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.