There are many different reasons for addiction relapse, but not having enough coping skills is the most common. When you are struggling with addiction, it may be hard to know how to handle stressful situations. You might turn back to drugs or alcohol as a way to cope with your feelings. Here are some techniques that can help prevent relapse and provide healthy ways of handling stress.
1. Setting Unrealistic Expectations
Make sure to set realistic goals for yourself. If you’re in early recovery, it’s important not to expect too much of yourself because your body is still getting used to having chemicals out of the system.
Realizing that you can’t change your past is another important part of setting realistic expectations. It’s not always easy to come to terms with the fact that addiction has affected your life, but it will make relapse less likely if you accept where you are on your substance abuse recovery journey.
2. Places or People Connected to the Addictive Behavior
You may want to avoid places or people that you used to be with, as this will make it difficult not to use again. If you’re at a party and everyone is offering you drugs and alcohol, it’s going to be difficult for you to say no if the temptation becomes too great.
It’s also important to realize that avoiding these triggers completely isn’t always necessary or smart either. Going out only when you’re feeling strong and resilient is likely to end in disaster, since it will reinforce the idea that you can’t do anything until you are at 100%. It might be better for people recovering from addiction to plan to go out in small doses and gradually work their way up instead.
3. Events That Include Using Alcohol or Any Other Substances
Often, it’s the types of events you attend and the people who will be there that can make a big difference in your decision to use drugs or not. If you’re going to an event where everyone is planning on partying all night long, it might be best for you to find something else to do instead.
Most people go to these events because they are looking forward to getting drunk and using drugs, so it’s unlikely you’ll be able to avoid temptation if that’s what everyone else is planning on doing. On the other hand, some users might find that going out and socializing with friends who use but don’t pressure you to drink or get high is a good way of reducing stress and having fun.
If this isn’t possible, then it’s best not to go at all. Even if the temptation is too great for you on your own, think about whether there might be other activities that will take your mind off using drugs and alcohol instead.
4. Seeing or Smelling the Object of Addiction
Sometimes, the best way to prevent relapse is by getting rid of things that will remind you of drug or alcohol abuse. It’s not just obvious triggers like liquor bottles and syringes, either. You’ll also want to get rid of anything in the house that you used to drink or do drugs with, such as ashtrays and anything else you might use. Be sure not to throw these things away until you’re confident that you won’t want to use them again. Smelling certain substances can also be a trigger for relapse. If this is the case, then it’s best to avoid places where they’re being sold in stores near you.
Stress is one of the biggest triggers for relapse. This can be caused by anything from a big life change to feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope with things anymore. If you’re in recovery, dealing with stress isn’t going to be easy, but it’s important not to avoid or repress your feelings when they come up. Instead, try to find healthy ways of channeling your emotions and coping with stress in a way that won’t make you want to use it again.
It’s also important not to resort to old habits because of poor ways of dealing with stress when you’re already under pressure. Using drugs or alcohol will complicate things further by making it harder to resist temptation.
There are different ways of coping with stress. Some people might find talking through their problems helpful, while others prefer going for a run or taking some time out on their own instead. No matter your preference, make sure you keep yourself occupied with activities other than drugs and alcohol, as this will make it easier to avoid relapse.
Remember, relapse is more likely if you have nothing distracting you from using drugs or alcohol. It’s not always easy to stay motivated, but remember that the benefits of quitting will be worth it in the end. A healthy lifestyle and improved mental health are goals that most recovering addicts would find worthwhile.