Relapse prevention is one of the most important things to consider for anyone who has quit drinking alcohol successfully. After finishing an alcohol or drug treatment plan, it is necessary to take steps to support sobriety and reduce the risk of relapse to make sure you do not begin drinking or using drugs again. For many people, this involves taking on a new approach to life and drastically changing daily habits and triggers.
Many treatment centers are now advocating plans to keep from returning to old ways to help make sure that those who have successfully completed a drug or alcohol abuse treatment program do not relapse and continue living sober for the weeks, months, and years to come.
Relapse prevention plans typically include determining the environment the person is living in, their history, educating the person about the warning signs of relapse, as well as planning ways to keep them sober for good and cope with day to day life.
Understanding why alcoholics relapse can help you determine even more ways to prevent alcohol relapse after completing an alcohol or drug program.
Here are some additional ways to help you with relapse prevention:
1. Identify and Remove Triggers: Triggers are anything that remind you of drinking or make you feel like drinking. Triggers will vary from person to person, but they will include anything from television commercials for alcohol, walking past a store selling alcohol, being around other people who are drinking, feeling depressed, and even seemingly mundane activities such as eating out at a restaurant.
Anytime after your treatment you feel tempted or are reminded of drinking, make a note of what it is you were doing. This will help you identify triggers to help you prevent a relapse. Once you have recognized your triggers, you will be able to list ways to avoid them and how to deal with these triggers.
2. Plan non-alcohol activities: Life after drinking can seem strange, since you can’t really go out to a bar with your friends. You may find you don’t have anything to do anymore. Dig up a past hobby, go to movies, go fishing, exercise, do puzzles, volunteer somewhere, read books – whatever it is that will help you take your mind off drinking.
3. Avoid the “wrong crowd”: For many people, relapsing can be caused by social influences of friends, coworkers, or others. They may pressure you into drinking or make you feel awkward. If need be, stop communicating with them completely. Hanging out with old friends still involved with drinking or drugs is a guaranteed relapse if they themselves do not quit drinking or doing drugs.
4. Have a buddy: During alcohol or drug rehab, it is likely you have met someone else trying to quit drugs or alcohol. You may also have a very supportive friend or family member you can talk to. Having someone you can call and share your feelings with about temptation can help you stay strong maintain your sobriety. There are also many online forums you can join which may help you work through your problems without falling to the urge to drink.
5. Continue therapy: While after a period of time it may no longer be needed to see a counselor or therapist regularly, being active in meetings, helping others fight addiction, or periodically attending a therapy session with a trusted counselor can help with relapse prevention. Many alcoholics stop treatment much sooner than they really should. If at any time after you stop counseling sessions you start feeling any of the possible warning signs of relapse, you may wish to contact those people and join a session as soon as possible – they will be glad to see you.
These tips can help you resist the temptation of continuing alcohol or drug abuse and keep you on the path of recovery. For many alcoholics, working to prevent relapse is something they will constantly need to be aware of and monitor. If you have any relapse prevention tips you would like to share, feel free to leave them in the comments below.