One of the most important lessons individuals must learn in the early stages of addiction recovery and relapse prevention is how to protect themselves from dangerous outside influences. These influences may include any people, places or things that may encourage relapse. Separation from aspects of life as an addict can be a critical step towards remaining sober. Maintaining the internal and external changes that support sobriety can become difficult in the enabling presence of past habits.
Attending Rehab Isn’t Enough
It isn’t uncommon for those undergoing holistic rehabilitation to resist making such drastic changes after treatment. They may believe they can resume their prior lives drug and alcohol-free, believing that their willpower alone is enough. However, these decisions could be detrimental to their treatment plan and could ultimately put an end to their sobriety.
Relapse Prevention: Lifestyle Changes Are a Must
Substance abuse is a disease and, like any other chronic or life-threatening condition, specific lifestyle changes are a must to prevent the worst from occurring. Therefore, it’s critical for those in recovery to abstain from the use of any intoxicating substances. They must find new and positive ways to cope with their emotions when they become negative. It’s also imperative for them to avoid any triggers that could potentially cause a relapse.
Development of a New Life
Not everyone will be involved in holistic treatment programs for the same length of time. Therefore, they may not have as much time to think about the life changes they are about to embark upon before entering back into their new world. It’s often an eye-opening experience following time in a controlled and safe environment. The development of a new sober life and their continued recovery will include avoidance of old:
- Friends and people: While some friends may be supportive of an individual’s sobriety, friends and acquaintances associated with that person’s past as an addict may want to resume old habits immediately. No matter how long the treatment program was, a safe distance from possible enablers is always a safe bet.
- Places: The development of a new life includes staying away from establishments where alcohol is served, or any other place where addictive substances may be present. Otherwise, temptations will be too difficult to resist.
- Things: Events where co-workers often buy a round of drinks or activities where addictive substances are present can be difficult for someone in the early stages of recovery. It is important to be aware of possible temptations.
Alternatives for People, Places & Things
- Meet for coffee instead of drinks
- Be selective when invited to office parties, barbecues, or dinners, and always have an exit plan in place
- Choose outdoor activities like biking, hiking, and picnicking so there are no temptations to abuse substances in secret
- Attend a family fun center instead of a pool hall or bowling alley
- Try cultivating interest in art galleries and local museums
- Gather friends together for regular movie nights instead of frequenting clubs
- Host dinners at home where all those in attendance know that it is substance-free.
Relapse Prevention is a Constant Effort
Nothing about staying sober is simple, and it takes constant effort. By staying aware of the people, places, and things in your life, it’s possible to stay away from that first drink.