In the midst of all the activities that occur during recovery, it is very easy to seek solace in something familiar, in this case, the abused substance. It is very important to prevent this from happening at all costs because it could lead to the undoing of all the progress that has been made.
The road to recovery from the dark tunnel that is substance abuse is a particularly long one, and people often need all the support they can get when making this journey. Although there are several programs and medications that have been developed to make sure a relapse does not happen, the most important tool in recovery is the right mindset and the willingness to do what it takes to get better.
Be it implementing and following a strict schedule of total abstinence or a schedule of progressive detachment from the substance (e.g. the use of nicotine product patches and substitutes, Naltrexone, Campral e.t.c.), there are helpful tips that fundamentally apply to the recovery from substance abuse.
Know Your Triggers
When you can clearly identify your personal triggers, you can take the necessary steps to avoid them, thereby reducing the possibility of a relapse. Triggers are the events and situations that occur in a person’s life that make them seek out the short-term escape that these chemical substances can provide.
Common triggers that have been reported include:
- Environmental cues that result in craving
- Financial troubles
- Spending time around people who partake in one or more abused substances.
Prepare for Post-acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)
The syndrome which comes with several medical symptoms such as irritability, insomnia, anxiety, and depression can go on for up to two years. The duration depends on the type of substance one is recovering from, it could also be as relatively short as six months.
Knowing full well that this is a possibility prepares one mentally and eliminates the element of surprise, this can also reduce the chances of a relapse.
Stay Away From Old Habits and Routines
It is important to eliminate or stay away from all reminders of the substance and since old habits and routines are part of the events that led to substance dependency in the first place, it is important to stay away from them in order to keep one’s focus.
Build Some Healthy Relationships
One of the factors that make the weight of recovery easier to bear is the interaction with people with whom you have forged a bond, forming these kinds of healthy relationships is incredibly beneficial.
It is important to avoid co-dependent relationships or linking your sobriety with the state of mind of another person or the state of your relationship with an individual or a group of people as this could lead to the loss of reason to continue recovery and eventually, a relapse.
Develop a Daily Routine and Stick to it
A strict schedule where you have little to no free time can be effective in taking your mind off whatever substance you’re recovering from as long as you follow diligently. It is important to note that it doesn’t have to be all work, you can add some recreational activities or plan visitations. After all, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
Learn to Say “NO”
There will be moments when all of the measures you have put in place to distract you from the allure of the substance fail and you are offered a drink, a smoke, a pill, or anything else on a platter, it is important to think about past mistakes, making up for them, and saying “no”. Saying “no” could also be applied to jobs and other situations that are guaranteed to stress you out. Life gets uncertain at times, so, be prepared to stand your ground and say “no”.
With each month, a quarter of a year, half of a year, and year that passes, make sure to give yourself some props for staying strong and making it that far. You can even reward yourself with a gift, you’ll find that these moments start to become something to look forward to.
It is important to find a balance in life in order to remain firm and strong in one’s conviction, implementing the tips is surely a step, no, a thousand steps in the right direction.