Recovery is a life-long challenge, and relapse is common. That doesn’t mean it is a foregone conclusion, though. A substance abuse treatment program like that available at CeDAR typically provides relapse prevention training as part of their care plan. When treatment is over, though, what can you do to stay on the sober track? Consider some relapse prevention tips that may help.
Understand Your Triggers
Triggers are things that make you want to use drugs or drink alcohol. They are different for everyone, which is why it’s so important to understand yours. Triggers can be internal, such as feelings, or external, like an old friend who would party back in the day. Keep a journal and note all potential triggers every time you have the urge to drink or use drugs. This gives you a way to understand yours and avoid them if necessary.
Some common triggers include:
- Exposure to drugs or alcohol
- Mood swings
- Reconnecting Old relationships
- Going places you used to use
- Special events
If you can learn to manage your triggers, you improve your chance of staying sober and avoiding relapse.
Make HALT Part of Your Recovery
HALT is an acronym for hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. These are feelings that can trigger a craving to use drugs or drink alcohol. If you experience a craving, stop and ask yourself if you feel any of these four things.
Just breaking down how you are feeling at the moment of the craving gives you a chance to reset instead of acting on it. If you find you are experiencing hunger, anger, loneliness, or fatigue, address those feelings instead.
Always Have an Emergency Contact
Keep a list of several people you can call with you at all times. These are people you would contact should you need help maintaining your sobriety. The emergency list is also there for someone else to call should you relapse.
Keep more than one version of this list, as well. For example, you might keep a written list in your wallet and another on your phone. This covers your bases just in case you don’t have your phone with you or the battery dies before you can call someone. You also might give a copy to the people you live with if they need to make the call for you.
Always Have an Exit Plan
Have a way to leave when you go out, whether it is a party or a business dinner. You might end up somewhere that exposes you to drugs or alcohol without your knowledge.
For example, have an excuse ready if you need to leave a night out with friends like you forgot an early meeting or class. That way, you don’t have to think something up on the spot while focusing on staying sober. Also, have someone you can call to get a ride home or keep an app for ride-share on your phone. That way, you won’t get trapped somewhere waiting for your ride to leave.
Make Self-Care a Priority
Sometimes your health and wellness have to come first. Practicing self-care is an important part of recovery. Self-care means different things to different people. Typically, it involves eating right, working out, and getting enough sleep. Being hungry or tired are potential triggers. Also, exercise can make you feel good, so you don’t feel the need to get high.
Add entering a drug and alcohol treatment plan that offers aftercare to that list. Services at CeDAR include:
- Managed detox
- Residential treatment
- Family therapy
- Outpatient services
- Extended care
And, at CeDAR we also provide aftercare to support you in your recovery.
Relapse happens, but there are things you can do to lower your risk. To find out more, give us a call at 720.848.3000 or go online and fill out our contact form.