Relapse Prevention 101- A Step by Step Guide to Staying Sober

Macro photo of tooth wheel mechanism with imprinted arrows and RELAPSE, RECOVERY concept words

Sobriety and recovery are not always easy. Many people think that after you make the decision to stay sober and get treatment that you’re over the hard part but the journey is just beginning.

Often people leave their home environment to get sober, they enter a program that’s isolated from the outside world. It takes courage to do this and you should be proud of yourself for making the tough decision for a better life.

Once you return home though it can be tough to keep on the straight and narrow.

Keep reading for relapse prevention tips to help on the journey to recovery.

Have a Relapse Prevention Plan

The most difficult part of staying strong in any situation is when you’re caught off guard. Developing a plan filled with coping strategies will help you be prepared for unexpected issues that arise.

This may include:

  • a list of activities to distract you if cravings or temptations occur
  • new ways to deal with stress and conflict 
  • a new nutrition and exercise plan
  • creating a support network of sober friends and family
  • continued counseling and support group attendance
  • avoiding places and situations that trigger

Don’t wait until you’re in a stressful situation to try and come up with a way to cope. 

Physical Activities and Hobbies

Finding a new passion to fill your time can be a great distraction and an effective way to help you avoid returning to alcohol out of boredom and stress. Whether getting outside for a walk or joining a weekly basketball game you can find joy in physical activities.

Hobbies and new activities can help you build self-esteem, meet new friends and stay focused on filling your life with positive things rather than slipping back into negative habits.

Positive Coping Techniques

Many times alcohol is a coping mechanism used to deal with stress or worry. It doesn’t make anything better, it just distracts you from the issues causing concern in the first place. 

Finding new coping techniques that work for you can take time but lead to a much happier and more positive life. 

Some positive coping techniques include:

  • making a gratitude list
  • going for a walk in nature
  • visiting with a positive friend
  • journaling
  • meditating
  • physical activity
  • taking a road trip/go for a drive
  • writing a list of goals
  • volunteering or finding a way to provide service to another
  • watching a funny or light-hearted movie
  • reading a good book
  • spending quality time with animals

It can take some time for these coping techniques to become natural to you. Keep a list of choices at hand so if you find yourself struggling there are options in front of you other than the negative coping strategies you used to fall back on.

Support Network

Chances are before you went into addiction treatment you hung around people who had the same bad habits as you.

If you return to hanging around the same places with the same people and influences you are likely setting yourself up for disaster. It’s important with your new focus on life to find a positive support network who’ll support your changes.

Be Kind to Yourself

If you struggle or even have a small slip, don’t be too hard on yourself. Pick yourself back up and keep heading in the positive direction you’ve chosen to take in your life.

Focus on All Life Has To Offer

There’s so much in life to experience and explore beyond the bottle. Focus on all that life has to offer and learn something new everyday to be proactive in your relapse prevention plan.

Check out the rest of our blog for tons of intriging topics and ideas for health and wellness


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