Most Effective Relapse Prevention Techniques

Relapse Prevention means preventing a relapse long before it happens. Recovering from addiction is a lifelong journey that requires attention and willingness. Successful recovery is rewarding and goes beyond what most addicts or alcoholics ever imagined their lives becoming. To help prevent a relapse from occurring there are certain techniques that a person must rely on to be prepared to live through life’s experiences drug and alcohol-free. At the same time, it’s important to have the ability to enjoy being clean and sober.

Relapse Prevention Skills

Support From Others in Your Shoes

The most effective techniques that can help a person prevent a relapse often start with following the footsteps of people who have sustained their recovery long-term. These people are doing what it takes to enjoy their life. The first way they do this is to avoid old drugging and drinking environments. There is no recovering addict or alcoholic who will say they still return to their old bars or drug scoring neighborhoods. Successful recovering people also don’t make an effort to see the people that they used to drink or do drugs with. Therefore, avoiding old neighborhoods or locations and ending relationships with the people who still use, or drink is essential for how able and willing a person feels about their recovery.

Once a person recovers, they have a clean slate to rebuild their lives, and this includes the opportunity to surround themselves with other people in recovery. By letting go of the people who used to influence them and encourage drinking and drugging, they are relieving themselves of triggers and romanticizing their past ‘using’ lives. By distancing themselves from these old places and people, they also become able to surrender the idea of what drugs or alcohol used to do ‘for’ them. Once a person becomes part of a recovery group or network they focus on what drugs and alcohol did ‘to’ them. This is a key perspective that helps addicts and alcoholics remain clean and sober.

Find Reasons to Not Go Back

It is always a good technique for all people in recovery to make a list of what alcohol and drugs did ‘to’ their life when they find themselves remembering or missing their previous life as addicts or alcoholics. Along these same lines is to work with a sponsor and complete a first step from the twelve steps. The first step specifically addresses how awful life was during the time of addiction and alcoholism. The first step helps people in recovery remain honest about how bad their lives were when they were high or drunk and promotes the willingness to remain clean and sober.

Focus on Being Healthy

Another valuable technique for preventing relapse is to take care of the body-mind and spirit. Without high self-care routines and commitment, a person could very easily repeat behaviors that resemble their lives as addicts. High self-care includes physical exercise, as well as yoga. Tracking care of the self also means rewarding the body with massages, or visits to the salon or barber, as well as taking time to look well-groomed and fresh. In the history of addiction, there is not a single addict or alcoholic who was able to maintain their physical appearance or care for their physical wellbeing.

High self-care also includes eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep, and taking any prescribed medications. Another facet of self-care is regularly seeing a counselor or therapist. Without good mental health, an addict or alcoholic could be setting themselves up for a relapse. Mental health diagnoses are extremely common for alcoholics and addicts. By maintaining a regular session with a therapist, counselor, or psychiatrist, a recovering person is going to help prevent a relapse.

The other technique for relapse prevention that is extremely important is building a relationship with a higher power or with God. Recovery is a spiritual experience. Addicts and alcoholics have taken themselves to very dark places both in their minds and emotions as well as in the world. Learning to trust that a higher power or God provides support and encouragement is necessary because no matter how far down a person goes in their addictions, their higher power or God remained by their side. A higher power or God cares.

All successful recovering people have a connection to a higher power and put in the effort to build their spiritual relationships. Whether you prefer to go to church or a Buddhist temple or another source for spirituality, the point is that spiritual connection get addicts and alcoholics out of their own way. Meditation, regardless of spiritual or religious affiliation, is another very good technique to prevent relapse. Meditation allows the mind to quiet and rest. The mind, like the body, needs time for relaxation and rejuvenation.

Finally, the last technique that is wonderful to include in a relapse prevention treatment program is to have fun. Having fun clean and sober is probably the most rewarding gift that sobriety gives. Laughing so hard that you say ‘I haven’t laughed that hard in forever’ always feels great. Also, when an addict or alcoholic becomes aware that they can have fun without drugs or alcohol- that alone, which was once unimaginable, makes recovery a most precious reality. Once addicts and alcoholics attain this perspective, they can remain on the clean and sober path for good.