Completing a drug rehab program is a major accomplishment for participants. Successful completion essentially means that you have been equipped with the necessary tools to maintain your goal of sobriety. Staying sober for recovering addicts is an ongoing task. It requires not only the tools that are provided during treatment, but the willpower to live a sober life.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a magic pill or phrase that will prevent recovering addicts from relapsing. That’s why, when you’re nearing the end of your inpatient or outpatient drug rehab program, they will work with you to create a relapse prevention plan. Such plans are created to provide you with a point of reference when remaining sober seems rough. Some suggestions you might see in the relapse prevention plan include:
1. Steer Clear of Temptation
Temptations to use drugs and alcohol can be found everywhere. The best chance you have of avoiding relapse is to limit the amount of temptation you’re around. While you might want to show people that your sobriety is real by proving you can be around substances and not use, testing your willpower can end up backfiring. Hanging around friends, family members, and environments where drugs and alcohol are prominently displayed can eventually tempt you back to your old ways.
Your best bet is to stay away from as much temptation as possible. In your relapse prevention plan, you will first need to identify what your triggers are and where you feel most tempted. Then, you’ll need to come up with a course of action to intentionally stay away from those people, places, and things – as much as you can anyway.
2. Enlist a Strong Support System
Recovering from addiction is always better when you have a strong support system to rely on. When you are finished with rehab, going back to the same circle of people or your “using buddies” is a surefire way to relapse. To prevent going back to your old ways, you need to surround yourself with people who love you and want to see you succeed. Healthy relationships make getting through those tough times a lot easier. Whether you turn to family, a local support group, or some other support for recovering addicts, you need people rooting for you in your corner.
You relapse prevention plan should also include severing ties with toxic relationships. No matter how much you may think you need those people in your life, they can quickly undo all of your progress for recovery. Change your phone number, block them on social media, and whatever else you deem necessary to keep the negativity out of your life.
3. Create a Schedule
You’ve likely heard the saying, “An idle mind is the devil’s playground” and this is very true. Before you leave treatment, you will likely be encouraged to come up with a daily schedule to provide some structure to your days. Your schedule should include a balance of continued treatment, work, family, and free time so that you don’t feel too overwhelmed.
4. Continue Treatment
All too often recovering addicts end up relapsing simply because they didn’t continue treatment after finishing rehab. Becoming complacent and assuming that you don’t need continued help and support could cause you to relapse. Make time for continued treatment. Whether you go to local support group meetings or you start seeing a therapist who specializes in drug addiction, it is imperative that you continue to work on yourself mentally.
Just as battling addiction was a multi-layered process, maintaining sobriety after rehab will require a multi-layered plan of action. If you’re nearing the end of your treatment program, or you’ve recently completed a rehab program, take the time to develop a relapse prevention plan to help you stay on the straight and narrow. Keep in mind, however, that relapsing is not failure but a part of the process to reclaiming your life. Should you find yourself reverting back to old ways, reach out to your rehab program for advice and further treatment options.