RELAPSE PREVENTION

CAUSES OF RELAPSE
– stress or anxiety
– sadness or loneliness
– over-confidence
– leading a double life

STAGES OF RELAPSE
– feeling stressed, anxious or sad
– entering high risk situations
– giving yourself permission for a lapse
– allowing a lapse to become a full relapse

PREVENTION OF RELAPSE
– identify your inner warning signs
– identify your high risk situations – people, places, things
– make a plan for avoiding or leaving high risk situations
– structure your free time and access to money, especially on weekends
– check yourself for making excuses or blaming others
– learn new ways of problem-solving
– practice attention-shifting and urge surfing
– build new habits to replace the addiction cycle
– examine your priorities and set new goals
– check yourself for misconceptions about 12 step programs (see here and here)
– consider using relaxation and mindfulness techniques

BENEFITS OF 12 STEP PROGRAMS
– meet people with similar experiences
– see the consequences of the problem in others
– see examples of recovery
– get a sponsor for 1-1 help
– review your life by working the steps

FINDING A 12 STEP GROUP
– try out a number of groups until you find the right one for you
– check the schedules for meetings in your area:
Alcoholics Anonymous
Narcotics Anonymous

POST-ACUTE WITHDRAWAL
– periods of difficulty with mood, sleep, energy and mental focus after physical withdrawal is complete
– symptoms come in waves lasting up to several days and can be a trigger for relapse
ride out the waves with good support and self-care
– see here for more information about craving

Recovery involves nothing shorter than a complete change in your life, but relapse prevention is a matter of paying attention to warning signs and avoiding triggers. Rather than trying to bargain with yourself, the best way to resist a craving is to not open the question.

SEE ALSO:
– An ACT Workbook For Overcoming Substance Abuse
– Ageing Out of Drugs
– How Big Pharma Is Cashing in on Addiction to Alcohol and Illicit Drugs