You've Completed Rehab: Now, learn how preventing relapse can keep you on a life-long healthy track
When someone completes a rehabilitation program, the most common feelings for them and everyone around them are those of accomplishment, happiness for the success and hopefulness for what's to come-- preventing relapse.
Sometimes a way to recovery is a long and arduous one, and completing the program itself may seem like a daunting, impossible task. So when one is successful, and is able to leave a rehabilitation center or finishes an out-patient rehab program, one can't help but bask on the good feelings.
In preventing relapse, it's important to keep in mind that while celebrating the success is key on keeping an optimistic and positive perspective, one has to be strong willed and strong minded to avoid situations that may tamper with that success.
Preventing relapse is a continuous effort to sobriety and to a healthy life, but one that does not have to be complicated or strenuous.
After recovery one can learn how to prevent relapse by following some of these steps:
- Avoid places and people that contributed to the addiction
- Assist group meetings (AA, group therapies, etc)
- Avoid stressful situations
- Have a list of red flags: things that could indicate when you are in danger of relapsing
- Create a strong support network of friends and family
- Exercise and follow a healthy meal-plan
- Get plenty of rest, especially at night
- Create an emergency relapse clean, one that is clear and has steps to follow in case of need
While learning how to prevent relapse is key in keeping a clear mind and staying motivated, its also important to be aware of possible signs of relapse.
When you are aware of these signs, preventing relapse can actually be easier, serving as an early-detection mechanism. Some of the most common sings of relapse are:
- Anxiety or irritability
- Unexplainable mood swings
- Craving or thinking about the substance, places or people that were part of that lifestyle
- Stressing out about relapsing and not seeing help or support immediately
While these and other factors can make an appearance, these signs of relapse can help you set your emergency plan in motion, seek support and get help for preventing relapse from happening.
It's important to always look and focus on the big picture: good, stable mental health and healthy body. The combination of mind/body on a healthy state is what brings the positive things you seek after recovery: healthy relationships, stable work situation, reliable support network, etc.
When preventing relapse or seeing some of the early signs of relapse the first thing should always be talking to someone. Get help, call a friend, a support helpline, your therapist, your peers... Talk. Talking helps, sharing the negative or fearful thoughts is often a good way of pushing them away.
Learn new coping mechanisms whenever possible. Try natural and/or holistic approaches if that peeks an interest in your recovery. Change schedule, by staying away from the old routine you avoid past triggers.
Develop new "positive addictions"; that is, trading your former abuse for something that is actually good for your mind and your body, like mediating, jogging, participating in recreational activities with family, etc.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that when overcoming an addiction, there is a 4o to 60% chance of relapsing, meaning that it is important to combine all defense mechanisms whenever possible to avoid falling victim of an addiction again.
Working on yourself is important. It should be the number one priority of your new healthy lifestyle. If you need additional information on how to prevent relapse, learning new coping skills or simply want to talk to someone to get help finding treatment centers today, call us at (203) 909-6453. Your recovery is an achievement you don't have to lose.