Relapse, as it pertains to recovery, refers to the process of someone who is in recovery from addiction gradually falling back into their old habits after a period of sobriety. Some who suffer from addiction may relapse multiple times before being able to stay abstinent from drugs and alcohol long term.
Relapse doesn’t have to happen, but if it does, don’t give up. See it as a learning experience and see how fast you can get back on track. There are some tools you can use to help you to avoid relapsing during your journey through recovery.
The first one is to change people, places and things. This simply means to stay away from environments where you used to drink or use drugs. You have an association in your mind with certain friends and areas where you used to hang out that may remind you of using and drinking. These environmental factors are called “triggers” because they can activate an urge to pick up a drink or a drug.
Another preventive measure you can take through your journey through recovery is to tell on yourself. When you find yourself thinking about having a drink or getting high, talk about it with someone right away. Once you have voiced the desire out loud and another person knows about it, the obsession may lose some of its power.
Finally, surround yourself with positive people who are supportive of your efforts to succeed in your battle with substance abuse. You need living examples of how to lead a sober lifestyle.
Remember, recovery is a journey, not a destination.
Laurel Sullivan, Medical Technician