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Being Aware of the Risk of Relapse

When you are in recovery, you are going to be concerned about the risk of relapse; because of this, you will need to change certain aspects of your life. You may have to change those individuals you hang about with and the places you go to. It will also be necessary to look out for certain things that you associate with drinking or drug taking.

Places

Daily routines are commonly linked to places we go and things we do there. For example, most people will head to the bathroom as soon as they wake up to have a wash and brush their teeth. This is something done automatically.

For many recovering addicts, routines are something that will have to be considered and possibly changed. Many alcoholics would not dream of drinking alcohol when they wake up (although some will) and they will go to work and last the whole day without drinking. However, upon getting home in the evening, they may head straight to the fridge for a bottle of wine or beer.

Likewise, a drug addict may take drugs every weekend when they are at a specific bar or club. It is important, therefore, that recovering addicts avoid the places or change the routines that they associate with alcohol or drugs. Circumventing places where alcohol is served is wise, especially in the early days. It is a good idea to get into the habit of going to places where alcohol and drugs are not found, such as the library, gym or a museum.

People

While it is vital to avoid certain locations during the early days of recovery, it is just as important to avoid certain people. You may have a group of friends that you drank or took drugs with, so staying away from this crowd will help you keep your sobriety on track. It is equally important to consider your online presence and who you are socialising with there. It would be a good idea to set up new profiles on social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram. Stick to friends you consider ‘safe’, as this is the best way to avoid any temptations.

Things

Avoiding certain individuals and places is common sense in early recovery, but you have more to think of than that. You need to think about certain things that could trigger a relapse and avoid them if possible. For example, advertisements on the TV for beer or wine could be enough to trigger a craving so if they come on, change the channel or leave the room. Adverts for alcohol typically show people enjoying themselves, which can bring up memories that may make you think drinking alcohol was all good. The ads never show the negative side of drinking such as the bad hangovers, aggressive behaviour, or the realisation the morning after that you have done something inappropriate while intoxicated.

Particular music on the radio or TV can also act as a trigger. You may hear a song that you associate with times spent in a club drinking or taking drugs, and this can also stir up memories of the ‘good’ old days. It is better to switch these tunes off and listen to an entirely different style of music for the time being.

Loose powder-like substances such as flour, sugar or baking soda can be enough to remind recovering drug addicts of cocaine, so make sure you never pour them onto a table or work surface. If you need to use them, pour them directly into the food you are preparing and then put them away again.

Just some common sense and a few simple steps are enough to help protect your recovery and avoid potential relapse.

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