggers are usually personal, resembling those of a pre-addiction reality. However, there are some common causations that can influence the commencement of relapse risks which you should consider.
Heightened levels of anxiety, exhaustion, a lack of personal care, unhealthy eating and sleeping habits, increased stress levels, a break in routine and exposure to personal triggers can all boost the likelihood of relapse risks.
If enabled, there is a chance that those triggers will influence an emotional relapse, which if uncontrolled, can develop into physical action.
If you’re neglecting your positive and healthy routine, this can be a sign of emotional relapse. If you’re justifying and enabling thoughts that resemble those of your addiction, this can be a sign of mental relapse.
If you’re experiencing cravings of the likes of drugs and alcohol, or even revert to consume them, this is a sign of physical relapse. No matter the sign, it’s important to consider professional support, along with how to prevent relapse in the future.
How to prevent relapse
Unfortunately, not all relapse risks can be caught in time. However, it is important to remember that this doesn’t mean that you’ve failed or are incapable of recovering.
It means that you’ve dropped the ball, and greater focus and commitment are required to prevent relapse in the future.
Here are some tips to prevent relapse, whether you’re newly recovered or hope to reduce future setbacks.
Understand the signs of relapse
It’s very important to understand the signs of relapse. By doing so, you can catch those relapse risks in great time, to avoid a stronger degree of relapse. Here’s a full breakdown of potential signs of relapse. It’s also important to consider your personal triggers, linked to your addiction diagnosis.
Utilise a relapse prevention plan
Throughout rehab, you will devise a relapse prevention plan. This is a service we back at Ocean Recovery, to ensure that our clients are prepared to embark on post-rehab life, with the tools to prevent relapse.
However, through the transition of post-rehab life, relapse risks do present themselves. In the event of those risks, a relapse prevention plan will act as guidance and support to revert the potential damages of relapse.
Create a positive environment
Maintaining recovery is a proactive way to prevent relapse, which is possible by creating a positive environment. Place yourself within settings which benefit your recovery, rather than resurfacing your exposure to addictive stimuli.
Aim to distract your mind
Most relapse risks begin in the mind. By distracting your mind, until you’ve worked through any high–risk situations, you’ll have the chance to protect yourself from the result of relapse.
Reduce your triggers
While easier said than done, understanding and reducing the exposure to your triggers is a proactive way of how to prevent relapse. For example, if you know that certain social situations trigger your addictive traits, it’s recommended that you avoid those situations, up until you’re comfortable to work through them.
Remember why you’re sober
Usually, as a part of your relapse prevention plan, it’s recommended that you remind yourself of your sobriety and your reasons for recovering. Whether that’s for your health, your loved ones, or for a greater future, motivations can help prevent relapse.
Share your worries
If you have any concerns throughout your recovery process, sharing those worries with others will help you open up and alleviate your stresses/pressures. This can be highly beneficial when considering your mindset and mental health, to reduce the risk of relapse.
Consider professional relapse support
If you do spot the signs of relapse, it’s important that you’re open to further professional support. This can transform the result of relapse for you, by helping you return to your recovery journey without any significant delays or distractions.
Reverting the risk of relapse
Ultimately, by maintaining a positive and sustainable lifestyle, by reducing exposure to addictive stimuli, by utilising your relapse prevention plan and by keeping in touch with your emotions, preventing relapse risks is possible.
However, it is important to remember that around 90% of recovering addicts, at some point, will experience a degree of relapse; whether that’s merely a negative thought, to physical action.
Down to this high likelihood, we also feel like it’s important that you remember that relapse risks can be reverted, as can future physical consumption.
A relapse indicates that greater work is required to make sobriety a sustainable option. Through reverting your relapse, with professional support, you’ll have the chance to sustain your long-term recovery journey.
Knowing how to prevent relapse is highly beneficial, in place to ease your recovery process. If you do require support with this, or with any potential relapse risks, we’re here for you at Ocean Recovery. You can also find out more information about this on our article on how to prevent triggers and prevent relapse.
John Gillen - Author - Last updated: December 14, 2021
John is one UK’s leading professionals in the addiction recovery industry. Pioneering new treatment techniques such as NAD+ and ongoing research into new therapy techniques such as systematic laser therapy, John is committed to providing the very best treatment for people throughout the UK and Europe. During his extremely busy schedule, John likes to regularly update our blog section with the latest news and trends in the industry to keep visitors to our site as well informed as possible on everything related to addiction treatment.
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