Tips to Prevent Relapse for Alcohol Abuse
Without a doubt, everyone needs tools to help through their recovery. Not every tool fits every situation, but these tips can specifically help you manage the risk of alcohol relapse or returning to addiction.
Alcohol Use Disorder impacts many people from various backgrounds and at different points in their life. Throughout Fayetteville, NC, you’ll have no problem finding any number of triggers. You can handle it, and you can avoid relapse.
What is Relapse?
Occasionally called a lapse when a person is first out of detox, risk a relapse for any other time that a person returns to the drug of choice. Relapsing is when a person cannot remain sober. When associated with alcohol, relapsing is often made into a minimal issue, partially because of alcohol’s widespread social acceptance.
A relapse into alcohol abuse can include the consumption of alcohol or a similar product which contains alcohol or a similar drug. Recovering people may turn to mouthwash, an over-the-counter medication which contains alcohol, or benzodiazepines. The pattern of relapse often becomes worse over time, and people struggle regaining sobriety after a relapse.
1. Know the Signs
There are a few primary signs that can be a major tip-off that you’re approaching relapse triggers. Common relapse triggers include:
- Feeling out of control
- Having extreme emotional shifts (angry one minute and sad the next)
- Major life changes such as moving, having children leave the house, divorce, or marriage
- Trouble accepting criticism
- Loss of recovery commitment such as missed meetings, avoiding a therapist or similar
- Rekindling toxic friendships or visiting “old haunts.”
These actions are clear-cut and should be easy to identify for the people around you. However, you may have trouble seeing these triggers before a relapse. Keeping an eye out specifically for these behaviors and actions can help you be alert of the dangers at hand.
2. Eliminate Trigger Relationships
Nearly everyone in recovery has come across someone who believes that they can continue drinking and that you can stay sober. This situation sounds easy to manage, they’ll drink, and you won’t. Except it’s not easy to manage. Drinking is often a social event and relationships that surround going to places to drink or having a drink while enjoying conversation will almost always depend on that connection.
Eliminating these relationships can be hard, but for some people, moderation is an option for people in recovery, moderation relapse.
3. Create “Instead of” Plans
When you are faced with a trigger, you need a quick and decisive plan of action. Many people don’t realize that they often have a default “instead of” plan available: go to a meeting. What happens when you’re out with people staring at a drink menu? When the decision is right in front of you at the store, or available freely at a backyard party?
Having multiple “instead of” plans can not only help you identify, address, and move past triggers. These plans can help you feel and stay in control.
What are some common “instead of” plans? Recovering people will often have a single drink choice such as water, or a specific soda that makes ordering out easy. People also choose to take a second and practice mindful breathing, yoga, or mediation if the environment permits it.
Speak with your therapist to learn how you can plan how you will react to triggers at the moment.
4. Keep Your Hands and Mind Busy
The old saying is that an idle mind is the devil’s plaything, and it’s fairly true. When you can keep your mind and hands busy, you can deter many triggers. Not only are you likely avoiding areas where alcohol is present, but you’re focusing on something right in front of you.
Crafting, learning an instrument, or exercising are all great options because they:
- Come with a goal
- Allow you to monitor and visually see your progress
- Engage the body
- Occupy the mind
5. Get Help
Of course, whenever you feel as though you are about to relapse, you need to seek help. That help might be going to a meeting, calling your counselor or sponsor, or finding long-term treatment again.
Rehab Carolinas specializes in helping those who need guidance through their recovery. With many rehab options available, you can find a group, therapist, and support system that works for you and fits your stage of recovery.
Relapsing is avoidable. You can learn to watch for the warning signs, identify your triggers, and make choices that keep you sober. Slowly you will see which tools and methods work best for you.