How can someone avoid addiction relapse? By knowing and planning for the stages of relapse: emotional, mental, and physical. Self-care is the biggest step toward emotional healing and sobriety. It may sound like jargon, but it’s actually a meticulous therapeutic process made up of lots of small, calculated steps. When you’re stressed, frustration, or distraught, you can’t really think, and when you can’t think, you certainly can’t act – or at least be productive. Recovery is an uphill battle which requires constant kinetic energy from the addict. If you want to heal, you have to believe in two things: the payoff of the recovery process and your ability to reach the end. In a sense, the process of starting recovery is a journey in itself; for some people, it’s an even harder journey than what’s to come. Recovery officially “begins” when we lay out specific goals and vow to achieve them.
Relapse prevention is a long, drawn-out process for which you must remain armed, vigilant, and enthusiastic for months, sometimes years to come. Cravings are unpredictable, which is why you need a safety net of tools, techniques, and coping mechanisms to get through them. If you become unmanageably angry, anxious, frustrated, or moody, you need to inform someone–a counselor, a psychiatrist, a doctor, or a sponsor–and keep them up to date on how you’re feeling and how you’re doing. Then you need to turn to your methods of self-care to return to center and create a new state of calm. Many early signs of emotional-relapse are also triggered in their own right: poor diet, poor sleeping habits, poor meeting/activity attendance, etc. When you’re not working on emotional growth, you should be working on refining your behavioral patterns. Treatment for addiction is often a balance of both efforts, helping you live a well-rounded, independent life.
The addict’s brain is a battlefield. Some battles will go well – you’ll simply shake off the urge to use – but others will be more treacherous. You’ll fantasize about the drugs. You’ll miss the drug-using friends. Before you know it, you’ll catch yourself planning a relapse. Ultimately, though, you will be victorious if you stand your ground and use what you’ve learned to stay in recovery.
If you don’t intervene with the relapse process, it can catch up to you, in the blink of an eye. Once that happens, you’ve officially broken your sobriety, but that doesn’t mean the war is over, though—just this battle. If you slip, you can catch yourself. Your cravings may have returned with full ferocity, but you’re more capable of handling them now that you’ve been through so much of the recovery process. You can put down the drink or the drug in full recognition of what has occurred and walked away. That lifestyle isn’t yours, anymore. The more frustrated you feel, the further along you probably were. Your reasons for going sober make just as much sense now as they did before, so don’t abandon ship!
Oceanfront Recovery is a residential addiction treatment center for men offering a continuum of care in addition to specialized programs for executives. From our beautiful oceanfront location in Laguna, California, men learn that when they change their story from addiction to recovery, they change their lives. For information, call us today: 877.279.1777