Many people around the world struggle from addiction and it takes a lot of courage to begin the treatment process. Within that process it takes your whole heart and soul to come out the other side clean, going through various types of therapy and uncovering the root of a problem, whether it be with alcohol, drugs, gambling or anything else.
Rehab is one of the best places to go to enter the recovery phase successfully, but even then, many people who struggle with addiction will relapse. It’s why many treatment centres like UKAT have extensive rehab aftercare programmes.
“Falling off the wagon” isn’t uncommon, and it’s all about understanding what triggers those moments and temptations that will ultimately help in ensuring that treatment is a success over the remainder of your life.
Often you’ll find a series of key trigger points that can lead to relapse, and they are ones the vast majority of people face…
Naturally, stress is up there with the most common. Stress is one of the most common ways people become addicted, and one of the biggest when it comes to relapse too. Avoiding stress is vital in the early stages of recovery and alongside these methods should be in place on how to deal with it.
By avoiding as many stressful situations as possible, combined with coping mechanisms that aren’t drugs or alcohol will ensure you can stay on track with your recovery. You can avoid stressful situations through a range of ways, which include:
- Removing anything that was causing stress from your life: For example, work, groups of friends etc.
- Meditation and Yoga: These activities are great for calming the mind and allowing you to focus clearly on anything you do find stressful, in order to tackle efficiently.
- Exercise: Exercise will release endorphins and again clear the mind to tackle and prevent stress.
- Balanced Diet: A healthy diet equals a healthy mind and there are a number of food sources that can provide you with nutrients to better deal and cope with stress.
2. People and Places
There will be places and people in your life that you’ll associate with your addiction. In many cases they will have been contributing factors in what got you addicted in the first place. Upon leaving rehab it’s important to leave those aspects of your life behind to start afresh. That can mean leaving particularly social circles and forming new ones.
Instead create new, healthier ways to spend your time and find new hobbies, support groups and interests that will fill the void of those people and places who perhaps had a negative influence on your life.
Among the best hobbies you can take up to find a healthier way to manage and pass your time, include:
- Volunteering: Joining volunteer groups are great for becoming part of a new community while also giving back to those that need it most. There are tons of ways in which you can volunteer, whether it be for events, charities or anything else. Ultimately, find something you love, and figure out a way to get involved.
- Sports Teams: Being part of a team is a great way to find new friends as well as take up a hobby you love.
- Classes: Equally, classes have the same effect and that could be anything from dancing to pottery, to languages, cookery or anything else. You’ll find great little community groups where you can become part of a new social circle as well as learn new skills.
3. Times of Celebration
When you leave rehab, you’ll still want to celebrate people’s birthdays or that new job your partner or friend has got. Despite being happy and in control, celebrations can often find you vulnerable.
At celebrations for example, the champagne may be flowing and while you may have no real craving for alcohol, the sights and sounds of the bottle popping could be enough to tip the balance and cause relapse.
By making people aware of your addiction and recovery, people will be able to support and keep you on the right path.
When it comes to celebrations, there are ways in which you can aid in avoiding relapse, which includes:
- Take your own drink: Take your own non-alcoholic drinks so you won’t be offered a drink and can ensure you always have a full glass in your hand to avoid the question.
- Be honest: Just tell people why you’re not drinking or taking drugs or whatever it may be. People will respect you are in recovery.
- Have a safe space/exit plan: If it begins to get too much for you, have a space you can go to clear your head or an option for leaving the celebration and getting home.
4. Challenging Emotions
Similarly to stress, there are points in your life where you will feel negative for one reason or another. It’s part and parcel of life. However, a big part of staying in recovery is managing those emotions.
To do that you need to be comfortable in feeling such emotions. The likes of alcohol and drugs only form a temporary relief and understanding that will keep you on the straight and narrow.
You can help stay on top of such emotions by partaking in the same sort of activities as relieving stress, while it can also be useful to talk to someone, who will be able to help you get through those emotions.
By reaching out and verbalising your emotions, you’re much more likely to manage them and understand them, while other people can help you reason and rationalise your emotions, finding a solution, making you feel better and managing emotion in future.
Negative emotion can come through all sorts of instances. The death of family or friends is naturally at one end of the scale, while breakups, bad days at work, even news events can all affect our emotions.
The answer isn’t relapse though, and by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and having coping mechanisms, you will be able to stay on track.