Best Ways to Avoid Relapses in Addiction
If you or a loved one struggle with addiction, you’re not alone. Currently, over 21 million Americans struggle with addiction according to the American Association of Medical Colleges. Furthermore, 40-60% of people who have sought out professional help have reported relapsing after recovery. What’s even more unsettling about these staggering statistics is that addiction and relapses are on the rise with a 13% increase in addiction-related cases since last year according to the Center of Disease Control.
In light of these disturbing facts and figures, now more than ever it’s essential to have backup plans in place in order to avoid addiction relapse. For instance, if you suffer from addiction, the first step is to have the contact information of an addiction helpline readily available during those moments of need. Having a professional to speak with during those dire times when nothing seems to make sense or when everything is all wrong is the first step to avoiding serious relapse. Here are a few other life-saving ways to avoid relapses in addiction.
Tackle Cravings Head On
As mentioned, an addiction helpline is your first, best defense against relapsing into addiction. Another profound aspect of avoiding backsliding into substance abuse is to recognize triggers and tackle them head on. Firstly, identify why you are having a craving. Next understand that cravings typically only last from anywhere to two to twenty minutes. Knowing this, try to wait out urges as best you can by distracting yourself.
We realize that when in the throes of a substance craving, a few minutes can seem like an eternity. Therefore, try engaging in distractions such as helping out at a community center. Helping others has a powerful way of pulling yourself out of your addictive traps by assisting others with their problems.
You might also get engaged in a favorite hobby, take a bicycle ride, do some gardening – there are a million other things you can do to coast through that wave of cravings and avoid having a relapse. Just remember that cravings are temporary. Distracting yourself with deeply satisfying activities that engage your mind and body is one of the best ways to avoid succumbing to a relapse.
Remember What it Was Like Before
They say hindsight is 20/20 – meaning that your vision looking into your past is perhaps the clearest sight you may have. This is especially true if you are struggling with addiction. Looking back at your darkest, worst moments when you were under the influence can be an intense reminder as to why you must not relapse (and why you quit in the first place).
Recall some of the painful mistakes made or people you might have hurt while under the influence of substances. Then think about how much better your life is now in recovery. As you recollect your quality of life before and after recovery, you will fully realize that a relapse is perhaps one of the worst things that could happen to you.
Keep in mind, looking to your past to remind you of what you don’t want for your life is not an exercise in self-guilting. Instead, it’s simply a coping mechanism to motivate you not to use or drink again.
It’s not meant to make you beat yourself up over past failures. This is about getting a clear vision about the truth of knowing there is life after addiction. The act of remembering how it was before helps you understand you have power to make better choices to respect yourself and others by not going back to the way things were with a relapse.
Practice Radical Self-Care
If you think about it, recognizing the signs of addiction is only half the battle in the war against addiction. Recovery and staying sober is really the endgame, and it’s something that is a lifelong journey. That’s why self-care is crucial for avoiding relapses. When you know you have an issue with addiction, it’s vital to take extra special care of yourself. Eat healthy, drink plenty of water and get regular exercise. These three things are miracle workers on your path to staying sober.
You can take your self-care routine a step further by establishing a strong support group in your life by surrounding yourself with others who love and care for you. Additionally, take time to indulge in things you love to do – whether it’s a hobby, taking time to travel, or painting landscapes – the more you purposefully make time to do what you love, the better your chances are to avoid a relapse.