Sometimes, a relapse following treatment for addiction can come, seemingly, without any warning. It can strike when you least expect it and throw a wrench into your plans for a healthy lifestyle after recovery. Even if you don’t fully relapse and return to drug or alcohol use, the threat may sneak up on you enough that you worry you may use again. Learn to recognize some of the warning signs that may indicate an approaching relapse or threat of relapse so that you are better prepared to deal with those encounters.
Strategies to Combat Potential Relapse
If, following your experience in treatment for addiction, you find yourself thoroughly exhausted, then it wouldn’t be out of the ordinary. The process is taxing in a dozen different ways and you’re more likely to feel tired and mentally drained than not. Unfortunately, this makes it easier for you to fall into relapse, since your willpower may not be as sharp as it usually is. It becomes more difficult to control impulses the more worn out you are, so look into ways to keep your energy and stamina up to prevent bad habits and cravings from taking back control of your life.
How would you rate the strength of your attention span? Those who are heading toward the threat of relapse may find that their “working memory,” or ability to avoid distractions when task-focused, isn’t up to snuff. That is, if you’re able to really keep your recovery goals in focus, it’ll be easier to avoid temptation. If you are easily drawn away from those goals, even just in your thoughts, then your actions may be soon to follow.
A danger that is especially prevalent in the summertime is “self-licensing.” If you allow yourself to indulge under the banner of being on vacation or if it’s a holiday, then you fall under this label. One allowance will lead to another because you’ll start craving that fleeting feeling again, so don’t give yourself that opportunity for struggle and distress. Employ self-control when facing times or instances in which you might have said “I can have just one drink to celebrate.” Provide yourself with outs ahead of time so as not to make all this more difficult for yourself and employ helpful strategies that you may have picked up during treatment for addiction, if you can.
As discussed in other relapse-related materials, the environment in which you place yourself is a huge determinant of your threat level of relapsing. Spending time with friends who are still regularly consuming alcohol or smoking will never be a productive environment for recovery. “Proximity can increase the strength of desire” and should therefore be avoided as much as possible. If you find yourself unable to leave this situation (i.e., at a work function), then develop internal coping strategies and distance yourself physically from the temptation.
Avoid general procrastination and indulgence. As human beings, we like instant gratification. Most people will choose a course of action that results in a more immediate reward than to do something that takes a longer time to reach that reward. This is how much people become addicted to a substance in the first place. If you employ strategies of patience and discipline in other aspects of your life, you’ll likely find it easier to do the same when it comes to drugs and alcohol.
There are a lot of ways that a person can relapse, but there are also a lot of ways to try and prevent it from happening. If you are having difficulty preventing relapse and are concerned about the future of your recovery, get in touch with The Bergand Group. The Bergand Group is Maryland’s leading addiction recovery center and offers support for those struggling with addiction and mental health issues. We can help you to work through your addiction in a safe and healthy environment where everyone is committed to your care.
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About The Bergand Group:
At The Bergand Group in Baltimore and Harford County, Maryland, our therapists have more than twenty years of experience in the mental health and addiction fields. Our focus is on providing comprehensive mental health care and appropriate care for addictive disorders. We offer both alcohol rehab and drug rehabilitation in our treatment for addiction. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol or substance addiction, there is help available. We also offer several other services, including family therapy and counseling. We can help. Contact us today.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]