What is Relapse?
When someone who has struggled with substance abuse has achieved some period of sobriety and then returned to active use, that is relapse. While going back out does happen, it doesn’t happen to everyone, and people who stay sober tend to do the same things. We have some tips for avoiding relapse.
Build a Solid Network of Sober Friends
Remember, the friends you meet in sobriety understand what you’ve been through. They know what it is to experience cravings that can feel impossible to get through. So after you’ve made some contacts, use those phone numbers! It can help to remember that by reaching out to a sober friend when you are struggling, you are actively helping *them* to stay sober by reminding them of how powerful the disease can be. Your reaching out helps them “keep it green”, to remember just how bad it can get.
Having sober friends also means not having to worry about avoiding or dealing with alcohol every time you make social plans.
H.A.L.T. Your Relapse Before It Begins
Here are four relapse prevention tips in one. There are physiological and emotional states that leave addicts and alcoholics especially susceptible to relapse. Minding these is key staying sober, and they spell out the acronym H.A.L.T.
- Hungry – An empty stomach is a powerful ally for relapse. Letting yourself get too hungry can intensify cravings and lower your ability to withstand them.
- Angry – If you get upset, that feeling is often followed by a wave of “Forget this, forget everything. I don’t care.” In this state, the escapism of using can seem attractive, though it will only make everything worse. Exercise or meditation can help you either redirect or let go of anger.
- Lonely – Isolating is hallmark behavior of the addict. The more time you spend alone, the further you get away from healthy and sustainable recovery. Use your network!
- Tired – Our patience and resiliency are at their lowest when we are exhausted. Be attuned if you’re more irritable or short-tempered than usual. Chances are good a little extra rest will do you a world of good.
Make the Decision to Go to Any Length to Stay Sober
While relapse prevention tips are good to know, they’re only worth as much as you act on them. We know the phenomenon of the “thousand-pound phone”; even if your phone is full of sober contacts you can reach out to, actually doing so when you’re tempted to drink or use can feel daunting. But this is what separates actually staying sober from just knowing how to stay sober.
Contact Renaissance Ranch Ogden for Relapse Prevention and Addiction Recovery in Utah
Commit to your sober life fully; don’t try to keep one foot in the past. Use all the tools you learned in treatment and you will come to know a brighter, more satisfying, ultimately sustainable way of living.