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Recovering from addiction is not easy and many who first seek help have tried on their own to overcome their addiction, only to find they need help. Estimate are than between 40 and 60 percent of people who have been treated for addiction relapse within the first year.
Relapse is often thought to be part of the recovery process, but it does not have to be if the addicted person learns how to recognize the signs leading up to relapse and has strategies in place to prevent it from happening.
Relapse is a Process
Research shows that relapse just doesn’t happen on the day the addicted person reuses. It is a gradual process that happens over time. The person in recovery begins to neglect self-care, both emotional and physical. Then, the mind starts thinking about acceptable ways to reuse, such as on a special occasion or vacation. Finally, the craving sets in.
People lose sight of their goal and using becomes almost more important to them than their family, their home, or even living itself. Clinicians who work in the field, and many of them also recovering addicts, have some helpful relapse tips for a person to keep in mind before the actual physical relapse of reusing occurs.
Relapse Prevention Tips
If you are recovering from addiction, you may find these relapse prevention tips helpful.
- Accept that you have an addiction. You will have cravings and think you can handle it if you use “just one more time.” When you accept that you have an addiction, you know that “one more time” will not work for you.
- Develop coping skills to deal with your cravings.
- Redefine fun. Recovery is difficult. You may begin to glamorize your using days and forget how damaging they were. You may think if you give up your drug, you can never again have fun.
- Remain vigilant and live in the moment. Don’t dwell on your past or obsess about your future. Stay sober in the moment.
- Surround yourself with positive people. If you continue to hang out with your old friends from your using and drinking days, your chances of relapse increase.
- Celebrate will power. Temptation is almost everywhere and almost all the time. Congratulate yourself whenever you have the urge to use and don’t. Every time this happens, you gain strength that will help you pass on the craving the next time it appears.
- Be proactive. Have a support system in place that you can call on when the craving returns. That can be your therapist, your sponsor, or anyone you trust to help you through this crucial time. Have them on speed dial. Know where to go or who to go to when you feel restless and like you just cannot cope.
Stay in therapy and have your therapist help you develop a plan of action specific to your situation that will provide you the tools you need in order to avoid a relapse.