After you’ve been through rehab and are ready to re-enter society, you should have a solid plan in place to prevent relapse. Learning relapse prevention skills is one of the most critical aspects of this plan. Relapse prevention skills are so crucial for effective alcohol treatment because they allow you to identify triggers and cope with cravings, among other things.
If you attempt to stay sober after rehab, these skills can mean the difference between success and failure. Make sure you work with your therapist or treatment center to develop an effective relapse prevention plan. Put those skills into action every day to maximize your chances of success.
The Benefits of Relapse Prevention Skills
It’s natural to be nervous about returning to your daily life after spending time in rehab and getting sober. Will you be able to stay sober? What will you do if a trigger or temptation arises? Relapse prevention skills play a crucial role in alcohol treatment. This is because they enable addicts to identify their triggers and learn how to cope with them, making them essential for effective alcohol treatment. Stress, anxiety, depression, boredom, and peer pressure are some common triggers that cause a person to crave alcohol or use it again.
The first step in developing these skills is identifying your triggers and creating coping mechanisms for dealing with them. For example, if stress triggers you, you might come up with a relaxation technique that can help you healthily cope with that stress. If peer pressure is a concern, you might develop an exit strategy for social situations where you feel like you may be tempted to drink. Learn and practice these skills to decrease your risk of relapse and increase your chances of staying sober in the long run.
Identifying Your Triggers
It is common for someone in recovery from addiction to relapse due to a variety of triggers. Triggers include experiences, people, emotions, or situations that increase the urge to use alcohol or drugs. Among other triggers, they can include being around people who drink or use drugs, being in places where you used to drink or use drugs, feeling stressed, anxious, or lonely.
The key to avoiding or dealing with your triggers is identifying them (if possible). If you don’t know what your triggers are, keep a journal for a week or two and note when you feel the urge to drink, use drugs, and other behaviors. Practice will make it easier to recognize and deal with your triggers.
Developing a Support System
A reliable way to prevent relapse is to create a strong support system for yourself. This might include family members and friends, therapists, sponsors, sober friends, and other people who will be able to assist you in maintaining your sobriety.
Having your support system made up of people who understand what you’re going through, and who will be there for you when things get tough, will make it easier to stay sober because you’ll know you’re not alone.
Creating a Plan for Dealing with Cravings and Urges
In recovery, cravings and urges are inevitable, but they don’t have to lead to relapse. The most effective way to handle cravings is to prepare ahead of time. You can use this plan to distract yourself from cravings, call people when you’re struggling, or do deep breathing exercises to calm your mind and body.
A walk, journaling, listening to music, attending meetings or activity groups, or talking to your sponsor or therapist can also help with cravings. It is imperative to remember that cravings will eventually pass if you don’t act on them, so try to ride them out until they pass.
Practice and Master Relapse Prevention Skills
When you learn how to identify and cope with triggers, cravings, and other high-risk situations, you decrease your chances of relapsing and increase your chances of staying sober.
It takes time and practice to master these skills, but they will become easier over time. Reach out to your support system if you are struggling to stay sober after leaving rehab. You can do this! One lapse does not mean that you failed at recovery; you just need to dust yourself off and start over.
You can increase your chances of maintaining sobriety after rehab by implementing relapse prevention skills. If you think you are at risk of relapsing after rehab, call our counselors at 833-846-5669 for more information.