Recovery can be a rocky journey, and relapse is not uncommon. That is why knowing relapse prevention skills is extremely important for anybody undergoing addiction treatment. Relapse prevention skills will encourage anybody to live a happy life in recovery without the fear of falling victim to old habits.
The Importance of Relapse Prevention Skills
Relapse prevention skills are essential to learning how to be content in recovery. Slowly, one day at a time, patients can learn to implement these coping skills to prevent relapse and live a safe and happy life in recovery.
Recovering from any substance use disorder is a process of personal growth, with a number of developmental milestones. At any stage of recovery, a patient is at risk of relapsing. Therefore, relapse prevention skills should be emphasized for their importance. Some of the most common triggers of relapse include:
- Financial problems
- Relationship issues
- Certain sights or smells
- Certain people and places
- Falling into old habits
There are a variety of relapse prevention tools that one can implement into their daily routine to help prevent relapse. There is a common misconception that these skills should only be used when someone is experiencing a desire to use when in reality, relapse prevention skills should be implemented into every recovering person’s daily schedule and routine to help prevent the risk of cravings.
Notable Relapse Prevention Skills
Post-acute withdrawal symptoms can vary, but two very common ones are insomnia and fatigue. These can both be triggers for relapse. By implementing regular physical exercise and a balanced diet, one can significantly improve their quality of sleep and, therefore, life.
HALT is an acronym for: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired. Whenever somebody is experiencing a craving to use drugs, they are encouraged to ask themselves if they are feeling any of these symptoms. These are some of the most common triggers for relapse. By doing a regular inventory of HALT, the risk of relapse has a higher chance of being prevented.
3. Know Your Triggers
Knowing your triggers is a really effective way of preventing relapse. By being able to avoid triggering situations, the likelihood of relapse goes down immensely. By making a list of internal and external triggers, a patient is able to gain awareness of their triggers and reduce the risk of relapsing.
4. Join a Support Group
Participating regularly in a support group such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA) or Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) can help a patient receive support, accountability, and education and have access to peers who understand exactly what they are going through. A sponsor, as well as peer support, can be highly effective and essential elements of recovery. By decreasing feelings of loneliness and the risk of isolation, support groups can prepare somebody for facing relapse triggers.
5. Play the Tape Through
If you find yourself craving a drink or getting high, a great relapse prevention tool is playing the tape through first. To do so, you must think of what will happen in your mind until the very end. Imagine what will happen in both the long-term and short-term if you decide to relapse. Think of the outcome if you were to use or if you were not to use. This can help with your decision-making and reduce the risk of relapse.
Find Effective Relapse Prevention at Zelus Recovery
If you or a loved one are worried about relapsing or are currently going through recovery, Zelus Recovery is here to help you through this difficult time. Reach out to one of our medical professionals today via 208.518.0797 to discuss your treatment options.