Detox and rehab can be a long and intense process. Because of this, many first-time rehab graduates seem to think that when they finally check out of a treatment center, all the hard work is over, and they can just get back to living a normal life.
But the work isn’t over, and an addict can never return to the life they considered as “normal.” That previous “normal” life supported addiction, and now it must be altered in a way so that substances are no longer necessary for recreation or relief.
In other words, a change has got to come. To prevent a relapse, an addict has to be mindful of any potential triggers and do their best to handle those relapse triggers without backsliding into harmful habits.
Anticipate and Avoid Triggers Whenever Possible
If a certain environment is starting to make you think about using any substance you have an issue with, leave. It might be awkward to do so, and you might miss out on some fun opportunities, but a little social discomfort is worth removing yourself from a bad situation.
You need to know when to leave the room. Of course, it’s better to just never enter the room in the first place.
Plenty of such metaphorical rooms will present themselves in life after rehab. You might get invited to a late night party with the old crowd you used to frequently do your drug(s)-of-choice with, or maybe one day as you’re leaving work your colleagues from an impromptu plan to go to the nearby bar.
It can be difficult to turn them down, as no one wants to alienate or offend their friends. But if these people are really your friends, they’ll understand and let you have some space. You don’t want people in your life who take it personally and try to make you feel guilty when you skip out on events as part of your effort to stay clean.
Some Triggers are Inevitable, How You Respond to Them Isn’t
Those aforementioned examples of triggers are only avoidable because they are environmental, and you have the ability to move and control your environment to a large extent.
Not all triggers are within your control like that, though. Some are more situational than environmental. Your rent gets hiked up. You lose your job. You get dumped. These things happen.
It’s just not up to you sometimes, but what is up to you is how you respond to these challenges during recovery.
Before rehab, your drug of choice would be what you turned to as a coping mechanism.
And no matter how long you’ve been clean, occasionally, when you’re faced with stress, you’ll likely return to those thoughts. Then, you’ll somehow reason that a substance you know you have a problem with might be the best way to deal with stress, at least temporarily.
Therapy and life experience should have taught you by now everything you need to know about that line of thinking. It’s delusional.
Mindfulness is the key to keeping delusions like that from poisoning your thoughts. Slow it down. Be conscious of where you are and what you’re doing in the moment. Carefully consider all the consequences that could follow a relapse.
Often, all it takes is thinking about the big picture to render a trigger powerless.
Take Care of Yourself
One of the most effective practices for relapse prevention is to simply maintain a healthy lifestyle.
I noticed that patients that lead a healthy lifestyle stand a better chance of recovery. Alpine Recovery Lodge in Utah strongly encourages their patients to eat a well-rounded diet, exercise regularly and get enough sleep.
Our professionals the center also recommend that recovering addicts stay away from negative influences as well. We’ve witnessed how this usually ends up in a nasty relapse.
To ensure that you never experience that ‘’knot in your stomach’’ attend after care sessions and keep in contact with the professionals your rehab. We understand the pressures of life after rehab and those butterflies can occur. The key is to be strong and walk away.
That seems like common-sense advice, and yet many people doubt the importance of those basic health routines. Don’t be like that. Sticking to a proper diet, exercise, and sleep plan will make it easier to handle stress, which in turn will make it simpler to deal with triggers in a productive way.
Treat your body well. Know when to walk out of the room (or better yet, don’t go into the room at all). That’s how you prevent a relapse.