It is natural to feel that you or your loved one will never overcome addiction. Addiction to drugs or alcohol is not an easy condition to get out of once that path is taken. Addiction affects the body, mind, and spirit; all of which detrimental by a chemical compound which changes cellular, molecular, mental and cognitive abilities and functions. It is not an easy road to get off of even though it is an easy one to start when friends, TV, movies, media and other sources are falsely promoting its use and enjoyment as though it’s safe or cool. Addiction ruins lives which are devastated, and at times, feels impossible to get away from. However, once you have received treatment for addiction, there are relapse prevention techniques you can apply to keep you from relapsing back into your drug or alcohol addiction.
Addiction can be defeated, and you can get away from the entanglement of using substances and move on to live a clean life where you have a purpose, a chance to live, and an opportunity to love others around you. You can return to a healthy life once again, or find one for the first time. After going to rehab, there are relapse prevention techniques that can be implemented to ensure you continue to lead a sober life, free from the dangerous cycle of addiction.
Relapse Prevention Techniques
Many relapse prevention techniques will help you or your loved one stay drug-free. Some general relapse prevention techniques include:
- Relationship Choices
- Support Network
- Group Settings
- A New Environment
- Creative or Outdoor Activities
- Nutrition and Medical Practitioner
- Healthy Eating
We will go over some of these techniques in depth, which can help you make choices in your life to support you in your intention to remain drug-free. Or these methods can be used to help your loved one in their life decision to be forever free from addiction.
If you get involved in something negative and damaging to your life there is often a person or a group that you are around that is influencing you in a harmful or degrading manner. It can be as subtle as making you feel unimportant, less than your worth, or it can be overly obvious such as insisting you’re not cool or you must be scared or dumb if you won’t even try a drug. It can be something more covert. For example, if someone says they want to help you and see you do better but you just don’t feel they are being sincere, or they try to get you onto another drug to help you with the addiction you already have, that is just making the cycle of addiction different but still, never-ending. That is not someone trying to help you.
It’s important to be able to spot these negative people or groups and to figure out how you are going to handle your relationship with them. How are you going to respond when they are pushing you or making you feel small? Should you put that relationship on hold while you find some stability in your life? Maybe you need to sever ties with that person who tends to drive you into bad habits or makes you negatively react in your life.
It’s important for you to really look at your life on your own and see those in it who are bad influences or who subtly make you feel bad. Likewise, those groups who are offering help but not really interested in seeing you actually do better, because there is nothing for them to benefit from it are not your friends. Those groups who are always doing drugs encouraging you to get high or “increase your creativity” while really numbing you and making your creativity nonexistent do not want to see you give up your addiction. Using your relapse prevention techniques, you can make the decision you need to make to no longer have them in your life because you no longer feel that their presence and communication can have a negative effect on you.You can keep your integrity when around those who push you down if you choose to be in their presence. The choice of your relationships is up to you.
One of the most important of the relapse prevention techniques is a support network. Remaining sober will be much less of a challenge with a good support network. A support network can be your family or friends who are not using substances who want to see you stay clean too and who have always been there for you. They will encourage you, making you feel good about your positive choices in life and let you know that you matter and are important to them because you are worthy.
A religious community is also an excellent support network. They want to see you do well, live your life in a way you want to live and they provide an outlet through which you can express yourself. Being active in a religious community has been proven to be beneficial in staying away from drugs and staying clean. Regardless of the group or people you choose, a long-term support network is beneficial to aid you in your success of remaining clean and will always be one of your best relapse prevention techniques.
A New Environment
Another action a person can take to no longer remain in a continuous cycle of relapse is to come out of rehab and go into a new environment, rather than returning to the familiar one, which could encourage relapse. Of course, it would be nice if you could leave behind every aspect of your old life in a sense, but it’s not always viable. Some cases might require you to return to your job or to return to the same neighborhood. “Friends” might stop by who might pressure you, however casually it may seem, into drinking or using drugs.
If you can implement even a small change of environment it will be better than going back to the same exact environment and lifestyle. It could be as simple as taking walks in a nice neighborhood or skipping out on the parties you used to attend. Joining a gym or taking a healthy cooking class could help you meet different people who do not struggle with substance abuse or addiction.
If you can go on a trip somewhere away from it all and have some alone time to collect your thoughts and make plans and set goals for yourself, that would be ideal. There are a lot of ways to incorporate some sort of new environment for yourself, but if you can, it is most ideal to immerse yourself in a completely new location, lifestyle, and overall environment
Preventing a Relapse
There are infinite actions you can take to prevent a relapse. The opportunities for a clean, purposeful substance-free life are limitless. Having a game plan in place can make it easier to maintain stability. Writing out a list of things you want to do or feel you need to do to stay clean and keeping that list available can be a useful reminder and tool to turn to for activities or actions to engage in when feeling weak. Remember, you can always simply walk away, no matter how much pressure another gives you; it is a freedom which belongs to you.
Whether making important relationship choices, finding your support network, going to a different environment, or implementing any of the highlighted relapse prevention strategies of substance abuse listed above, you have a whole gamut of tools available to support you in your new life, no longer dependent on drugs or alcohol.