One of the biggest challenges for people who have overcome addiction is preventing relapse. Relapse can occur after a long period of sobriety, after being exposed to triggers, or during a moment of weakness. Without a proper relapse prevention plan and the ability to identify warning signs, it can be easy to slip back into old habits.
But relapse doesn’t have to happen. Many coping skills can help you stay sober and prevent relapse. Here are five of the most important ones:
1. Stay Connected to Your Support System
One of the most important coping skills to prevent relapse is staying connected to the people who can support you. This could include friends, family, addiction recovery and relapse professionals, or a sponsor. If you feel like you are struggling, reach out to them for help. They will be more than happy to listen and provide support.
Ranch Creek Recovery notes that isolation is one of the main predictors of relapse, so it’s important to stay connected to your support system. Joining a local relapse prevention program or a 12-step group is a great way to stay connected as well. This will help you stay on track and have accountability.
2. Maintain Your Healthy Habits
To prevent relapse, you should also maintain your healthy habits. This means exercising, eating healthy foods, and getting enough sleep. If you’ve been working hard to establish these good habits, don’t let relapse undo all your progress. Most people who relapse find that it’s much harder to get back on track than it was to stay abstinent in the first place.
So, find something to motivate you to stick with your healthy habits. Maybe set some goals for yourself, or find a support group to help keep you accountable. Combine this with purpose in your life, work, studies, or any other activities, and relapse prevention will be much easier. Remember that a focused mindset and positive attitude will come in handy here.
3. Deal With Stress in Healthy Ways
It’s common to deal with stressful situations while in recovery, but it’s essential to find healthy ways to cope with that stress. Some great options include exercise, journaling, meditating, deep breathing exercises, and talking to a therapist or counselor. Stress can trigger a relapse, so be mindful of how you’re dealing with it.
If you’re going through stressful emotions caused by family issues, work-related pressure, or another situation, try to find healthy outlets to deal with them. Talk to someone you trust about what you’re going through, express yourself through creative endeavors like writing or painting, take some time for yourself to relax, or seek professional help.
When you’re feeling overwhelmed, consider these tips:
- Remember to take things one step at a time to make them more manageable
- Break down your stressors into smaller tasks and goals that you can complete
- Permit yourself to take some time for yourself
- Breathe deep, relax, and know that you’re doing the best you can
4. Address Any Underlying Issues
Addressing any underlying issues is key to preventing relapse. If you’re struggling with an addiction, there are likely other areas of your life that are also in turmoil. Until you address these underlying issues, you will be more likely to relapse. Counseling or therapy can help identify and address any underlying problems.
Underlying issues can include:
- Anxiety or depression
- Trauma or abuse
- Family problems
- Financial stress
- Job stress
Addressing any of these issues can help reduce your risk of relapse. It will help you better manage your emotions and give you the emotional space and willingness you need to stay sober.
5. Keep a Positive Outlook on Life
Finally, it’s also important to keep a positive outlook and stay hopeful that you can stay sober and avoid a relapse. Don’t let relapse get you down — instead, use it as motivation to recommit yourself to recovery. Remember that nobody is perfect, and everyone makes mistakes sometimes. Just because you slipped up once doesn’t mean you’re doomed to relapse.
With the right coping skills and support, you can get back on track and stay sober for good. Keep your recovery goals in mind, and stay positive to achieve them. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends, family, or professionals when you need it.