Relapse is one of the greatest fears for those in recovery. After all the time and hard work it takes to go through addiction treatment, no one wants to relapse and go through everything again.
An addict who quits without treatment has a 50 to 80 percent chance of relapsing. Even with treatment, the likelihood is between 20 and 50 percent. Your attention may be good, but it takes more than willpower to avoid having a relapse.
Maintaining sobriety is a lifetime process, and cravings can be a hindrance during the recovery process. Learning to break addictive behaviors and identify cravings enables you to manage and resist the urge to relapse.
You must remember that experiencing cravings is not a sign of weakness. Instead, it is a part of the recovery process that has deep roots in your psychological association with alcohol and drugs.
Luckily, there are several practices you may use to sustain sobriety, and by implementing the following tips for staying sober, you can reduce your risk of relapse.
Identify Your Triggers
Understanding your internal triggers, such as feelings, thoughts, or emotions linked with substance use, and your external triggers, such as the people, places, things, and events that provoke thoughts or cravings connected with drug use, is crucial for preventing relapse.
After identifying your potential triggers, you may devise a strategy to mitigate or prevent them. Examples of common triggers include:
- Environmental factors
- Emotional distress
- Relationship issues
- Job or financial problems
Take Care of Your Mental Health
Your mental health significantly affects your addiction to alcohol or drugs.
It is typical for mental illness and drug and alcohol addiction to coexist. In 2014, more than 20 million Americans had a substance use disorder (SUD). Nearly eight million of these individuals also had a co-occurring mental disease.
If you do not take care of your mental health before, during, and after sobriety, you may anticipate your addiction to recur throughout your lifetime.
Caring for your mental health and drug or alcohol addiction might mean going to a mental health treatment center to help you stay clean. Getting advice from a substance abuse specialist and health care professional is essential to find the mental health treatment that best suits your unique needs.
Work on Your Relationships
The importance of family and friends’ engagement in substance abuse treatment cannot be overstated. Sometimes, family and friends may play a role in your alcohol or drug abuse. In other cases, family members or friends who are participating in your recovery journey have the potential to prevent you from relapsing.
It may require family therapy, but it is crucial to ensure that the people closest to you are not unknowingly enabling you. Additionally, a therapeutic setting might help you feel more comfortable bringing up topics that you would not ordinarily discuss. Your family members can encourage you to maintain sobriety when you work through your issues.
Friends matter too! However, if you have few friends and no family members you feel comfortable trusting, you should seek out support groups to join. Not only may they help you learn more about how to avoid relapse, but you can also make new friends dealing with the same issues.
Develop a Routine
Relapse prevention techniques always include developing a daily schedule. Routines are essential for successful addiction recovery since a chaotic or unorganized lifestyle might encourage relapse. Every day, get up around the same time, go to bed around the same time, plan phone conversations with family members and sober friends, and take a bath or shower to unwind every evening.
Not only is it vital to build a routine that works for you, but it’s also important to develop coping mechanisms for when your routine is disrupted. If you find yourself off schedule due to the holidays or a job loss, reaching out to your support network, attending an Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) meeting, or increasing your meditation practice will help you deal with the situation.
Change Your Environment
In addition to the things you used to engage in, people and places can also trigger a relapse. It may be difficult, but if your friendships are centered on partying, it’s time to put them on hold or end them. Additionally, if specific places are connected with drug use, avoid them at all costs. Change begets change, and a new environment might result in a new perspective.
Develop new hobbies but also seek out new people to spend time with. It can be beneficial in mitigating the initial shock and loneliness associated with changing your environment. Surround yourself with sober, like-minded people.
Surround Yourself with People Who Support Your Recovery
Addiction recovery is not something that should be undertaken alone. Being surrounded by people who support your recovery may be the most critical factor in figuring out how to stay clean. When it comes to substance abuse, having one or multiple positive influences in your life might make all the difference.
Family members and close friends will most likely be supportive of your recovery. Don’t be hesitant to depend on them through difficult times. It becomes much simpler when multiple supportive people cooperate with you to accomplish a goal.
Support groups are another approach to finding individuals who can assist you in your recovery journey. Generally, mutual support groups consist of people experiencing similar situations. Hearing about their experiences and sharing your own will make recovery much more manageable.
Avoid HALT (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired)
If you are hungry, get something healthy to eat. If you are angry, impatient, or frustrated, reach out to someone and talk about it. If you feel lonely, you should attend a meeting or phone a peer. If you are tired, get a decent sleep.
Any of the four pillars of HALT may cause you to take action that you may later come to regret. If you feel any of these triggers approaching, rely on your support system to alleviate your symptoms. It will quickly resolve any issues, and you’ll be back on track before you know it.
Learn to Say “No”
Be selective in accepting invites; you will know which social circles are suitable and which are not. If you have received an invite but don’t feel up to it, declining is OK. Now that you’re sober and reconnecting with your instincts, check in with yourself and your peers and go with that feeling.
Abandon Guilt & Shame
Shame and guilt are two terrible feelings that unquestionably lead to relapse. These have no place in your daily life. Being in recovery is a celebration of who you are today and how far you’ve come. Therefore, holding on to your guilt and shame will take you down a depressive path that will most likely result in a relapse. Let go of these feelings and concentrate on what is ahead.
Never Give Up!
It may sound cliché, but everyone is treatable. No one is beyond help. A recovering addict’s journey begins on day one and continues for the remainder of their life. No two recovery journeys will be the same, and none will be simple. Still, never give up. The instant you give up, say “screw it,” and take up your drug again will be the beginning of the end of your life.
Untreated and unchecked substance abuse can only lead to three destinations: a mental home, prison, or the ground. You will either get a mental illness, be arrested, or die. Therefore, do not give up.
Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.s)
How do you stay sober forever?
How healthy is being sober?
It’s no secret that sobriety has several benefits over active addiction. They include stable neurology, increased energy, ease of falling and staying asleep, healthier skin, and time and money savings. There are also several more benefits to staying sober, including:
Freedom from alcohol-related anxiety
Realizing the power of time
You’ll discover you aren’t alone
Do I have to stay sober forever?
After leaving rehab, it is customary to question whether you must stay sober forever. Thinking about ‘forever’ might be intimidating. Though, you can remain sober for the remainder of your life.
Sobriety has different meanings for different people. Because of this, there are several correct answers to this question. For some, staying clean forever is the only option to avoid relapse. For some, sobriety is flexible, and they can occasionally drink with friends and family.
Nevertheless, staying sober forever need not be a curse. Focusing on the positives may make sober living extraordinarily gratifying and enjoyable.
Is it easy to stay sober?
Even with family and friend support, managing sobriety is never simple. Recovery from alcohol or drug addiction is a lifetime journey fraught with many challenges. It may appear impossible to endure difficult times, especially at major events such as the holidays or a friend’s birthday. Luckily, different ways can play a big part in helping you stay sober.
Use your support network
Recognize your triggers
Stick to the treatment plan
Avoid H.A.L.T. (hungry, angry, lonely, tired)
Stay away from social media
Attend 12-step programs, individual and group therapy
Never give up
Why should I stay sober?
Staying sober helps you keep safe from the physical dangers of substance abuse. It also saves you from complex situations and feelings that drugs and alcohol use can provoke.
When you are sober, you are less likely to:
Get angry or violent
Get behind the wheel
Experience suicidal thoughts
Involved in a sketchy drug deal
Putting yourself and loved ones at risk
Get and Stay Sober with The Haven Detox
If you want to quit abusing alcohol, prescription medications, or illicit drugs, we are ready to offer you professional help and assist you in experiencing a fun, sober life.
The Haven provides medical detox and inpatient treatment programs that combine medication-assisted treatment with various psychotherapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (C.B.T.). If you have a co-occurring mental health illness, we are well-equipped to assist you in tackling both issues simultaneously.
Contact us at (561) 328-8627 today to get additional information on our treatment programs.