Relapse could be a one-time occurrence…
But, it could also occur several times. It does not just pose a one-time threat to a recovering, or even a fully sober, addict.
Relapse is very common, in fact, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said, “nearly two-thirds of all relapses occur during the first six months of recovery.”
So, the struggle to avoid the temptation to relapse is a reoccurring thing. It is a constant struggle to avoid triggers and people who might have previously fed your addiction or ones that potentially could cause you to relapse.
Remember, addiction is a chronic disease and some – if not most – people will struggle with the possibility of relapse for the rest of their life. It can easily be caused by stress, sights and smells, relationship issues, or a number of outside factors.
Since it is such a major struggle and can happen to anyone, potentially destroying the sobriety they have worked so hard for, it is important that a recovering addict has a relapse prevention plan that includes the following key components:
- Leave time for reflection and self-assessment.Remind yourself of why you started using the drugs or alcohol in the first place. Analyze what the start of the issue was and make a list of things that could cause you to resort back to that substance. Understanding where the addiction starts is a vital part of avoiding it in the first place.
- Recognize warning signs and triggers.A “trigger” is something that could cause you to stray from sobriety – it could be a person or a situation. This step goes hand-in-hand with understanding where the addiction began. First, you must understand where it began. Next, you can understand what fosters it or encourages it. Make a list of your triggers to help yourself avoid them on a daily basis.
- Plan for the worst.That doesn’t sound very beneficial as it sounds incredibly pessimistic. However, there is still a chance you will relapse even with a detailed plan. Therefore, you always need to be prepared for the worst-case scenario.
- Involve others.It is much easier to stay on track when you have an accountability partner, or even multiple accountability partners. They can help remind you of the triggers you should avoid and keep you focused on continued sobriety.
- Set goals.You should always be working toward a healthier and better life. Set goals for where you want to be in the next few weeks, months, and even years. This gives you something to look forward to and consistently reminds you why sobriety is best.