Choosing to get help for an addiction is a huge accomplishment. Still, those in early addiction recovery know that seeking help is just the tip of the iceberg of a long journey towards recovery. Some days, it’s easy. Other days, it’s a struggle. When things get overwhelming, having the right tools to maintain sobriety can be the one thing that keeps you from relapsing. After leaving rehab, continuing life with the same structure can be challenging. Using an addiction recovery checklist can help recovering addicts stay on top of their triggers and actively work on their recovery.
Addiction Relapse Prevention Tips
Recovery is an ongoing process that you have to nurture every day. The things you do every day can genuinely make a difference and help you stay away from relapsing. Even if sometimes you fall, these relapse prevention tips will help you bounce back faster and stronger than ever.
1. Let Everyone Around You Know the Signs (Including Yourself)
Hopefully, you went to a rehab center that emphasized aftercare planning and relapse prevention techniques. Everyone in your life needs to know about the emotional and mental signs of relapse, this way, you can ask for help sooner rather than later. Telltale signs of relapse include mood swings, isolation, intense cravings, defensive, and poor health habits.
2. Stay Active
Sometimes, relapse happens out of boredom. It seems silly at first, but it’s true. Feeling bored, purposeless, and empty can make it easy to relapse. While we all need to rest and recharge, try to stay active throughout the day with fulfilling activities. Exercising, volunteering, trying a new hobby, going back to school, or focusing on work are all great ways to remain engaged in sobriety.
3. Do Not Skip Meetings
On certain days, you might feel an urge to skip support group meetings. Of course, everyone will miss a couple of meetings throughout their sobriety, but don’t make it the norm. On days when you feel unmotivated or discouraged, you should go to the meetings. There’s no need to share if you don’t feel like it, but push past this feeling and go to the meeting anyway to listen to others.
4. Stay in Touch With Your Sponsor
People in sobriety only think their sponsors are there for emergencies. While this might be true for some sponsors, it shouldn’t be the norm. Think of your sponsor as a friend you can call every week or every other day to connect with. You don’t need to share a struggle or talk about following the steps. Instead, try to talk about different aspects of sober living that you might need help adjusting to.
5. Manage Your Expectations
Having unrealistic expectations about recovery and sobriety can add more stress and increase your risk of relapsing. Set your expectations straight and recognize that some seasons will likely have some hiccups, like during the holidays, for example. Remember that even if things don’t go as planned, you can still work through and keep working towards your recovery.
Daily Relapse Prevention Checklist
It might seem insignificant, but the things we do daily significantly impact how we feel overall. For someone in early addiction recovery, a checklist can help them stay on track. When you have an idea of the things you’re supposed to do every day, there’s less room for spontaneity that can lead to relapses.
Also, having a checklist can relieve stress and give you ideas to learn how to relax. The key here is to avoid high-risk situations so you can stay clean and sober. These daisy checklists can include meeting support groups, practicing mind-body exercises, reaching out to a sponsor, and more. Some people might choose to continue following the lists they had while in addiction treatment. This can be quite helpful, especially during the first year of recovery, as you start to transition back to your daily life. However, keep in mind that these daily checklists are not set in stone. As you learn how to relax, recognize negative thoughts and other triggers, you’ll start to notice how to act and what works best for you. Because of this, your checklist might change over time, and that’s fine.
Weekly Addiction Recovery Checklist
Beyond your daily routine, you want to keep in mind a weekly checklist. Consider this your long-term checklist for staying on track. Weekly checklists are also helpful if you struggle with a co-occurring mental illness that can make your recovery more challenging. With this list, you’ll keep track of your therapy sessions, negative thoughts, and other hiccups you might experience throughout the week.
Not all days are the same. Some are more difficult to navigate than others. That’s life. What a weekly checklist can do for you is to create a schedule that is a step ahead of your triggers. For example, if your group of friends likes to go out to a bar every Friday, you can schedule a support group meeting that night to avoid the triggers. If Mondays are tough for you, planning a therapy session that helps you set the right mindset for the week can help.
Again, these checklists are merely guidelines. It’s up to you to find the combination of activities and timelines that works best for you. If you’re early in recovery, it might help discuss your checklists with your therapist before leaving treatment. As you attend more therapy sessions while in recovery, you can tweak them here and there based on your progress.
Getting Help in Addiction Recovery
Some people think addiction treatment is the most challenging step of the way. But, in reality, recovery is the most challenging phase. To prevent relapse, recovering addicts have to work hard and actively work to stay clean and sober.
If you or someone you know is struggling with recovery from substance abuse, it might be time to consider an aftercare program. These treatment programs are centered on relapse prevention from substance use disorders. It incorporates relapse prevention techniques, life skills development, family therapy, group support, and more. The idea is to hold your hand as you navigate through the early years of recovery and offer a support system to help you conquer this disease.