After an intervention takes place, the subject of the intervention is expected to go to rehab and complete their addiction treatment. After rehab, most family members and friends of the addict expect that he or she is now clean and ready to stay in long-term recovery. However, that’s not always the case because rehab, recovery, and sobriety are not always set in a linear path. Some addicts are able to attend rehab, recover, and then continue living a sober life while others may relapse many times. Recovery often follows a cycle of waxing and waning, just like substance use and abuse. Trying to piece together a sober lifestyle is very difficult after treatment and some people will need help getting back on the right track.
Most addictions are both physical and psychological. In order to break the physical addiction, the addict will need to (1) abstain from all drug use and (2) go to a detox treatment center to safely rid their body of the toxins found in most drugs and alcohol. Unfortunately, breaking the physical addiction is only the first step. The next step, often the most difficult step, is breaking the psychological addiction. This article, Five Ways to Avoid Addiction Relapse, provides many hints and tips for the recovering addict.
The first step in the article is to avoid tempting situations. These are situations where drugs and alcohol can be found. For example, if you’re a newly recovering alcoholic you should avoid bars and parties where there will be alcohol. Sometimes these instances can’t be avoided, but a strong effort should be made to leave as soon as possible. Bring a sympathetic or sober friend to help you avoid the temptation to drink or use drugs.
The second step is to develop a positive network including family and friends who will support you and your recovery. You know that friend who says, “Just take one drink! It won’t hurt you!”? Yeah it’s time to cut that friend loose. Severing unhealthy relationships and ties to people who still abuse drugs and alcohol is a necessary step to avoid relapse. The third step is to create a schedule or routine even before leaving treatment as a way to avoid returning to old habits. Using drugs or alcohol takes up a lot of time. You have to find the drugs from a dealer, purchase the drugs, use them, and then still have some time to recover from the drugs. You’re sober now, so you have to fill up that time with new, healthy activities. Get a job, pick up a new hobby, or rediscover your love for an old hobby. Just keep yourself busy so you aren’t tempted to use.
The last two steps require no planning – just willpower and perseverance. The recovering addict needs to avoid becoming too comfortable or complacent in their recovery. Over time, the motivation to stay sober diminishes and some people may believe that they don’t to stay vigilant. However, until you find the right combination of treatment, meetings, and therapy, you will need to remain extra vigilant to avoid falling into old patterns and using again.
The last step is a great reminder for anyone in recovery. Don’t beat yourself up over a relapse! They happen, more often than you may believe. If you relapse, you are not a failure. Get back on the recovery track by going back to treatment or counseling. Try to work through the issues that led to the relapse. You got sober once and you can do it again. You just have to continue trying.