Thursday, 18 October 2012

10 Tips on Relapse Prevention

"If you hang out at the barbershop long enough,
you are bound to get a haircut."
Unfortunately relapse is part of addiction.  We are all human and we all make mistakes.  From my own experience and from what I have heard in the rooms, when you relapse you go straight back to the level of tolerance you were on when you last stopped.  The cycle of addiction just grows from there and some people never make it back to recovery. 

It is best to avoid situations and people that could trigger a relapse.  These are a few examples for when you are starting out in recovery:
1.   Stay away from relationships you’ve found troubling or difficult in the past.
2.   Avoid family and friends who have enabled you in the past.
3.   Stay away from the people you used to drink, drug, gamble or have casual sex with.
4.   Keep away from bars, clubs, casinos, or where you used to hang out doing the above.
5.   Get to understand what your body feels like when you are stressed, afraid or depressed.
6.   Beware of H.A.L.T. - being hungry, angry, lonely and tired.
7.   Be aware of the times of the day or the week when you are most likely to use:
·         At the end of a long, difficult day at work, when you just need to unwind?
·         On the weekends, when you’re feeling lonely and bored?
·         After visiting a parent or other family member?
9.   Make other arrangements at those times to do something else:
·         Rent or go to a movie to unwind.
·         Meditate.
·         Listen to music.
·         Take a yoga class or go to the gym.
·         Have fun with your sober friends.
·         Do some gardening or painting or writing on weekends.
·         Go to a 12 step meeting if you are really overwhelmed.
9.   It is also important to know the signs of impending relapse, for example.
·         Persuading yourself that you can drink, drug, or gamble just one more time.
·         Remembering the times using made you feel good.
·         Forgetting the negative outcomes that come along with your addiction.
·         Thoughts that using again this time it will be different.
·         Seeing your addiction-free life as a punishment, rather than as the blessing it truly is.
10. Never doubt your ability to stay sober or keep away from your addiction.
When you recognize these signs in yourself, it’s time to check yourself: Are you approaching denial once again?  Addiction and alcoholism are the only diseases that tell you, “You don’t have a disease.”  But you do and the road to recovery might be filled with potholes but keep going – it is truly worth it.  Most of all, you are truly worth the serenity it brings.

"Recovery is a journey between two stations.
One station represents total chaos, and the other represents total serenity.
What is important is not where you are, but what direction you are facing"

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