Why You Need a Relapse Prevention Plan
Overcoming any type of addiction is a great accomplishment. You have made a commitment to a healthier, happier life for yourself. You did the work to achieve sobriety. However, the work isn’t done the moment you complete your treatment plan. You need to take the steps needed to stay on the path of sober living.
You Always Need to Keep Your Guard Up
Addiction is considered an illness. Once you have undergone treatment, you can consider yourself a recovering addict. Your illness does not disappear or have a magic cure. Living with addiction means learning how to cope with it for the rest of your life without leaning on an addictive substance again.
You need to accept that this is a part of you. Don’t ever become casual about the source of your addiction again. It’s not something you can indulge in once in a while or keep in control. You need to shut the door on the source of your addiction. Visualize locking it and throwing away the key.
Make a Formal Plan to Avoid a Relapse
Holding firm against your addiction isn’t enough. Overcoming substance abuse isn’t only about willpower. You need to have a relapse prevention plan. Sit down and write a contract with yourself about how you are going to avoid substance abuse.
You need to list your triggers. Write down the negative influences in your life you need to avoid, like people who joined you in substance abuse or places where the source of your addiction is readily available.
Create Healthy Strategies to Deal with Stressful Times in Your Life
Life isn’t always going to be smooth sailing. There are going to be bumps in the road. There may be financial struggles, health problems, or the loss of someone you love. Work may challenge you, or the mountain of expectations may seem too high. These difficult times could push you in the wrong direction.
Find effective ways to deal with the obstacles or rough days in your life. Try meditation to begin and end your day. Tune into your favorite music. Find a form of exercise you enjoy, whether it’s walking with your dog, hiking, swimming, or kickboxing. Focus on positive alternatives in your life.
Build a Strong Support System
Your relapse prevention plan should include a team of people you can count on to help you when you are struggling. You should have a therapist you talk to on a regular basis. Attend support groups to sit with others who lived through similar experiences in life. Call people, you love often. Don’t avoid gatherings with friends and family. Surround yourself with people who will build you up.
Set a Routine for Yourself
A routine will create a rhythm for your days. You’ll have a set of expectations you need to meet. Schedule your trips to the grocery store. Fill in the slot for your daily workout. Keep set hours at work. Volunteer for a cause that matters to you.
Choose a night for family dinner. Set up a bedtime routine and stick with it. It doesn’t mean you can’t be spontaneous from time to time. Knowing what your week will look like leaves less room to stray off a healthy path.
Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help
No matter how hard you are working to stay sober, you may experience a relapse. Don’t beat yourself up or give up on your recovery. Don’t try to hide what is happening, or you will only slide back farther. Reach out to your loved ones. Talk to your counselor. Learn about your options for treatment, including medication assisted treatment.
Outpatient and inpatient treatment plans are available. You aren’t alone if you turn to the source of addiction again. Instead, you need to pick yourself up with help from others who are ready to catch you if you fall.
Addiction is a treacherous slope. It will throw curveballs at you. In spite of all of your efforts to overcome addiction, a relapse is possible. Be gentle with yourself. Forgive yourself. Remember how far you have come. Look at this moment as a minor setback. Be your own advocate and fight to get back on the road to wellness. Your hard work will pay off every time you move forward as an individual recovering from addiction.