Negotiating with Addiction: Relapse and Recovery
Encountering hurdles is inevitable, it’s how you conquer them that counts
Those who are plagued with an addiction often face a long-term struggle, and seeking addiction treatment is a brave choice that puts you on the road to recovery. However, staying away from the source of the addiction is not an easy task, and relapse is not uncommon. It’s important to enter a treatment program with a realistic mindset; while your addiction can be managed, an effort will still be required after treatment to avoid relapse, and even then many addicts do slip up before they finally find long-term sobriety. In order to go out into the world and lead a productive and healthy life, it’s best to strengthen your mind, body, and spirit.
Handling Relapse Triggers
When entering back into life after treatment, the environment may be one of the hardest obstacles to continuing a successful recovery. Environmental triggers can include a social circle that is centered on drug use, daily stress, or actual brain chemistry that leads to psychological disorders such as anxiety and depression that draw many to abuse substances in the first place.
Admitting that these triggers are present in your life, and that some will not go away, is helpful when trying to stay strong and drug free. They can help you identify situations and influences which you need to be vigilant in avoiding as you recover.
While most people in your life will probably root for you to succeed in your recovery, many may underestimate just how difficult it is to avoid relapse. It is important to be around people who you can be honest with about this struggle, and let them know the time may come when you will need their help.
While you can’t expect others to stop their own use of substances, especially alcohol, just because you did doesn’t mean that some of your friends and family won’t be willing to refrain from use in your presence — especially in the early stages. Continuing with counseling both alone and with family members can also help you keep you addiction in check by making you feel more accountable to yourself and to others and improving your self esteem.
Recognize a Stumble Before It Becomes a Fall
Sometimes relapses just happen before you have a chance to brace yourself. Maybe someone handed you a glass of wine or champagne at a party, and you found yourself drinking out of reflex. The trigger to drink even more or go back into your addiction can be especially strong. It is these times when you need to reach out to your resources as soon as possible. This might mean calling a supportive friend, attending an AA meeting, or even reentering an addiction treatment program if necessary. The sooner you face up to the relapse, the sooner your recovery can resume.
Aim For a Well Rounded Healthy Lifestyle
Often, addiction happens in the first place because of existing problems in your neurochemistry. Those who are prone to various psychological disorders, including anxiety, depression, and different types of psychosis often face a more difficult recovery. Using everything in your “toolbox” can help. This includes:
- A Spiritual Anchor
Practicing your spirituality through whatever means is comfortable and meaningful to you, whether that is prayer, meditation, yoga, or religious services you will be reminded that no matter how difficult things are, you can find the strength to carry on.
- Regular Exercise
Exercising regularly not only makes you stronger and reduces the risk of many health problems, but it can bring structure to your life as a sense of routine. Committing yourself to something good for you that makes you feel good about yourself can reduce the urge to repeat addictive behaviors or help you find the strength to bounce back after relapse
- A Healthy Diet
Drugs and alcohol are not the only things that can bring on unnatural highs and lows. Eating the wrong food can have a similar effect. Excess sugar and fat don’t just pack on the pounds, they can cause your mood to change drastically in a short amount of time.