AddictionsAndRecovery.org argues that you recover from addiction not by stopping your drug or alcohol habits, but by creating a new life in which it is easier to avoid drugs. Ergo, if you do not create a new life, then all the factors that brought you to your addiction will eventually catch up with you again. To stay clean from drugs, you do not have to change everything in your life, but some situations and behaviors got you into trouble, and they will continue to do so until you change them. The more you try to hold onto your old life during recovery, the harder it will be to recover, and the longer your recovery will take. Nothing changes if nothing changes.
AddictionsAndRecovery.org reports that recovering addicts must change the following three behaviors to achieve recovery from a substance use disorder:
- Be honest with yourself – Chances are that you lie about getting your drug, using it, its consequences and planning your next relapse. An addiction is full of lying, so, after a while, you get so good at lying that you end up doing so to yourself. To stay clean, you must learn to tell the truth.
- Avoid high-risk situations – High-risk situations may be people, places or things that encourage you to abuse drugs. They may also be your own personal states, which are commonly identified by the acronym HALT, Hungry, Angry, Lonely and Tired. When someone gets worn down by any of these conditions, the likelihood for relapse greatly increases.
- Learn to relax – People use drugs and alcohol for only a few reasons, to escape, relax and/or reward themselves. In other words, people use drugs and alcohol to relieve tension, so you must learn to handle stress well to promote recovery.
With the right help, you can get and stay clean from drugs.
Handling Relapse Triggers Successfully
Honesty is fairly self-explanatory when it comes to avoiding relapse, so take a closer look at the other two factors that lead to relapse. For instance, in regard to emotional and physical states, how do you feel at the end of the day? You may be hungry if you have eaten poorly. You may be angry if you had a tough day at work or commute. You may feel lonely if you are isolated and tired if you worked hard or slept too little. Your strongest cravings usually occur at the end of the day, so look at the following high-risk situations:
- People can influence your drug cravings if you used drugs with them or if they are related to your drug use. People with whom you have conflicts with also make you want to use drugs. Also, think of the people with whom you celebrate by using drugs, because they encourage you to use drugs either directly or indirectly.
- Places – The places where you used or obtained your drugs or alcohol can trigger you to relapse
- Things – Some things that remind you of using drugs or drinking can encourage relapse
Of course, you cannot always avoid these situations, but, if you are aware of them, then they will not catch you off guard, so you can prevent small cravings from turning into major relapses.
In response, take better care of yourself. Eat a healthier lunch so you are not as hungry at the end of the day. Join a 12-Step group so that you do not feel isolated. Learn how to relax so that you can let go of your anger and resentments. Develop better sleep habits so that you are less tired. Additionally, avoid your drinking friends, your favorite bar and having alcohol in the house. Avoid people with whom you used cocaine, your dealer’s neighborhood and all cocaine paraphernalia. Lastly, addiction is sneaky, so you may not see a high-risk situation until you are right in the middle of one. For that reason, learn to look for them: make a list of your high-risk situations and keep it with you. Go over the list often and administer “tough love” with yourself so you do not ambush your best intentions.
Finally, you may wonder what relaxing has to do with recovery, but there is only one reason people do not relax, because they think they are too busy. The thought process goes something like this: I know relaxing makes sense, but I have so many other things to do. Ask yourself how much time you spend on your addiction—if you add up all the time it takes to get your drug, use it, deal with its consequences and plan your next relapse, then you will realize that relaxing for 20-40 minutes a day is a bargain. In short, relaxation is not an optional part of recovery, because it is essential. You can relax in many ways, from going for a walk to more structured techniques like meditation. Meditation is an important part of that mix, because simple techniques do not always work. Do something every day to relax, escape, reward yourself and to turn off the chatter in your mind.
Addiction Requires Hitting the ‘Reset Button’ in Your Life
Recovery is rewarding, because you get the chance to rethink your day and to make significant changes in your life. However, all change is difficult, especially if you do not think about who you are or what you want to become. If you use recovery as an opportunity to transform your life, then you may be amazed at the result.
With 11 independent studies indicating that we are one of the best addiction treatment programs in the country, you should call our admissions coordinators now. Our services treat the whole person – mind, body and spirit, so feel confident that you have made the right choice. Call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline now for a care provider that is acclaimed for its success rate and for caring about the individual.