No matter where you are on your recovery journey, the use of healthy relapse prevention tactics is becoming something you do several times a day. Of course, everyone’s road to long-term abstinence looks different. No matter your story, there are some foundational relapse prevention tips that you can build into your life structure to support your recovery.
Let’s explore 5 Relapse Prevention Tips you can use in 2021 and beyond.
- Creating Healthy Habits
- Acceptance and Change
- Self Care and Personal Hygiene
- Awareness and Mindfulness
- Seek Support
Healthy Habits For Relapse Prevention
Like those mentioned above, your ability to create healthy habits is how you strengthen the foundation of long-term sobriety. Changing your daily routines that trigger the urge to use is the priority—as is changing daily habits just to become a healthier person inside and out.
Science says it can take anywhere from 18 up to 254 days for a person to form a new habit. It takes an average of 66 days for a new behavior to become automatic. Remember to be easy on yourself, especially when trying to implement new routines. Even if you slip up (Link to Relapse vs. lapse), it’s the genuine effort and determination to return to your goal that will get you there.
Acceptance and Change
Prevention of relapse depends on your ability to effectively navigate the extremes of both acceptance and change. ‘Acceptance’ includes recognizing that there are things beyond your control and recognizing your struggle with the disease itself. Harnessing the power of ‘Change’ highlights your determination to develop yourself to align more with your goal.
A large part of acceptance requires the understanding that the threat of relapse is always looming. It can occur at any point during the recovery process. Acknowledging that you can only change what lies within your power gives serenity in progressing forward. When you choose not to focus on things that upset or disturb you and instead accept them, you can refocus on what you can change for the better.
Personal acceptance of behaviors and personality traits are necessary to improve and grow. Once in recovery, having a healthy self-image is essential to maintaining long-term abstinence. Part of that healthy self-image is practicing self-acceptance and self-development on a macro-level. As a relapse prevention tactic, someone in recovery must be able to, inside and out, see themselves as a good person who is making progress with the capability to control their reactions.
Self Care and Personal Hygiene
While creating a healthier self-image, increased attention to self-care becomes a major priority. Taking the time to develop and maintain a routine that includes many types of varying self-care practices will add to the likelihood of continued sobriety. Staying healthy improves your emotional state, which can, in turn, prevent relapse. Everyone’s self-care plan will be a little different, but there are some foundational elements.
While in recovery (and beyond), an individual should have a healthy diet, get adequate rest, engage in physical activities, and observe a high level of personal hygiene. By eating healthier and resting more, you receive more energy for physical activity and even experience increased emotional awareness. By maintaining a high level of personal hygiene, the body increases the “feel good” emotions that create a better self-image with higher confidence and determination. The positive feedback loop that takes place when “taking care of your body makes you feel good” and “feeling good makes everything better” is a no brainer.
Awareness and Mindfulness
In relapse prevention, awareness and mindfulness make up prominent parts of your self-care practice. Generally, being aware of your triggers and being tuned in to your surroundings requires mindfulness. For years, mindfulness meditation practices have been teaching individuals in recovery to become more self-aware—a useful relapse prevention tool. The more self-aware one is, the better one can cope with potential triggers that could lead to relapse.
Common Relapse Triggers :
- Money problems
- Relationship issues
- Certain sights and smells
- Certain people or places
- Falling into old habits
- Powerful emotions
Mindfulness increases one’s presence in the current moment. Indirectly and directly, this can reduce anxiety, depression, fear, and other trauma symptoms. The act of staying present does not come easy to most, which is why it takes effort to enact and for it to become everyday practice. Breathwork is another tool for mindfulness and increased awareness. Incorporating meditative practices to suit your needs will be one of the most enlightening and helpful relapse prevention methods.
Seek Support For Relapse Prevention
Avoiding relapse is more manageable when surrounded by a devoted support team. Even if you don’t feel you have a team, finding others to relate to in times of need could be lifesaving. A person in recovery can find the help they need from various participants in their support team. Whether from family members, friends, therapists, organizations like AA, religious groups, and recovery groups, many people want to see you succeed. The critical factor is being aware of and seeking that support.
The Haven at Pismo is a private treatment center for those needing a safe and serene setting to renew to their best. If you or someone you know needs support in their recovery, we currently offer the only detox and residential treatment on the Central Coast of California.