Relapse is a fact of recovery. Thankfully, there are things you can do to try and stay the onset of a relapse. There are also ways to live a fulfilling life without the use of drugs and should a relapse occur; it is not the end of the world. Here are some steps you can take to keep relapse at bay.
Seek Meaningful Distractions
Volunteer – Everyone has interests outside of their career and volunteering is a great way to explore that. Maybe you follow a specific faith and could get more involved in your place of worship. Perhaps you are charitable and want to volunteer with refugees. Either way, find something that isn’t job or drug related and attempt filling your time with that.
Find a hobby – Outside of volunteering, you could do something more solo. If you like working with your hands, you could sew or paint. Or you could go camping or birdwatching if you do not find yourself particularly artistic.
Work towards something – Do you have career goals you’ve always wanted to achieve? Set a goal to start working on getting that promotion. Maybe you have always wanted to participate in a triathlon, start an exercise regime and set little goals to achieve that big prize.
Control Your Triggers
Change your surroundings – This adage is true, but stop hanging out with people you used with and stop frequenting the locations you used at, such as particular people’s homes or clubs and bars.
Be honest – Keeping your struggle with addiction is a bad idea. Be honest with your friends and family about what your needs are. If you can’t be around others who are drinking, then let others know that gatherings need to be dry events or you cannot attend for a while. Tell your doctors too, because if they need to prescribe pain medication, they can monitor you closely and keep you on a low dose or wean you off quickly.
Relapse Isn’t the End
By having activities you can use to distract your mind from the cravings of addiction, you can stave off a relapse longer than you might think. However, should one occur, you can use it as a learning experience. Perhaps you have discovered additional triggers. Maybe a particular hobby became a trigger.
Whatever the cause of the relapse, it is important to know that it is common and that it isn’t the end, only a new beginning. Call your rehab team or your sponsor and discuss where to go from here. In the end, relapse can become a positive experience because you just learned more about yourself than you knew before.
Sydney DeZinno is a writer from Tucson, AZ. A graduate of the University of Arizona, she an active advocate that is passionate about addiction recovery and helping those in crisis.
| Twitter @sdezinno
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