What Should You Do If You Relapse?

Individuals in recovery from addictions frequently relapse at least once. Specific individuals may even go off the waggon numerous times before achieving sobriety. Indeed, despite the availability of approved treatments for nicotine, alcohol, and opiate addiction, over two-thirds of people who enter treatment relapse.

UKAT rehab centres know that the first step in prevention is identifying what triggers relapse and working on a strategy for dealing with these triggers. 

Consider the following five triggers and discuss them with your therapist or counsellor.

1. Stress

Stress is a common relapse cause. Many addicts use their addiction as an unhealthy coping mechanism. Stress would increase the need for drugs, alcohol, or addictive behaviours, especially if the substance or activity were the person’s primary coping technique.

Preparing for this trigger by assessing your present stress level. You can’t eliminate everyone from your life, but you can avoid stressful circumstances. So make a list of all the people, places, and things that stress you out.

Additionally, it is vital to acquire knowledge of efficient stress management practices. You may be able to mitigate or manage your stress by implementing the following strategies:

  • Mindfulness and relaxation training
  • Avoid going through panic mode by improving your time management
  • Include moderate exercise and a portion of good food into one’s daily routine

Reduce the risk of relapse due to stress by learning effective coping strategies, recognising stressful situations, and dealing with them. A therapist/counsellor can help you learn to listen to your body and mind to detect stressors and develop coping skills.

2. Addictive Behaviour’s Relationships with Other People or Places

Individuals who have been involved in your addictive behaviour may operate as relapse triggers. Locations might also be triggering if they remind you of your addiction. Anxiety is triggered by family members that make you feel weak and childlike.

When you are reminded of your addiction, you need to be prepared. If you’re an alcoholic, who gets invited out or sees co-workers enjoying happy hour, having a prepared response may help.

3. Emotions That Are Difficult or Negative

Addicts need good coping, regulating, and interpreting techniques. You can’t numb such feelings with alcohol, drugs, or addictive behaviours.

Exercising or reading books may also be beneficial. Recognising those bad sensations isn’t always a sign of failure. Everyone has bad feelings. You decide how to manage them.

Consider these feelings as opportunities for progress–asking yourself how you’re feeling and why might tell a lot about you. Confronting one’s feelings without succumbing to addiction is immensely beneficial.

When you’re sad, try journaling, meditating, or even praying. Discover a healthy way to reduce stress and improve mood. With the help of mental health or addictions professionals, you can develop new coping mechanisms.

4. Observing or Sensing the Object of Your Addiction

Recognising your addiction can help you stay sober. Whilst trying to quit, you may find yourself smelling smoke, watching others enjoy alcohol in a bar or restaurant, or witnessing a passionate embrace.

It’s normal to want to return to your addiction. After all, this is home. But recovery is about creating a new way of life where it is easier — and more desirable — to stop using.

Focus on the new life and changes you’re causing. Consider the repercussions of your addiction, including the people and relationships you harmed. You may miss your previous life when you encounter these memories, but it only brings you pain and misery.

When you’re feeling irritated, adopt a substitute habit like yoga or a long bath. Reciting positive mantras or relaxing may also help you resist these temptations. Consult your counsellor or therapist for more advice.

5. Holidays and Other Festivities

You may feel at ease, in control, and confident that one drink, one cigarette, will not destroy your day during a party or gatherings. If you begin to relapse, seek out someone you respect and trust to gently but firmly persuade you to stop doing what you’re doing while celebrating different occasions with friends and families.

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