You have worked so hard to get clean, but staying clean can be a challenge in itself. In the short-term and long-term future, you will come across different triggers, events, or emotions that may make you want to pick up bad habits again. While it may be a struggle, it is possible to make it through while staying clean. There are different steps you can take to help keep yourself from relapsing.
How-to Keep Yourself From Relapsing: Prevention Steps
Be Aware of Triggers
Everyone will have different things that trigger them, but there are some triggers that are more common than others. It is important to know these in order to help keep yourself from relapsing. First, being around old friends who are still using drugs or alcohol and have no interest in getting sober can be a relapse trigger. It is difficult to keep all of your old life the same without falling into the same bad patterns too. Certain locations that you used to engage in substance abuse can also be a trigger.
Other common triggers include isolation, relationship issues, uncomfortable emotions like feeling hungry, lonely, or tired. Some people are overconfident in themselves, thinking that they do not have a problem, or that the issues are all behind them. This overconfidence can actually create the perfect scenario for relapse.
Stages of Relapse
One of the best ways to keep yourself from relapsing is to understand the stages of relapse. This way you can already know what to be mindful of. Relapse is usually a gradual process, and can even start months before the actual relapse event occurs. The different stages of relapse are emotional, mental, and physical.
With emotional relapse, you’re not actually thinking about using. However, your emotions and behaviors can set you up for a potential relapse. Some of the signs include anxiety, mood swings, not asking for help or going to meetings, anger, and isolation. Change your behavior and practice self-care. With emotional relapse, it is the easiest to get back on the right path and stop yourself from actually relapsing.
Mental relapse is when part of you wants to start using again, and the other part does not. You are being pulled two different ways. Some signs of this include lying, hanging out with your old friends and thinking about people and places in your past. It also includes glamorizing your past use and even fantasizing about using again.
If you are struggling with mental relapse, talk to someone and tell them what you are going through and thinking about relapsing. This could be a friend or even a support group. Urges won’t last for too long, but just make sure to distract yourself by going on a walk, or calling someone to chat. Remember to take each day at a time so that the process does not feel so overwhelming.
Lastly, the best thing is to try and catch yourself from relapsing before you get to the physical relapse point. Once you start thinking about relapse, it does not take long to get to physical relapse. This is when you actually physically relapse again. So, pay attention and react to the warning signs so that you do not make it to this point. Get help before it is too late.
Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12 Step type programs have become world-renown for help with alcoholism. If you’re considering going to your first meeting for AA or another type of 12 step program, you might not know what to expect. You’ll have an initial meet and greet time period, and then an introduction for the meeting. Next, you’ll probably have some time where you all learn a bit about a certain step of the program. Next, there will be time for people to share their experiences. And finally, you’ll wrap up and have time to socialize. Remember that you won’t ever be forced to participate if you are uncomfortable. Everybody there has gone through similar experiences as you and just wants to help you on your journey to sobriety.
What to Expect at Your First Meeting for AA or 12 Step Program
When you arrive at your first meeting for AA, you’ll probably be in a church or meeting hall. Often there are light refreshments provided and chairs set in a semi-circle. There might be people socializing and saying hello when you arrive. Feel free to introduce yourself or sit quietly if that makes you more comfortable. Once the meeting begins, everybody will find a chair around the leader of the meeting. The leader will usually begin with an opening statement followed by a short prayer. You do not have to participate in the prayer if you do not want to.
The next part of your first meeting consists of learning a bit about the program. The leader might ask if there are any first-time joiners, at which point you can choose whether or not you’d like to respond. Some meetings are Step Meetings, that focus on one particular step of the healing process. If this is the case, the leader will probably read some literature about that step to help you better understand it.
After the leader has explained which step will be focused on in your first meeting, they’ll invite members to share. This is the point in the meeting where members will most likely discuss their own journeys. You can feel free to introduce yourself at this point. If you’re comfortable, share a bit about why you’re at the meeting. Members will tell stories or share triumphs or hardships. This is meant to be a time where members can encourage each other and learn from others’ experiences.
At the end of your first meeting, they’ll probably wrap up with another short prayer or statement. Again, you do not need to participate in the prayer if you are uncomfortable with that. After the meeting is finished, there will be a time where members can mingle and get to know each other more. Feel free to socialize if you’d like. It’s also perfectly fine to leave at this point. Remember that you can take this at your own pace.
Your first meeting for AA or another 12 step program might have you feeling anxious. However, remember that everybody there has the same goal as you. To live a sober life without struggling with addiction. You’ll never be forced to participate or share anything that you’d rather keep private. Most meetings will follow the same plan of a welcome portion, followed by a short lesson. Then sharing sessions followed by a short wrap-up is very typical. These have proven to be helpful for recovery. Learning from others who are going through a similar journey can be so helpful. They can be a great source of help when you’re struggling. They’ll also share with you in your triumphs when you reach goals. Hopefully, your journey to sobriety starts with that very first meeting.
When you begin your road to recovery, it can be tough to go it alone. As such, it’s helpful to build up recovery relationships. These bonds can go a long way in giving you the extra support you need during this time…
Recovery Relationships: Helpful Support
Value of relationships
Recovery relationships are quite helpful for those who are seeking to get sober. If you try and do things alone, it can be hard to resist things such as cravings. You could also start to feel rather discouraged and lose your enthusiasm as you begin to face some difficulties.
However, having people to support you can make things different. Here, you’ll have people who can encourage you to keep sober and help to hold you accountable. Not just that, but you’ll also have people who you can trust and be honest with. Knowing you have people in your corner goes far in giving you the strength you may need to get and stay sober.
If there are recovery relationships you don’t want, it’s any unhealthy ones. These toxic relationships will serve to hurt your efforts to get sober. Instead of support, these people may tear you down instead. Or, it could be the case that they are a bad influence and try to encourage you to relapse back into drug use.
These kinds of relationships can be hard to cut off, as they may be people you know or did drugs with. Still, you have to understand that it’s what’s best for your well-being. Being around these kinds of people will just add a lot of unneeded stress during an already-stressful time.
Creating new bonds
Building recovery relationships can be done in a number of ways. For starters, it’s good to turn to existing friends and family. Those who show that they’ll still help and support you are great to keep around. It’s only those who won’t that you’ll want to cut off.
As for new friends, many people create new bonds when they go through treatment. Meeting people at these facilities is great for making new friends that know exactly what kind of situation you’re in. You can also find new friends at group therapy or treatment sessions. It’s easy to form new connections as you share stories about your experiences.
Drinking in moderation can be a good way to relax and enjoy yourself. However, if you notice that you’ve been drinking more and more than usual, it could be the sign of some dangerous behavior developing. That’s why it’s good to know what you can do to cut down on your alcohol intake. This can help you keep healthy while still enjoying your favorite drinks…
How-to Reduce Alcohol Intake: Important Techniques
Set a limit
One good way to lower your alcohol intake is by setting a hard limit. Usually, before someone start drinking, they’ll have a basic idea of how much they want to drink. Yet, once they begin drinking, it’s easy for them to drink way more than they expected.
By setting a hard limit, you know exactly how much you want to drink. That way, when you start drinking, you know when to stop. Plus, it’s good to let any friends with you know what your limit is as well. This will help them not pressure you into drinking past this limit, and instead help you stick to it.
Some people try to not eat much before they drink. In their eyes, they try to balance the empty calories that comes with drinking by limiting what they eat. In reality, it’s not a good idea to drink on an empty stomach, especially if you want to limit your alcohol intake.
By drinking on an empty stomach, you’re setting yourself up to drink way more than you should. It’s pretty simple, as the more space there is in your stomach, the more you can drink before feeling full. By eating beforehand, you’ll be able to better limit your alcohol intake. This will also help you avoid feeling sick or nauseous after a few drinks.
Choose healthier options
Picking healthier choices is also good for when you want to cut down on your alcohol intake. Of course, the most apparent choice is water. Drinking water will help keep you hydrated after drinking alcohol. Plus, it’ll also help you feel full without needing to drink any alcohol. You can also try out some non-alcoholic drinks. Many of these drinks will taste similar to their alcoholic ones, just without the alcohol in them. Choosing these drinks can be good if you want to watch your intake, but still want to experience some unique flavors.