On completing addiction treatment and leaving rehab, any recovering addict will have one major goal in mind over anything else: avoiding relapse and having to do it all over again. But that can be easier said than done, even after a seemingly effective course of treatment. Addiction can be a tenacious influence in a person’s life, emerging through sudden attacks of cravings when least expected.
To ensure addiction is kept at bay, the recovering addict must develop relapse prevention strategies for long-term sobriety.
Navigating sober living can be more daunting for the recovering addict than they might expect, as the deep grip of addiction can remain in place, hidden away until brought out by certain circumstances or memories. Without proper preparation and coping mechanisms in place, an otherwise apparently random moment can end in relapse when least expected.
It’s just not as simple as resuming daily habits once held before addiction took hold and expecting everything to be as it once was. Addiction can leave deep scars on the psyche and leave recovering addicts vulnerable to impulses and cravings they thought left behind if care is not taken.
So, with these warnings in mind, what can a recovering addict do to develop relapse prevention strategies to ensure the preservation of long-term sobriety?
First, it’s vital for anyone out of rehab to ensure they’re not attempting to reenter the world alone. Without a support network of some form, it’s much more likely a recovering addict will relapse without mental and moral support from friends, family or simply fellow recovering addicts who are working together to resist temptation together. If you don’t have a ready-made support system in place of loved ones, seek out a support group that meets regularly where you can meet with others in the same situation and find help, mentorship and simple companionship in a shared struggle.
You’ll likely need to change up certain habits or routines. Going to some places or participating in some activities may have to end if these things bring about associations with substance abuse. Relationships with people who still participate in substance abuse and could lead to you resuming the same may have to end.
Even with careful preparation and meaningful support, however, a recovering addict will still likely face the occasional craving or temptation to partake in addictive behavior once more. These moments may strike at any moment, unbidden by any conscious connection, so it’s important the recovering addict have a plan in place for such times. You may need to reach out to someone for help in such a moment. You may need to take certain actions, such as doing some sort of mental exercise to resist or indulging in a new hobby to replace the former craving.
The form of such a coping mechanism will vary from person to person. It’s invaluable to start working on such a strategy that works for you individually early, preferably before you’re even done with rehab, so it’s in place when that first craving hits and you’re ready to fight it.
A good rehab facility can help you develop such prevention strategies, such as Good Landing Recovery, which combines clinical treatment with Christian ministry to fight addiction at every level and help the addict find true recovery.