Relapse Prevention: Tips to Stay on Track - Music City Interventions

Relapse Prevention: Tips to Stay on Track

The fear of having a relapse can hold you back from trying to get sober. Many people who use drugs or alcohol think that a full recovery isn’t possible, and it’s easy to develop this false belief if you’ve witnessed a relapse firsthand. You might also find yourself stressing out about the possibility of having a relapse when you’re trying to enjoy living sober. In some cases, your stress can intensify cravings and lower your confidence levels. A relapse prevention plan helps you avoid giving in to cravings. If you find yourself in a risky situation, referring to your plan can help you make better choices when your judgment is clouded by stress or temptation.

Understand the Relapse Prevention Model

A relapse prevention plan can look very different from one person to another. A simple outline may work for one person, while others prefer a detailed description of how they will handle each potential scenario that could come their way. Most plans still follow the relapse prevention model no matter what form they take. This model identifies situations that pose a high risk for having a relapse. It also outlines various coping strategies that you can use to strengthen your resolve to stay sober. Being prepared to handle a challenging situation puts you in better control over the choices that you make.

Learn How to Recognize the Common Stages of Relapse

There are three primary stages of relapse, and recognizing where you are on the path can help you reverse course and get back on track. The first stage is emotional. At this point, your thoughts are turning in a direction that could trigger cravings. You may be isolating yourself from others and refusing to talk about your emotions. Anger and anxiety are common during this stage.

The second stage is mental. You may feel like you are at war with yourself regarding sobriety. As this stage progresses, you may begin to remember only the good things about using drugs or drinking. You may even start to make a plan to re-engage in your former behaviors, such as saying that you’ll only drink or use drugs on the weekends.

The final stage is physical, and this is when you are dealing with an active relapse. Although you might feel guilty or hopeless at this stage, you can still put your plan into action.

Identify Your Triggers

A trigger can be a person or thing that causes you to want to drink or use drugs again. Triggers can also be certain moods or physical sensations. These are a few of the most common triggers that can pop up when you’re living in recovery.

  • Physical pain or discomfort
  • Relationship issues
  • Having someone suggest having a drink or doing drugs
  • Driving by your favorite bar or party house
  • Coming across drug supplies
  • Experiencing a new trauma
  • Being hungry, angry, lonely, or tired

Decide How to Handle Common Scenarios

Living sober means finding ways to manage emotional and physical discomfort that leads to relapse. For many people in sobriety, addressing basic needs first makes a big difference. The HALT method focuses on checking to see if you’re hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. If this is the case, your first strategy for relapse prevention may be to eat a meal, have a drink of water, rest, and call a sober companion to walk you through dealing with negative emotions.

Your plan may also include ideas for trigger avoidance. For the future, you might want to take a new route that doesn’t take you by an old haunt, or you may need to replace enablers with people who support your sobriety in positive ways.

Make a List of People to Call for Support

A strong support network is one of your most significant assets for relapse prevention. Sober coaches and companions are trained specifically to help people prevent relapse, and they can show you cognitive and behavioral strategies that make it possible to overcome triggers. They can help you by doing daily check-ins to keep you accountable. You can also plan 24/7 support to get you through a severe crisis such as losing a loved one or ending a relationship.

Include Self-Care In Your Relapse Prevention Plan

When you catch yourself in the stages of relapse, you can also put a stronger focus on self-care. Making sure to rest, meditate, or write in your journal can all help you stay on track. Going for a run or engaging in your favorite hobby can often distract you long enough for a craving to go away. Living in recovery requires making frequent choices to stick to your plan, even when times get tough.

Getting Help

Confidentiality, professionalism, and compassion are at the heart of everything we do for families from Nashville and throughout the US at Music City Interventions. We’ve made it our goal to offer discreet drug and alcohol addiction treatment that is effective for our clients who benefit from having caring intervention that addresses the needs of a recovering addict. If you or a loved one is suffering from drug and alcohol addiction, contact us today to speak with a trained addiction specialist.