Relapse is one of the biggest fears of anyone trying to recover from an addiction. Recovering from an addiction is hard work, and something that someone has to be committed to for the long-term, and it involves always fighting against the fear that a relapse is just one mistake away. So people may approach their recovery from feelings of fear, instead of empowerment. And they can overcome their fear of relapse by understanding that relapse doesn’t have to be part of their recovery. An addict can make the difficult transition to a sober life without having to relapse. But to do so the addict needs to practice self-care and self-preservation to attain long-term success.
Types Of Relapses
One of the biggest things someone needs to understand to avoid relapse is that the issue goes beyond just the physical act of taking drugs or drinking alcohol. It’s about the mental, emotional, and physical struggles and plateaus that people inevitably experience as they try to reshape their lives and their dependence on a substance. During their recovery, especially in the earlier parts, they will have highs and lows, which is a natural part of recovery. But by practicing self-care and preservation, they can be better equipped to deal with the lows.
How To Prevent A Relapse
When a person starts feeling emotionally low, one must first know how to identify the feelings that are associated with the addiction. The majority of addiction is spawned by emotional/psychological issues that must be addressed for the addict to find long-term sobriety. When an addict feels the emotions that predicate a relapse action should be taken immediately. Emotional issues that an addict should look out for are:
- Extreme anxiety
- Loss of appetite
These problems should be addressed, so that the addict in recovery doesn’t move closer to an actual relapse. Anxiety, loss of appetite, insomnia, and especially isolation are important problems that should be addressed. An essential part of recovery is having a strong support system to help with the isolation an addict feels trying to cope with living life sober. By accessing a strong support system and acknowledging emotions that predicate a relapse, it’ll help with prevention.
Eating healthy, getting enough sleep, and setting a regular schedule that involves friends and physical activity is also a big part of avoiding relapse during a recovery. Besides nurturing health, doing these things will force a recovering addict to place value on one’s life, which was missing before. Instead of abusing one’s body, the individual is now making it a daily responsibility to take care of one’s health.
Relapsing Doesn’t Mean Failure
Even for the most determined person, the lure of addiction can be overpowering. And not just the substance itself, but the lifestyle that came with it, which includes friends and the fantasy and release that the substance provides. Relapse can be avoided, especially if preventative techniques are employed, but if a relapse still does happen it’s also important that the addict knows it doesn’t mean that recovery has been a failure. What is important is that the relapse is acknowledged and then strong measures are taken to prevent it from ever happening again, along the same lines that were listed above, like making sure to access a support group and implementing a healthy lifestyle.
Most of all, it should be remembered that long-term recovery is a marathon and not a sprint. Although there may be a roadblock or two, staying on the course will ultimately lead to success. Once someone is able to recognize the emotional feelings and mental thoughts associated with relapse, then one is in a much stronger place to enact preventative measures from it ever taking place.