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Relapse Prevention: Tips for Managing Triggers

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Whether you went through an inpatient drug facility or you kicked your habit all on your own, you’ve probably heard the suggestions of what to do next. You were probably given the suggestion to go to a 12 step meeting and find a sponsor. When you get that sponsor, give them a call every day, and start working some steps. This is quite an ear full when you’re hearing it for the first time, and could possibly seem overwhelming. Whether you choose to follow the suggestions or not, you probably still don’t want to go back to the way things were in your active addiction. You’ve got to maintain some kind of recovery in your life. Relapse may sometimes be common for those in recovery, but it’s not a necessity. Relapse prevention is vital to those in recovery, and especially in early recovery. Here are some tips and ideas you could use as a relapse prevention plan, in addition to following the suggestions that were given by those who work a program of recovery or professionals in the field of addiction. 

Relapse Prevention Plan

Relapse Prevention, of which can be defined as cognitive-behavioral approach with the ultimate goal of identifying and preventing the return of the previous problematic behavior, is a very important component in the treatment process or in early recovery. If you went through an inpatient drug facility, you’ve got the advantage of having staff and therapists around you 24/7. If you are/did get clean and/or sober on your own, asking for help is very important. You should never be afraid of asking others to help you. Early recovery is a very confusing and potentially painful time, and this is why relapse prevention is so important. As you might have read in one of our previous articles, relapse prevention could easily be available through a short-term or long-term sober living environment.

Relapse Prevention Tips

Whether you choose to stay in a sober living environment (which is highly suggested) or not, it is always good to pay attention to yourself and your behaviors. You’ve got to take care of yourself, due to the fact that you are the most important person in your recovery. Relapse can easily have some warning signs, or literally come out of no where; either way, you want to be prepared. If you’re suffering from the three “D’s” (denial, depression and dishonesty) then you should talk to someone right away or head to a 12 step meeting. Some relapse prevention tips for you, in case you can’t get to a meeting or speak to someone, include the following:
•    Don’t isolate
•    Stay active
•    Stay away from people whom you used to drink or drug with
•    Stay away from places where you used to drink or drug
•    Stay away from things that make you want to drink or drug
•    Reach out
•    Ask for help
•    Develop some coping skills
•    Get a sponsor
•    Make a gratitude list
•    Get creative
•    Avoid fantasizing about your drug or alcohol

Relapse Prevention: How to Manage Triggers

Getting clean and sober is a major accomplishment, and relapse prevention will help you maintain that feeling of joy. A big part of relapse prevention is identifying your triggers. Triggers can come in any form: events, people and/or emotions – all resulting in any form of craving that can potentially take you back out. The cravings for your drug of choice can be used as an escape, and an opportunity to numb yourself and your feelings. Triggers can vary from person to person; not all triggers are the same for everyone. Some examples of general triggers could be: emotions, past traumas, negative influences, certain people or certain objects. A few examples of some specific triggers could be that you saw your old using or drinking buddy and they’re still drinking; you drive past your favorite bar; or something happens to you and you feel an emotion that you’re not used to feeling and want to numb it.

Some ways you could practice your relapse prevention and managing your triggers would be:
•    Identify your triggers
•    Stay away from people, places, and things
•    Develop some coping skills
•    Take care of yourself
•    Make sure your recovery is your main priority
•    Get a sponsor or talk to someone about your recovery

Concluding Relapse Prevention and Maintaining a Strong Recovery

Relapse prevention and managing your triggers can be very helpful for you and your long-term recovery. If you or someone you love is struggling in their recovery or are still in active addiction, don’t hesitate to call us. Recognizing the behaviors for a potential relapse or trigger while you still have time could save someone’s life. Call us at 1-800-861-1768 now and ask questions, it’s never too late.

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