Congratulations on choosing to start the pathway to recovery or knowing someone who has made that choice. The hardest decision is over and now the work can truly begin. Though many issues must be faced and dealt with as soon as the choice for recovery is made, the most prominent concern is typically avoiding relapse. Relapse prevention is the measures taken to prevent a former user from becoming an active addict once again. For many, relapse will occur at least once. This does not mean that recovery is no longer an option, just that a setback has occurred and the process will being again. The ultimate goal is to avoid a relapse at all costs, hopefully some of the tips included in this article will make staying in recovery a bit easier for all involved.
As you stay in recovery you will learn to live a happier life without your drug of choice. For some this may come faster than for others. Everyone will likely have cravings, have weak moments, and want to go back to an unhealthy lifestyle of addiction. In order to stay strong you must learn to take care of yourself, something ignored by most addicts. One way in which you can care for yourself is to ask for help. Gaining entrance into rehab is a positive first step. If rehab is not an immediate option then find a competent therapist that you trust. You should feel comfortable discussing your drug use and future plans in detail with your therapist. This includes holding yourself accountable. Since outpatient therapy means you will not have a constant therapist available, you should also create a support system of friends and family members that will help you when tough times happen. This support system will grow stronger as you continue in recovery. These people need to be strong enough to set and keep boundaries with you at all times. Remember, thinking that you have all the answers can leave you struggling, be willing to ask for help before it is needed.
In addition you should focus on yourself for relapse prevention. This may seem counterproductive, but being in recovery is first about you and then about others. The only way you can become a better person and remain addiction free is to focus on taking care of yourself until you have time in recovery. This means eating healthy, getting plenty of rest, and taking time to relax and unwind when needed. As part of caring for yourself you should focus on the positives. Rehashing the negatives will bring you down. Accept what has happened and what you have done while in addiction and move forward.
Though you are to focus on the positives you must also hold yourself accountable. You have probably done things while in active addiction that require an action to correct. Perhaps you lost your license due to drunk driving or stole from others to feed your habit. Now is the time to hold yourself accountable and pay the price for these actions. This may begin with serving jail time or starting to repay money or time that was stolen. While compensation may not make the actions disappear, they show a willingness to be humble and demonstrate your accountability for previous actions. This is part of the recovery process. Forgiveness from others may not come from holding yourself accountable, but it will help you to move forward in recovery. Being accountable is for you, as is making right those things that you can while in recovery.
Relapse Prevention – Be proud of yourself. The decision to go into recovery, through rehab or otherwise, is a huge accomplishment. Stay strong and keep moving forward.
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