Congratulations on being clean and serene, whether you’re on day one or day one thousand. As you surely know, beating an addiction is one of the most challenging things a person can do. Here are some tips to help you keep up the good work.
Anticipate Triggers And Make An Action Plan Ahead Of Time
One of the best things you can do to avoid relapse is come up with a game plan to use whenever you encounter triggers. It is important to do this ahead of time. For example, if you know you are most susceptible to relapse when you’re feeling depressed, promise yourself that you will watch a comedy anytime you are feeling down in the dumps and having thoughts about using. Better yet, let a supportive friend or family member in on your plan so they can provide encouragement and hold you accountable.
Build Up Your Support Network
The number one predictive factor of relapse is a lack of social support. Thus, it’s imperative that you stay connected to people who care about you. Aim to have a quality interaction with at least one supportive person every day, at the minimum. Also, keep in mind that one thing many people struggle with early in recovery is not having any sober friends. If that is a problem for you, make an effort to reach out and connect with new people who are also committed to a healthy and sober lifestyle.
12-Step meetings are great, but they aren’t a substitute for individual therapy. If you don’t meet with a therapist to work on the issues that were driving you to use, you will be much more likely to relapse. Yes, therapy can be costly, but it’s well worth it. If you’re lucky, your community may even have free or reduced-cost resources available for people in recovery.
Eliminate Reminders Of Your Old Life
The first step to relapse is reminiscence. Thinking about the old days and all the good times you had with your drug of choice is just a few steps away from making some regrettable decisions. Get rid of anything in your environment that might trick you into relapsing or influence you in any bad way. Delete phone numbers, get rid of photos, and even find a new place to live, if you have to.
Avoid falling back into old habits by keeping yourself so busy that you don’t have time to think about anything except your new, happy, healthy life. Attend 12-step meetings, make plans with sober friends, pick up extra shifts at work, exercise, or get a new hobby. Any activity that keeps you engaged in substance-free life is probably a good idea.
Staying clean and sober is challenging, but you’re worth it. Stay positive, surround yourself with supportive people, and use these tips to create a healthy and meaningful new life. You’ll never regret any step that leads you away from your old life of illness and addiction. That’s a promise.