Tips to Prevent a Relapse

In this blog, we will be giving advice on possible ways to prevent a relapse in order to help your recovery journey and live a happy addiction-free life. Taking one day at a time, recovery is a process. Unfortunately, at any stage of this recovery journey though, there is a risk of a relapse. We hope the tips in this blog can help prevent this relapse.

There are many things that can trigger a relapse from boredom, stress in life, financial problems, relationship problems, anger and even certain sights and smells. The last few months in particular have been particularly challenging to those in recovery due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, and the trials and tribulations this brought with it. There is a misperception that the advice on ways to prevent a relapse should only be followed when the individual has the desire to use their drug of choice. However, we believe these tips can be used daily to reduce the risk of a relapse.

Below are just some tips to help prevent a relapse during recovery:

Taking Care of Yourself

A combination of eating a well-balanced diet, exercising daily and having a structured sleeping pattern can all help reduce the risk of a relapse. It is common for individuals to suffer from insomnia and extreme tiredness when recovering, which can trigger a relapse. Taking care of yourself in these ways will help you feel better both physically and mentally and should help you sleep better.

HALT (Hungry, Angry, Lonely & Tired)

HALT is an abbreviation for Hungry, Angry, Lonely & Tired. These are all common triggers for many individuals in recovery. If you find yourself having a craving, or small desire to use or even just not feeling right in yourself, go through HALT in your head. Ask yourself are you feeling any of these symptoms and if you are, try your best to deal with it to help solve the symptom. If you’re hungry eat something. If you’re angry remove yourself from the situation, take deep breaths and if possible, do some physical exercise. If you’re lonely pick up the phone and call or visit a friend or loved on. Finally, if you’re tired try to relax and get some sleep. By going over HALT in your head and identifying if you have any of these symptoms can help prevent a relapse.

Being Aware of your Triggers

Triggers are completely different for every individual, so it’s important you identify your own personal triggers. They can be an internal emotion or feeling such as stress, frustration, anger, anxiety, irritability or low confidence. A relapse can also be triggered externally by a person, a place, a smell, or just something that reminds you of using in the past. Making a list and being aware of your internal and external triggers can help prevent or reduce the risk of a relapse.

Join a Support Group

Joining a support group can prevent the feelings of isolation or loneliness, common triggers for relapse. It can also help knowing that the other people there know exactly what you are going through and understand the way your feeling, something that isn’t always the case with friends or loved ones. All clients that complete Tabor Group’s Primary & Secondary treatment are recommended to attend our Continuing Care group weekly for 52 weeks. Continuing Care Groups are facilitated by two experienced facilitators. The facilitators use a blend of skills that include: the ability to listen, to create an appropriate safe space for clients to talk freely, and the ability to respectfully manage varying group dynamics. Participants that have completed one year in a continuing care group have the option of joining a second-year continuing care group for a further twelve months. We understand that addiction is a lifelong condition, and this is why we continue to support clients after they have completed their treatment with us. We consider aftercare essential to reduce the risk of a relapse after our patients have returned to their homes.

Take Deep Breaths

Breathing is connected to essential functions throughout your body and effects our brain chemistry. Of course, breathing is pivotal to life, but changing or controlling your breathing can have a substantial influence on your life. Breathing can affect your emotions and your overall mood, which is why deep breathing is essential to an individual’s mental health, particularly when in recovery. Taking deep breaths release “feel-good” chemicals in your brain leading to a feeling of happiness, relaxation and even pain reduction. It also in your body exhaling toxins due to the increased oxygen flow. Deep breathing can be done anywhere at any time which is why it’s a particularly good at reducing the risk of a relapse.

Have a Safe Person to Talk with

You never know when a craving or desire to use will come on, and at the beginning of your recovery journey this can be particularly challenging. Having a safe person that you can call at these difficult times for support can be an excellent way to prevent a relapse. This person can be a family member, friend or someone also in recovery, once they are someone you can rely on for the necessary support. It’s important to know in advance who your safe person is so you know who to call straight away in the event of a craving or desire to use.

Think of the Consequences

If feeling the desire to use, think of the consequences to your actions. Think about what will happen in the short term and the long term if you decide to relapse. Think about the hard work you have done to get to this stage, and weigh up the consequences of relapsing verses not relapsing. Hopefully this will help you make the right decision and help prevent you relapsing.

Tabor Group

If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, get help today. We can help you recover in a healthy, friendly environment and beat your addiction. Don’t hesitate to contact one of our counsellors today for information at +353 (21) 488 7710 or email us at info@taborgroup.ie. We can help you.