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Relapse Prevention: Strategies and Support Systems

It can feel like a whole new world once you leave rehab. You’re now back on your own two feet and navigating the world around you. We highly recommend participating in relapse prevention during and after your program to keep your sobriety in check. 

In this blog, we’ll look closely at relapse prevention and what it means.

Understanding Relapse Prevention

Relapse prevention is a component of addiction treatment that takes into account the triggers in one’s environment that increase the risk of relapsing. These triggers may include certain places, high-risk situations, people, and substances. The goal of relapse prevention is to understand what these triggers are and put a plan in place to keep the recovering addict from being affected by them, typically through avoidance.

Relapse prevention is essential in recovery because you’re going to still have cravings from time to time that are your responsibility to overcome. If you end up relapsing, don’t view it as a failure. Instead, you’ve gained more insight into your personal triggers because of this. Now, you’re more prepared for future events where the same instance would occur.

Key Strategies for Relapse Prevention

If one relapse prevention method doesn’t work for you, you can try others. Each person’s situation is different, and your triggers will be much different from those of another recovering addict.

Relapse Prevention Strategies

Have An Accountability Partner

An accountability partner could be trusted family members or friends or a sponsor from an AA or NA group. Whoever it may be, accountability is an effective way to prevent relapse. They can call or text you during the day to check in, or you can reach out to them when you’re experiencing a craving.

Journal Your Triggers

After completing rehab, you might discover certain factors served as triggers you were previously unaware of. Keeping a journal on paper or in your phone notes can help you track these triggers. This way, you can evaluate whether certain situations are safe for your sobriety.

Manage Stress

One of the primary causes of relapse is stress. When you’re stressed out in recovery and don’t utilize your healthy coping skills, it’s easy to want to move backward for temporary relief. This, of course, only hurts you long term. Managing stress is a great way to avoid these triggers. Some techniques to control stress include exercise, eating well, getting proper sleep, and managing your time wisely.

Practice Mindfulness Meditation

At that moment when the urge to relapse comes, take a moment to close your eyes and take deep breaths. Mindfulness is a holistic technique you’ll be taught during treatment that you can take home to use. It can look like taking a nature walk, stretching, acknowledging your senses, etc. The goal of mindfulness is to ground you and eliminate the impulsiveness caused by the craving.

Remove The Triggers From Your Life

Physically remove the triggers from your life, even if that means taking yourself out of an environment. Triggers come in all shapes and sizes and vary from person to person. This includes cutting contact with people who fueled your substance abuse and getting rid of other substances in your home that may lead to relapse. We’ll go into greater depth about triggers below.

Identifying and Managing Triggers

Managing triggers can be a huge life adjustment for some people. This could mean as little as changing your route home to avoid the liquor store or as big as removing certain people from your life altogether.

Some common triggers that people must after rehab include:

  • Removing people who encourage your substance abuse
  • Changing your driving routes
  • Moving into a new place
  • Changing jobs to reduce stress
  • Ending a relationship or friendship
  • Avoiding parties where alcohol or drugs are present
  • Picking up new hobbies to prevent boredom

Whatever needs to be done is worth it in the end because it protects your sobriety and, as a result, your health, livelihood, and relationships. 

The Importance of a Healthy Lifestyle

It’s uncommon to hear of a person who has prime physical and mental health yet struggles deeply with a meth addiction. The two simply don’t go hand in hand. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle in recovery is a crucial effort for relapse prevention. The average healthy person stays on top of the following health aspects:

  • A balanced diet
  • Staying hydrated
  • Daily fitness
  • A sleep routine
  • Self-care
  • Stress management
  • Consistent with any prescribed medications

A healthy body significantly contributes to a healthy mind. Why would you want to go back to the misery of drug or alcohol addiction when the life you have now is thriving?

The Role of Support Systems in Relapse Prevention

Along with your efforts, having a solid support system is equally important. Family, friends, and peer groups all play a role in your support network for accountability and encouragement.

Utilizing Support Groups

You can participate in support groups like AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) or NA (Narcotics Anonymous). These groups are led by a peer who has been exactly where you are. 

Each person in the group is at a different level of recovery; some may even be in the addiction phase. You can hear from others their progress, where they’ve stumbled, and the hope they’ve found through recovery. It’s an encouraging place to be with like-minded individuals.

The Value of Professional Aftercare Programs

Once you finish your rehab treatment, don’t cut ties with the professionals. You can participate in aftercare programs like the ones offered at Harmony Junction to stay in close contact with the individuals who’ve helped you on your journey. These programs include ongoing therapy, group work, and sober living assistance.

Harmony Junction Recovery’s Approach to Relapse Prevention

At Harmony Junction Rehab, our personalized recovery programs include medical detox, rehabilitation, and aftercare. Each of our treatment programs is individualized to fit the patient, regardless of their substance use disorders and any co-occurring mental conditions. With our primary rehab treatment, we offer inpatient, outpatient, and partial hospitalization.

We’re proud to offer broader choices like non-12-step meetings as well as traditional 12-step. We also have alternative forms of treatment, including pet-friendly therapy, couples treatment, and dual-diagnosis rehab

Personalized Relapse Prevention Planning

Following your time with us, we’ll send you into the After Care program, which focuses on relapse prevention as you integrate back into daily life. We aid in sober/transitional living and stay in contact with our patients to make sure their recovery is going smoothly.

Reach out today to learn more about who we are and how we can serve you or your loved one in recovery.