The recovery journey is not always a straightforward path. The temptation to return to old habits and patterns of misusing substances is exceptionally powerful. Relapses during the recovery journey are common, but relapse does not mean all hope is lost or recovery has failed.
While relapse is common, relapse prevention can lower the risks of stepping back into old habits. What is relapse prevention, and how can you sustain recovery? Find out more about preventing relapse below.
Relapse can be either “traditional” or what some professionals refer to as “freelapse.” Traditional relapse is consciously choosing to use a substance. By contrast, freelapse is an unintentional relapse, such as accidentally drinking a beverage not knowing it contains alcohol. Both events can require rededication to recovery.
There can be several factors that can heighten the risk of relapse, including:
- Social factors: Social influences like being around family and friends who use substances or even dealing with relationship dysfunction can heighten the risk of relapse.
- Psychological factors: Cravings, co-occurring mental health disorders or triggers such as stress, negative emotions or boredom can be contributing factors.
- Environmental factors: Certain environments can heighten the risk of relapse, such as attending certain social gatherings or functions or encountering places where substances are more accessible.
Strategies for Sustaining Recovery
Implementing relapse prevention strategies when an individual commits to recovery can help them stay on the right path. Take a look at a few tips that may help avoid relapse.
- Create a network of sober supporters
Surround yourself with a sober network of people who will hold you accountable but also offer encouragement. Your support network may be friends, sponsors from support groups and family members.
- Know triggers and how to avoid them
Each person working through recovery can have their own unique triggers. Work to know what your triggers are for you personally and then create actionable plans to avoid them or cope with them. Remember, triggers can be more tangible like people or places, but they can also be purely emotional, i.e., stress or feelings.
- Practice self-care and develop healthy coping mechanisms
When in active addiction, sufferers tend to neglect taking care of themselves emotionally, physically and mentally. However, during recovery, taking care of yourself can be vital to prevent relapse. Take part in activities that are good for your mind and body, such as journaling, exercising or even meditating. Determine healthy coping mechanisms that can help you manage stress without substances.
- Seek professional help
Engaging in a therapeutic recovery program is critical for preventing relapse. A trained therapist will work with you to pinpoint underlying factors that drive addictive behaviors. However, therapy or committing to a rehab program also means exposure to types of therapy that have been proven effective in helping people overcome addiction.
The Recovery Journey Doesn’t Have to Be a Walk Alone
Facing recovery can seem overwhelming, but having the right team to offer support can mean everything. At Legacy Recovery Center, our compassionate team of professionals tailors addiction treatment plans to the individual and their needs. Reach out to Legacy Recovery Center to learn more about our programs.