Recovery Process Pages

Avoiding Relapse / Maintenance

Maintaining Sobriety

Through your sober recovery, you’ve learned how to take care of yourself in healthy ways. You’ve invested in inpatient drug rehab or outpatient rehab and spent months in substance abuse treatment. You’ve worked with a team of mental health and addiction specialists and come to understand your addiction and the situations that trigger it.

Naturally, you want to prevent a relapse and maintain your new and healthy lifestyle. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), drug addiction relapse rates range between 40 and 60%; and, among people who relapse, about two in three relapse within the first six months of recovery.

Don’t worry, though. Taking these steps on a regular basis will minimize the risk of relapse:

Relapse Prevention

  1. Identify situations (physical, emotional and environmental) that could heighten your risk.
  2. Try to prevent such situations from arising, but have in mind strategies that can help you navigate them if and when they do.
  3. Continue to cultivate new coping skills, such as meditation, to help you handle triggering situations when they do occur.
  4. Avoid becoming over-confident. Remember to steer clear of the people, places and situations that are likely to spur your old cravings.
  5. Be proactive in responding to your stress and problems so that they don’t build into crises.
  6. Spend time with family members and friends don’t isolate.
  7. Stay engaged in healthy activities and positive thought patterns; counteract anger, boredom and loneliness.
  8. Incorporate proper nutrition, adequate sleep and sufficient exercise into your daily life.
  9. Always work on your recovery plan. Reevaluate it and update it on a regular basis.

If you sense that you might be in danger of relapsing, help is available. A relapse prevention program is an extension of outpatient rehab that can give you the extra support you need when you begin to feel that your sobriety and well-being are threatened. A relapse prevention program includes working with professional addiction specialists to maintain your sober recovery by using specific coping strategies.

Coping Strategies

  1. Creating a detailed history of your previous drug and alcohol use so that you can learn from your past experience.
  2. Educating yourself about the nature of relapse and its usual causes, such as uncontrolled anger and fear, along with some protective strategies.
  3. Keeping a list of high-risk situations and detailed plans for how to navigate them should they arise.
  4. Learning to recognize the signs that you are in danger of relapse. Signs might include becoming cocky and thinking that you have conquered addiction and no longer need to think about it; lying to people close to you; feeling resentful; and letting go of structure in your daily life.
  5. Practicing all of your coping strategies.
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