Relapse Prevention Tips & Videos

Colusa County Recovery

Relapse Prevention Tips That Work

Know the signs of emotional and mental relapse.

Being able to recognize the signs of relapse will enable you to ask for help quickly when it’s needed most. Common signs of emotional relapse often include mood swings, isolating oneself, being angry or defensive, and poor eating and sleeping habits. Signs of mental relapse include fantasizing or thinking about using drugs or alcohol, glamorizing past use, lying about your feelings or behaviors, and hanging out with old drug-abusing friends.


Be aware of how you’re feeling, emotionally and physically.

Feeling anxious, depressed, or angry is a normal part of life, but strong emotions like these can sometimes be detrimental to an addict in recovery. If you’re newly sober, it’s very important to be aware of your emotions and find healthy ways to cope with them, such as going for a walk with your dog, spending time with your sober friends and supportive family members, or talking to your sponsor, or members of your 12  step homegroup or a drug counselor or therapist. Although you’ll have good days and bad days, maintaining a sense of self-awareness can help you tackle personal problems and issues before they morph into a full relapse. Bottom line - we use over nothing and share about everything that impacts our recovery.


Fill your free time.

Although boredom is actually a part of every addict’s journey to full recovery, it can be a serious threat to a person’s sobriety. Feeling bored and empty can make it very easy to relapse so it’s important to fill your free time each and every day. Although there’s nothing wrong with resting, hours of free time can be filled with healthy and productive activities like exercising, volunteering or experimenting with a new hobby like painting or crafts.


Resist the urge to skip support group meetings.

Some days it may be extremely tempting to skip your support group meetings, but one skipped meeting can easily lead to two, and before you know it, you might be completely disconnected from your recovery support group. Maybe you feel particularly discouraged or unmotivated. Or maybe you just don’t feel like sharing. Whatever the reason, push past it and go to your meeting anyway. Confiding in your sponsor or asking one of your sober friends to go to an in-person meeting  with you (or meet you online at a meeting) might help you resist the temptation to skip and help you stay accountable, even on a day when you’re struggling.


Carry your emergency contact list with you wherever you go.

A big part of relapse prevention in addiction recovery is just being prepared. If you don’t already have one, you should create a list of people in your life who you can reach out to if you feel particularly discouraged or you ever feel tempted to use drugs and alcohol. This list might include your sponsor, clean and sober friends, your drug counselor, clergy, or a family member (or friend) who supports your recovery goals, among others. 

Always have a backup plan.

 Recovery from addiction is something that requires work and daily effort, and it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of over-confidence. Whether you’re attending a family function or you’re headed to an event for work, you should always have a backup plan and discuss it with your sponsor or a member of your support network before heading out for the day or evening.


Take care of yourself first.

Of all the relapse prevention tips and strategies out there, this is one of the most important. Although it may feel selfish to focus so much time and energy on yourself and your own personal health and wellness, it’s important to take care of yourself whether you’re recovering from addiction or not. Additionally, you can’t take care of the people you love if you’re not caring for yourself, so your spouse, children, and loved ones are all benefiting from the time and effort you’re putting into bettering yourself.


Invest your time in building healthy relationships instead of lingering on old, unhealthy ones.

As one door closes another door opens. Letting go of unhealthy relationships; such as your old using buddies, is often a key component to staying clean and sober. It may be tempting to go hang out with old druggie friends,  but it’s much more healthy and beneficial for your sobriety to confide-in or spend time with people who support your recovery, as opposed to engaging in risky and slippery interactions that could harm your recovery.


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