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Life after rehab: why might you relapse?

23 July 2018 No Comment

Once a rehabilitation program is complete, it’s very common for addicts to relapse back into their old ways. That’s why it’s important to understand your triggers so that you can prevent this from happening to you or a loved one.

You’re too stressed

It may come as no surprise that stress is the number reason for relapse because, under pressure, many addicts will turn to their substance of abuse to try and cope with it. While you can’t avoid the feelings of stress altogether, you can try to avoid situations that may cause extreme stress by making lifestyle changes. Try to practice mindfulness and meditation, become more organised at home and work, and add healthy behaviours such as exercise and good nutrition to your daily schedule.  

Experiencing negative or challenging emotions

Stress is one challenging emotion, but so are feelings of anxiety, loneliness, restfulness, and anger. It’s not uncommon for addicts to turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to try and combat or hide from these feelings but it’s important to understand that this will put you back in the same position you were in before rehab. Consider what you’ve learnt during your time at the rehabilitation centre and try to take it on board during times of crisis.  

Being around objects of your addiction

During the early stages of recovery, even the smallest reminder of your addiction can lead to a relapse. Avoid places where you know you’ll be faced with objects of your addiction, whether that be smoking, alcohol abuse, gambling, or something else. Instead, have healthy substitute behaviour in place that can help you resist going back to where you were before.

Times of celebration

Even times of celebration such as birthdays, weddings, or Christmas can act as triggers. During these times you’ll feel happy, which can often cause you to feel as though you’re in control. At this moment, you might think that you can handle one cigarette or one drink, but the likelihood is that, once you start, you won’t know when to stop. If you must attend something that may tempt you to feel this way, have a trusted but firm friend alongside you who can keep your good intentions in check.

Those connected to your addictive behaviour

When you were addicted, it’s likely that you’ll have spent time with others who were also engaging in the same damaging behaviours. It is absolutely vital that you avoid these people during your recovery period. These people may even be related to your addiction indirectly, such as family members who may make you feel childlike or vulnerable. Ana Treatment Centre, a drug and alcohol rehab in Surrey, can give both you and your loved ones professional advice on how to cope with this difficult time.

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