Relapse is a common side effect of initial recovery. You want to get better and not give in to these triggers to drugs you are experiencing, but you go back to bad habits because you do not know how to control these triggers. It is important to come up with a plan on what to do when you face the three stages of relapse so that it never happens again.
Emotional relapse is when you may not be thinking about using, but your emotions are getting the best of you. You may be feeling anxiety, anger, isolation, and mood swings. This can make you not want to ask for help if you are experiencing withdrawal or showing up to 12 step meetings. If you are not taking better care of yourself, it means that your eating and sleeping habits are suffering. This stage will occur before a person is even aware that they are in danger of relapse. Luckily, this is an early stage of relapse which will make it easier to climb back from.
In mental relapse, you feel like you are constantly debating yourself. There is a part of you that wants to go back to your drug use, but another part of you knows how important it is to continue with recovery. Earlier in this phase, you are just thinking lightly about using. Later in this phase, you would be thinking much harder about using. You go back to the memories you had of the places you were using at and the friends you were with all in a glamorized matter. This can lead to you lying to others about how you are feeling during your recovery and planning your relapse when you know everyone else will be busy. As the temptation gets stronger, making the right choices will become even harder.
If you do not do anything to prevent relapse from occurring, this is when the physical phase occurs. This is the stage where you start making efforts to go back to bad habits like driving to your dealer. You may just be thinking that you are only using just this once to make yourself feel better. The truth is that it only takes one time to break your sobriety and have multiple moments after that where you use. Once you enter this stage, you need to go back into treatment as soon as possible.
Drugs were a way for you to escape all of your negative emotions. For example, drugs may have been there for you whenever you needed to relax. You could also be thinking about the people and places that you have a habit of visiting back when you continued using. Since these people and places were such a big part of your life, you may not be ready to give them up. You could also be living in an area where you are constantly surrounded by drugs or alcohol and it is too hard to look away. Even when you celebrate, you are used to substance abuse as a way to enjoy yourself. The most important thing to think about when you are experiencing these triggers is that while these drugs may have made you feel good in the short-term, these drugs have a way of ruining your life in the long-term.
What To Do for Relapse Prevention
First, start recognizing certain behaviors about yourself. Recognize how you are isolating yourself and need to seek help as well as your anxiety, eating, and sleeping habits. Not changing your behavior will leave you emotionally drained which will make you want to find an escape in drugs or alcohol. Take better care of yourself by thinking about why you use in the first place. If you took better care of yourself, you would not feel any need to use drugs or alcohol to help you feel better.
Think really hard about the fantasy you have when you get these mental urges. You normally follow through with them, abuse drugs or alcohol, and then you feel terrible about it later. Keep thinking about all of the times you have followed through your mental urges and how you have felt after. You may have thought that since you have gotten away with lying about your addiction in the past, no one will know about your relapse. You will follow through with your recovery if you think about all of the negative things that have happened to you before. Whenever you have an urge to use, call a friend or a sponsor to talk you down and help you no longer feel alone. You can also go to a meeting, knit, color or do anything else that will occupy your time. After half an hour of occupying yourself with healthy activities, the mental urge will be gone.
Most importantly, it is important to make changes to your routine. This means cleaning your house of any drugs or alcohol in any rooms you have them as well as hiding places that you keep them. Delete the numbers of your friends who use drugs on your phone as well as drug dealers. Avoid visiting bars or hanging around where drug dealers go. By speaking to someone about your stressors and any negative feelings you are experiencing, you will have an easier recovery knowing you do not have an urge to use.
Located on the shore of Southern New Jersey, Enlightened Solutions is a recovery center that uses evidence-based therapies and holistic healing to treat addiction and mental illness. With the opportunity to learn about therapies that are keyed in to healing the human spirit and learning about new stress-reducing techniques centered around a 12 step network, you will ensure a lasting recovery. For more information, please call us at 833-801-LIVE as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.