Relapse Prevention: 4 Tips to Help You Stay on Track
Substance use disorder has become a growing concern in the United States. Recent research revealed that more than 20 million Americans have a substance use disorder. Seventy-three percent of Americans have alcohol use disorder, whereas 38 percent have a drug substance use disorder. Alarmingly, 12 percent have both alcohol and substance use disorders.
Among all the 50 states in the United States, addiction statistics in Florida, in particular, are disturbing. About eight percent of Florida residents use illicit drugs, which equals 1.5 million Floridians. In 2020, Florida (FL) ranked number two in the nation for overdose deaths. As many as 7,579 Floridians died from drug overdose.
Sobriety isn’t easy, but it is necessary and can be life-changing. Gaining control over your substance use disorder is the first step to recovery. However, preventing relapse is also important. With that said, here are four tips that will help prevent relapse and keep you on track.
#1 Know Your Triggers
Having a thorough understanding of your triggers is important. Otherwise, staying on track will become difficult. Once you recognize what triggers your addiction, you will be able to limit exposure to them.
While triggers vary from person to person, HALT is believed to be the most common trigger. HALT stands for hungry, angry, lonely, and tired. In case you experience substance craving, ask yourself whether you’re feeling any of these emotions.
Post-completion of addiction treatment, depression, anxiety, and frustration is common. Such feelings may tempt you to take drugs or alcohol to seek relief. But you mustn’t give in to your temptations.
If walking outside a liquor store leaves you craving for alcohol, change your route. You might also want to consider limiting time with friends who partake in substance use, to help resist your urge to use.
#2 Prioritize Self Care
Taking good care of yourself could be a game-changer in the recovery phase. Eating a healthy and balanced diet is a great way to keep triggers at bay.
Engaging in physical activities like short daily walks are great because exercise boosts feel-good endorphins and reduces stress hormones, fostering relaxation. Ultimately, you will be distracted from cravings.
Other activities like signing up for a writing class or watching the sunrise daily can divert your mind from cravings. Amid all this, don’t forget to catch up on your beauty sleep, as it will help in preventing relapses.
#3 Ask for Help
Did you know that the substance use disorder relapse rate in 2020 was between 40 percent and 60 percent? Yes, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that.
There is a high possibility that you may also encounter a situation where resisting drugs or alcohol would become challenging during the recovery phase. Trying to manage your addiction all by yourself won’t do any good. What do you do then in such situations? Ask for help.
If your aftercare plan doesn’t include therapy, find a therapist on your own. We say so because therapists promote recovery by helping people with addiction manage both physical and psychological factors. A therapist will draft a comprehensive substance abuse treatment program, which would include both pharmacological and therapeutic methods. Besides promoting recovery, such a plan minimizes relapses and manages triggers.
Zencare advises people to seek therapy instead of relying on friends and families. That’s because therapists support and accept their clients the way they are. Further, it goes on to elaborate that therapists can help them develop self-love. That means therapy sessions can help minimize self-critical thoughts and judgments.
The success rate of therapy in drug rehab is the highest in Florida. Research reveals that about 70 percent of people with addiction entering the treatment program complete them successfully.
Ask your friends or families for therapist recommendations. Or, simply search for the “best FL therapist near me,” and you’ll have tons of options on your screen.
#4 Keep Yourself Grounded
Anxiety and stress are the biggest hurdles in the recovery journey. That is why keeping yourself grounded is important. How do you keep yourself grounded, then? By learning the grounding technique, also known as the 5-4-3-2-1 relapse prevention technique.
Through the five senses, addicts are encouraged to focus on the present moment. This helps them avoid thoughts of substance use. Anytime you are unable to resist the urge to drink alcohol or use drugs, follow the grounding technique.
Take a deep breath and do the following:
- Take a look at five objects
- Touch four objects
- Hear three sounds
- Smell two items
- Taste any one eatable
Just as you started the technique with a deep breath, end it the same way. When you focus on your senses, you gain self-awareness. The grounding technique also increases mindfulness, which helps in overcoming negative feelings and thoughts, accomplishing daily tasks, and reducing the risk of relapse.
The Key Takeaway
The path to sobriety is difficult and lengthy, but you must tread on it with patience and perseverance. Having relapse prevention strategies at your disposal will make the journey easy. But you need outside support, too. You can rely on friends and family, but seeking professional help will be the best bet. That’s because professionals will equip you with the skills needed to prevent relapse. If you find resisting drugs or alcohol difficult, seek assistance right away.