If you are in the early days of addiction recovery, then your time will be spent focusing on maintaining your sobriety. At this stage of your journey, you may feel as though you are still on shaky ground and will be very vigilant to the threat of triggers that could send you spiralling back into your old addictive ways.
It is important to stay honest if you want to avoid a relapse as statistics show that dishonesty is often the start of a downward spiral for those who begin taking drugs or alcohol again. If you start denying you have a problem, neglecting your programme, or start to rationalise bad behaviour, you could be in dangerous territory.
Following Your Programme
Most rehabilitation programmes use some elements of 12-step work and encourage patients to attend regular fellowship meetings once they are back living at home. It is imperative that you keep up with this programme now that you are no longer living within the confines of a rehabilitation clinic.
Sticking with the programme will ensure that you stay motivated and continue to work hard on maintaining your sobriety. In addition, if you do feel shaky or are worrying about a relapse, you will have plenty of people to talk to who will be able to keep you on the straight and narrow.
Steer Clear of Mood-Alerting Drugs
This may seem pretty obvious, but it is surprising at how many people are unaware of the dangers of some prescription and over-the-counter medication for those in recovery. Before you take any medication, you should check out the side effects. Even better, you should look for a non-drug alternative for your issue.
The threat of relapse is not just something for those in early recovery to worry about. The truth is that recovering addicts need to be on their guard for the rest of their lives. Recovery is something that must be maintained and worked at indefinitely. Be alert to the following triggers and knowing how to deal with them can help.
When it comes to recovery, it is said that feeling hungry, angry, lonely or tired (HALT) can lead to a relapse, so it is important that recovering addicts learn how to deal with these feelings and avoid them if possible.
- Eating regular healthy meals and snacks will help to prevent hunger and will keep blood sugar levels stable. Those who feel intense hunger may be tempted to satisfy these feelings by reaching for the bottle or their drug of choice.
- Anger is another emotion best avoided if possible as it can act like a mood-altering drug on the brain. If you do feel anger, it is a good idea to talk to someone about it before it gets out of control and sees you taking the wrong path again.
- Loneliness is very dangerous in recovery because it can lead individuals to begin romanticising about their past and days when they were using. If you are spending a lot of time alone and are starting to feel disillusioned with your recovery, you should think about finding things to do to keep you busy. Engaging in group activities or finding a hobby may help you to make new friends and will take your mind off your loneliness.
- Being tired can affect you in a negative way if you are in recovery from addiction. Many recovering addicts try to make up for lost time and often take on more than they can handle in the early days before crashing and burning. Remember that your body is still healing and you need to take it easy. If you work on your recovery, you will have plenty of time for fun and enjoyment with the people you love.
The most important thing for recovering addicts is to be aware of potential triggers and to know how to handle them should they arise.