Working to avoid a relapse is the basis of everything you do when you are in recovery. From the people you hang out with to the activities you partake in and the place where you live and your long-term recovery plan, everything has the end goal of staying sober!
There are a number of decisions to make when you are fresh out of treatment that directly impacts your chances of staying sober. That is why it is important to be extremely vigilant about everything you do. Always keep recovery at the top of your list of important things to do, and that will greatly increase your chances of success.
The Top Things You Can Do To Avoid a Relapse
Staying sober is hard work. Rehab isn’t an all-encompassing solution, rather it takes time, dedication, and commitment once you are done with rehab to continue your journey towards a healthy, happy, and sober lifestyle. While there are many obstacles you will face, there are also a number of things you can do to avoid a relapse. If you do things right, your days of sobriety will turn into months, and your months into years before you know it.
Here are the top things you can do to avoid a relapse:
- Seek a continuum of care. One of the biggest mistakes people make is quitting rehab cold turkey. Even if you complete a comprehensive program, going back into the real world suddenly can be a huge set-up for failure. When you go to full-time rehab you have 24/7 support, and going back to the real world can be quite jarring. The ideal solution is tapering down your treatment by going from full-time rehab to an outpatient rehab to a therapist and going from there. This process can take months or even a year.
- Think about living in a sober home. Sober living facilities give you something to be accountable for seeing as all of them have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to drugs and alcohol. You will be randomly tested for substances regularly, and you need to be sober in order to keep the roof over your head. This alone is enough for most people to commit to being sober. Also, you’ll be around a group of peers who have the same goal of staying sober, and there is definitely strength in numbers, not to mention support!
- Be selective about the company you keep. Avoid hanging out with anyone who is actively using drugs or alcohol. After all, it is a lot easier to bring somebody down (you) instead of pull someone up. It just isn’t worth it. Some people may have seemed like your best friend while you were in active addiction, but in truth, the biggest thing you probably had in common was your drug of choice. Instead, surround yourself with healthy people in recovery who have a lot of time sober. They will be people you can aspire to be like and go to for advice.
- Avoid starting new relationships. We all want them, but relationships are tough! They often lead to arguments, heartache, and negative feelings. These all happen to be emotions that can easily lead you to think about using drugs or drinking alcohol. So why chance it? They say you should avoid new relationships for the first full year you are in recovery so that you learn more about yourself and how you react without drugs and alcohol in your life. Heed this advice!
- Take recovery seriously. At the very least, attend 12-step meetings a few times a week, like AA or NA. Get rid of any thoughts that you can indulge once in awhile like a “normal” person. Taking one hit, or one drink can easily send you into a downward spiral from which there is no coming back. If you want to avoid a relapse, you simply cannot have just one drink or get high just once. Trust us when we say that one time will only be the start of something bigger.
Recovery is hard work, but you can avoid a relapse if you stay committed. If you do the five things we outlined here, you will have a good chance at staying sober because you are working for it and taking it seriously. Nothing is bulletproof, but the more time and dedication you give to your recovery, the better off you will be.