About 570,000 people die annually from drug use. Many of these people have had substance abuse problems for a long time. Many have even gone through addiction recovery programs. Substance abusers and addicts learn in rehab that addiction is something that they will work on dealing with for a good portion of their lives. The battle to prevent relapse begins immediately after you leave the safety of an addiction treatment program. Having a strong relapse prevention plan can really help you in your battle to stay clean and sober after rehab.
1. Watch for Triggers
Your triggers are the things that make you want to take drugs or drink alcohol. They can be people or places or things that make you want to go back to your actively addicted life. You will need to be watchful of triggers. You can make a plan for what to do when you encounter your triggers. Having a plan about what to do when you encounter a trigger situation can take away the fear and the anxiety surrounding the situation.
2. Create a Support Network
There are many different kinds of support for people after they are finished with rehab. Many of these organizations are based around living a sober life. One of the most common ways for people in recovery to get support is to go to a recovery meeting. There are a number of different kinds of recovery meetings such as 12-step meetings, religion based meetings, family groups, or secular community meetings. Some groups are for specific demographics such as women, gay men, teens, or specific professions. All of these meetings will create a firm basis for your continued recovery.
3. Be Reasonable with Your Expectations
Addiction and recovery is a long road. You will need to be realistic about your expectations with yourself. Set small goals so that you can feel like you are making headway and getting things accomplished. Break larger tasks into smaller tasks to keep yourself from feeling overwhelmed. Small successes contribute to the bigger picture and to your ultimate bigger successes.
4. Keep a Journal
Keeping a journal may feel overwhelming at first, but it does not need to be difficult. You do not need to make entries about everything that you have done that day. You do not need to write about everything you think and everything you say. You should write about things that are important to you. You can write about your struggles and your successes. You can write down your prevention plans and triggers you encounter. You can write daily affirmations and you can write about gratitudes.
5. Keep a Gratitude List
In your journal or separate from your journal, make a list of several things each day or a few times a week of the things you are thankful for or the things that are positive about sober living. Keep this list close at hand and update it often. You can bring it up whenever you need a little boost. It will remind you of how hard you have worked and how far you have come. This list can be a very strong relapse prevention tool.
6. Get and Stay Healthy
Your body has been through a lot when you were in active addiction. Now, you should be taking care of it. Taking care of your body involves eating right, exercising enough, drinking enough water, and getting enough sleep. To eat right, you should be eating mostly fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, omega-3 rich foods, and whole grains. Any kind of exercise is going to be good exercise. Take a walk about the block, do some yoga, or ride a bicycle. Moving around is good for your whole body and your mind.
7. Meet Some New, Positive Friends
Since you have left behind your addiction life, you may be looking for some people who can be supportive of you. It is important to find a social group where you can be yourself and still receive the support that comes with having friends. Finding people who have similar backgrounds to yourself can be useful so making friends at your recovery meetings can be very useful. You will also be able to help your friends by being supportive as well since you understand where they are coming from.