The road to sobriety is a very long journey that requires willpower and resolve to push through stumbling blocks. One of those roadblocks is suffering relapses which can quickly eradicate an individual’s recovery progress. People recovering from substance abuse are very vulnerable and sometimes it takes only the slightest of triggers for them to revert back to their old, destructive habits. Preventing relapse might sound like a monumental task, but with the right approach and a strong support system, individuals can resist the urge and step away from harmful substances for good.
Today we’ll be discussing how to prevent relapse and help individuals live a more fulfilling and meaningful life.
Factors that can cause relapse
Before we get started, it’s important to know what causes relapse. After completing rehabilitation, patients need all the support they can get from their loved ones to ensure that they don’t return to using drugs and alcohol. Here are some of the most common factors that contribute to relapse:
Triggers – Triggers can be anything from feelings, situations, experiences, and relationships that can provoke an individual to use harmful substances after a period of abstinence. For example, walking past a familiar pub bring memories of alcohol abuse and can result in relapse.
Not adhering to the treatment plan – Completing rehab isn’t a guarantee that the person will be sober for life. Relapse is very possible if the person doesn’t adhere to their treatment plan and sustain their recovery.
Lack of support – People who’ve successfully completed rehabilitation need all the support they can get to maintain their sobriety. A lack of support system can expose them to familiar triggers and result in a relapse that significantly hinders their progress.
Physical and mental exhaustion – Excessive fatigue can also contribute to relapse. If the person is experiencing high stress levels, he/she might feel the urge to go back to drugs or alcohol to numb the physical and mental exhaustion.
Depression – Substance abuse and depression are frequently linked together. People who are in a state of depression are more likely to suffer from relapse and cause a ripple effect that can affect their day-to-day lives.
Ways to prevent relapse
Plenty of people have successfully maintained their sobriety without ever having a relapse. And while it requires plenty of self-control, particularly in the early stages of recovery, it is definitely possible to avoid suffering relapse. The following suggestions are ways on how an individual can prevent a relapse from occurring.
1. Surround yourself with the right people
The first step in preventing relapse is to surround yourself with caring and compassionate individuals. Building a connection with people you can rely on makes the journey to recovery much easier. This means getting rid of toxic relationships and cutting off people that expose you to drugs, alcohol, and other harmful substances. The more you surround yourself with positive and uplifting people, the lower your risk of having a relapse will be.
It also helps to form connections with people who’ve successfully lived a sober lifestyle. They’ll be able to provide crucial insight on how they broke the cycle and managed to stay away from harmful substances completely.
2. Avoid visiting old haunts
Visiting old haunts that remind you of substance abuse will derail your progress and tempt you to go back to your bad habits. Drug use and alcohol are part of the culture in places like raves, pubs, dance clubs, and other similar environments. If you are serious about living a sober life, it’s best to avoid these places altogether, even if you have emotional attachments to them. You can even consider changing your route to school or work so you don’t encounter the places most associated with your substance abuse.
3. Minimise stress as much as possible.
Living a sober lifestyle is already a challenging task for a former addict. Adding unnecessary stress will only make it more difficult and it may even trigger a relapse when the stress levels are high. While stress is a part of life, how you handle the stress can make or break the possibility of suffering a relapse. If you’re at work, you can discuss with your employer about your condition so they can provide you with a supportive work environment. Or, you can consider moving to a new home and establish new relationships that’ll encourage you to do better.
Whatever causes tension and stress in your life, don’t hesitate to walk away from them. Whether it be a job or a relationship, find something that provides you with inner peace. Minimise the source of stress as much as you can and you’ll be able to enjoy the freedom of abstaining from drugs and alcohol for the rest of your life.
4. Take plenty of time to care for yourself.
While a strong supporting cast is essential to achieving sobriety, it is you who ultimately needs to take responsibility for your own healing. Important aspects to incorporate into your days are acts of physical, spiritual and emotional self-care. Be gentle with yourself. Whether it be going for a regular walk, eating the right sort of food, taking the time to make an effort with your appearance, going to the gym, practicing a form of meditation or pursuing a healthy hobby, putting some time aside just for yourself is really important. By incorporating regular acts of self-care into each day you’ll be able to enjoy a sober lifestyle that’s bigger, better, and more meaningful.
Maintaining your sobriety
It may feel like it takes a lifetime’s worth of sheer willpower to defeat your demons, that it’s a constant battle against temptations, distractions and urges just to maintain your sobriety, but keep in mind that every single day is a step in the right direction, and it gets much easier over time. Even if you suffer a relapse, it’s not the end of the world. Along with a strong support system, you can come back even stronger and learn from your setbacks. Preventing relapse might sound like an impossible task, but with enough dedication and resolve, you’ll be able to turn your back on what has once taken control of your life. It is always advisable to speak to a drug rehab centre in Bali to receive the correct advice in relation to your situation.