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6 Ways to Guard Against Relapse When Transitioning Back to Living Alone

While in rehab program, many addicts feel blessed with the newfound confidence, support and self-empowerment they gain throughout sobriety. These tools are definitely helpful when they transition back to living alone outside of treatment, but alone these tools will not keep someone in recovery. In fact, the term “relapse” describes the deterioration in health status after a period of improvement. With any chronic disease (like asthma, diabetes or high blood pressure), people run the risk of relapse: if they do not manage their illnesses effectively or if they avoid the instructed changes that support recovery, then a relapse can occur. The same thought applies to addiction.

Addiction is a chronic illness, and there is always a risk for relapse. In fact, the National Institute on Drug Abuse has reported that an average of 60 percent of recovering addicts will relapse at some point in life. Now, it is vital to remember that a relapse does not equate failure or mean that your chances for recovery are over. Relapse can be only a set-back if you are willing to acknowledge the relapse and resume recovery.

Whether someone in recovery experiences zero, one or multiple relapses, there is always an opportunity to overcome the setback and focus on recovery. Recovery is difficult, and the numbers show that relapse rates clearly illustrate this. However, someone can take the following six steps to guard against themselves:

  • Find a support group or sober living program for similar resources that you had in rehab

    Find a support group or sober living program for similar resources that you had in rehab

    Find a support group or sober living program. While in treatment, people are surrounded by other like-minded individuals who offer support, empathy, encouragement and advice. Support is essential for recovery, but, once people leave rehab, they are cast back into the real world. Find a support group or sober living program for similar resources that you had in rehab. Even after rehab ends, there is a great many ways to find strength. Support groups will continue to give individuals the sober camaraderie that they need to transition back to everyday life.

  • Make sober friends and find sober activities. No one wants to get clean, but keeping friends around who drink or use drugs are simply not an option. A recovering addict cannot put herself into situations where she is tempted by her past behaviors. So, while it is imperative to remain social and to have relationships to make life worthwhile, it is also essential that these relationships and activities support recovery. Sober friends will keep former addicts busy and engaged without compromising their recoveries. In short, temptation and cravings will gradually reduce the more recovering addicts find sober friends and sober activities to spend their time doing.
  • Evaluate your neighborhood and workplace to determine whether or not you need to change. Many factors play into addiction, one of them being the environment. People must spend considerable time at work, home and neighborhood. If one’s neighborhood, apartment complex, community, town or place of employment is renowned for its wild night life, abundant bars and a high prevalence of substance abuse, then this environment clearly is the wrong place for addiction recovery. While a move or change of employment may seem drastic, understand that a pro-sober environment is vital for recovery. Recovering addicts do not need to be surrounded by unhealthy environments with temptation all around them.
  • Set and keep your schedule. Returning to life after treatment ends can be a major adjustment, as schedules are structured and busy during treatment. Too much downtime can lead to boredom where people may seek fun to fill the void. At that time, they have a tendency to think about their past addiction, which can also leave an opportunity for drug cravings. However, a daily schedule provides structure and can help people focus on recovery. A set schedule can fill up your time with productive and healthy activities that minimize boredom and loneliness. However, a schedule does not have to be ridged, because scheduling also helps you know what to expect, which can reduce stress.
  • Take time to evaluate your mental and spiritual health. An important part of recovery is making sure that your health is in balance and at its peak. In other words, make sure you tend to your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. It is necessary to check-in with your emotions and mental health, take time to unwind, assess emotions and feel at peace. This feat can be accomplished in many ways, such as practicing meditation, mindfulness, yoga, taking baths, journaling, getting a massage, practicing breathing exercises and physical activity.
  • Keep attending meetings or sessions no matter what. Continued treatment, therapies, aftercare, support groups, sober living homes and other aftercare programs are invaluable to one’s recovery, especially in the early stages. These meetings give support during recovery, which means they help people transition from treatment back to living alone. No matter what point someone is in his recovery journey, these programs can be beneficial. Focusing on recovery is a life-long venture, but life will bring many unexpected stressors and situations. In response, recovering addicts must continue moving forward, and meetings will keep you on-track in recovery.

If you or someone you love is looking for recovery services, then know that we can help. Our toll-free, 24 hour helpline staffs admissions coordinators who can help you. Seek help to get and stay clean.