4 Ways Of Avoiding Relapse And Living A Drug-Free Life

Anyone who has lived through the horrors of addiction can understand the fear of a relapse. It takes almost everything you have to get your life back together, making this fear quite natural.

The numbers don’t seem to help either, as research suggests 4 in 5 Americans relapse, with over 30% within the initial months of recovery.

So, what gives? Many factors conspire to wreak havoc on our clarity and put our lesser natures back in command of our actions.

If we don’t want to repeat the same mistakes and go through the same devastation that brought us to recovery in the first place, we have to put in some serious work. Here are some things to be mindful of to avoid relapsing:

1. See Relapse For What It Is

One of the biggest mistakes any addict makes is to view relapse as an isolated event that comes to pass due to personal failure. Active addiction is a disease of perception, and the chances are that these kinds of thoughts are not yours.

If you find your internal monologue shifting to a harsh tone that seeks to punish and belittle you, it may be time to take a deeper look. You can go at it alone or with experts, such as pbinstitute.com, who can help you sort through the confusion.

You need to remember two main things about relapse:

  1. Using our drug of choice is never something that ‘just happens.’ It is the last stop in a sequence of events. Suppose you examine the preceding few weeks or months before relapse.

In that case, you will often find telltale signs that it would occur. Perhaps you stopped working a good program of recovery. Maybe you hadn’t been to a meeting in a while or never spoke with your sponsor.

You could’ve let stress build-up at work or let resentments go unexpressed, or it may all just be a matter of self-will trying to rear its ugly head and derail your life again.

Spending some time focusing on your habits, thoughts, and actions may help you see without prejudice and identify the root cause of the relapse.

  • It is part of the journey of recovery. No addict who has managed to stay clean for an extended period has done so perfectly, and you shouldn’t expect yourself to either.

Having found recovery once cannot free you of your human shortcomings. So you need to see relapse as a chapter in your recovery story rather than an abnegation of it. Take a breather, find your base, and keep moving forward.

2. Recommit To Your Recovery

The best way to avoid relapse is to get back on the recovery bandwagon. Here’s how you can go about this effectively:

  1. Stop using. As long as the drugs are in your system, they will poison your mind, body, and spirit. It is therefore crucial that you give yourself a chance to heal. Throw away paraphernalia, block and delete your dealer’s phone number, and either enlist the help of a trusted friend or check into rehab to detox.

This process may range from mildly irritating to excruciating, depending on how you relapsed. Use cold showers, meditate for hours, or howl at the moon if you have to.

Just hold on and keep doing what you can to stay clean. Your efforts will not go to waste.

Find a home base. You shouldn’t work your way out of a relapse alone. If you had a home group in your recovery fellowship, return to it, or find a new one, whether in your rehab facility or nearest church.

In a post-COVID-19 world, online options are available for conducting meetings. This way, you will rediscover the joys of being valued and accepted for who you are by people who genuinely understand your pains. Who knows – you may even make great new friends in the process?

Get a sponsor and get to work. Working the steps of your recovery program with a sponsor will expose all the hurtful and limiting beliefs that have crept up in your psyche and help you heal.

Get back into calling your sponsor without apprehension or hesitation – it can save your sanity and life.

3. Heal Holistically

Relapsing doesn’t just fill you with guilt and shame but can also trigger neglectful and unhealthy habits that weigh down your spirit.

You may have been eating unhealthily, gobbling down on fast food at odd hours, not exercising, or taking time to do things that bring you joy.

To avoid relapsing, it is time you take a good, hard look at your life and heal in every which way you can.

Make sure you eat a balanced diet free of fried foods and rich in antioxidants, probiotics, and fiber. Antioxidants will help speed up detox and benefit your liver, lungs, and heart to return you to a state of wellbeing.

Probiotics and fiber will improve your gut health, reducing the physical pains of restarting recovery, enhancing your mood, and leaving you with a more positive outlook.

Finding time to exercise and indulge in joyful hobbies will help you reestablish trust with yourself and save you from the detriments of low self-esteem.

Remember that addiction is a disease that finds us at our lowest and most vulnerable points. So, fortify yourself with mindful activities like Tai-Chi, Yoga, and Wim Hof breathing technique. Paint, sculpt, sing or join a drum circle to bring yourself to the here and now and counter the anxiety threatening to derail your progress.

4. Take It One Day At A Time

It may be worth your time to remember that you didn’t get addicted in a single day so that you won’t be completely free of its grasp quickly either.

Try to move forward in your journey with grace and compassion, letting yourself know that you are cared for, loved, and respected.

Empathy towards your inner-self may mean different things. It may mean running 2 miles one day and simply cleaning your house on other ones.

It may mean repeating positive affirmations through clenched teeth until they sink in or letting yourself weep until you begin to feel whole again.

Just realize that you will avoid relapsing as long as you continue to move forward. Every small step you take will count in the long run, so free yourself from unrealistic standards and go as slow as you need to.

The hardest won lessons last the longest, so start making one change at a time today.

Final Thoughts

Relapsing can be scary, but you can move forward from it and ensure you never have to turn to drugs again. This will require some soul-searching on your part. Make sure you take time to see why you relapsed. Then, find a way to get back to recovery.

Build healthy habits to serve you well, and remember to go at your own pace. Whether you do this with trusted friends and loved ones or rehab, make sure you find your tribe.

Go to meetings, get a sponsor, and work the steps. With these few steps, you will be able to live a drug-free, happy life before you know it.

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