Nothing – absolutely nothing – can force you to drink alcohol or abuse drugs again. While that’s true, chances are you’ll experience some stressful life events that sure will tempt you.
Have a fight with your spouse or parents? Did your boss unfairly reprimand you? Maybe (and this one sucks) you had to make the decision to put your beloved dog or cat to sleep. When stressful events occur, that voice in your head begins to taunt you; it tells you that it’s okay to drink a beer or smoke a joint. After all, you need a little something to take the edge off…right?
Every day, the lives of recovering addicts and innocent bystanders are tragically snuffed out, thanks to that internal voice encouraging us to indulge our drug of choice “just one more time.”
Lessons from the Past
When you find yourself in stressful or negative situations, it’s vital that you stay strong!
In group therapy, listen to the experiences of many, many others who have walked in your shoes. Listen, not for comparison sake – one person’s sad story is no better or worse than anyone else’s – but for how the person walked through the tempting time and kept his or her sobriety intact.
Anyone who has made it through the early years of recovery knows that dealing with life on life’s terms isn’t easy. But each time you successfully walk through an emotional situation that triggers using thoughts, you grow more resilient for the next time.
What Triggers a Relapse?
Old-timers will tell you that it’s usually not life’s tragedies that cause a person to relapse. We tend to think that it’s a loved one’s death or a job loss or a catastrophic act of nature that send us back to the bottle.
In reality, relapse is more likely a build-up of smaller, untended situations so that when your shoelace breaks, so do you.
Don’t let that scenario play out!
Take Matters into Your Own Hands
No one else is responsible for your recovery, so it’s up to you to be diligent. Ultimately, you can read and learn all you want about how to stay sober, but actually doing it is up to you, says Dr. Howard Samuels.
Look, you’ve made it this far. The last thing you want to do is throw all that hard work out the window.
Your sobriety is far too precious to let anything get in its way. Always remember that you are worthy of recovery; you deserve the opportunity to experience a productive, happy and fulfilling life. By recognizing your own self-worth and acknowledging your value as a human being, you quickly become comfortable in your own skin.
Here are some relapse prevention tips that will help you stay on the right track and keep your sobriety intact:
- Flex your willpower muscles
- Be proactive
- Maintain a positive attitude
- Live in the moment
- Stay active in therapy
- Have patience with yourself and others
- Establish and maintain a regular sleep pattern
- Avoid being around alcohol and drugs
- Realize that your symptoms (feelings) are normal
- Stay connected with people who really know you and know your triggers
Learn more about extended recovery programs and how they can help solidify your sobriety.
Image Source: Flickr/gail m tang, commons.wikimedia.org,