How to Avoid Relapse

August 22, 2013

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Spouse is Doing Drugs

For many people who are addicted to drugs, deciding to enter rehab and get clean can be a struggle within itself. Once the decision is made, undergoing the detoxification process can also be physically demanding. Therefore, when a person officially becomes clean and sober, the prospect to avoid relapse in the outside world can seem intimidating. Fortunately, there are steps recovering drug addicts may take to decrease the likelihood of abusing drugs after becoming clean and sober.

Knowing the Signs and Taking Action to Avoid Relapse

Although relapse culminates in a former drug abuser once again using drugs, the process usually begins long beforeAvoid Relapse the person picks up a drug and uses it. Increased stress increases a recovering drug user’s likelihood of resuming drug use. Leaving a treatment facility and re-entering the world can reintroduce many recovering addicts to a number of outside sources of stress. For this reason, recovering drug users must develop new, healthy stress management strategies to help avoid relapse. Other signs that a relapse may be becoming increasingly likely include negative thinking, denial of stress, recurrence of withdrawal symptoms, and engaging in careless behavior and becoming defensive when behavior is legitimately questioned. Recognizing these signs and seeking counseling and support from healthy sources can help prevent relapse when relapse may seem highly likely.

Seeking Counseling

Recovery from addiction is an ongoing process. Upon release from a treatment center, recovering drug users should expect that they will need the support of a professional counselor as he or she learns healthy ways to cope with common sources of stress. Rebuilding relationships with family may also be difficult, and having the support of a trusted counselor can offer an unbiased perspective and allow recovering drug users an effective, helpful avenue through which they may express their feelings without fear of having a negative impact on the relationship in question.

Finding a New Neighborhood

Many drug users have local triggers that remind them of using drugs when they return home. Drug users often live with other people who support drug use or have substance abuse issues themselves. They also tend to know where to buy and use drugs in their neighborhood. For this reason, recovering drug users may mentally associate certain people or locations with their past drug abuse. Constantly revisiting these places may be enough to trigger relapse. Planning to reside in a new location and taking the steps to have a clean, fresh start may be extremely helpful to avoid relapse. No longer residing with other drug users is also critical.

Finding New Hobbies

Recovering drug users will have the need to make new friends and fill their time with positive activities. The more they associate with non-drug users, the recovering addict may find that he or she feels less tempted to use drugs as using drugs is often a social activity. Volunteering, taking a class to learn a new skill or joining a club are excellent ways to meet new, drug-free friends while becoming more well-rounded and creating a more diverse skill set. Many cities have free events and classes for people who share a common interest. Volunteering also enables recovering drug users to gain an outside perspective by working with people who may have a different set of serious issues. Helping others also allows recovering drug addicts to shift their focus from themselves and their past substance abuse to someone else who needs help. Volunteer activities may include working directly with animals, the elderly, or homeless people. There are also volunteer opportunities that involve activities like cleaning up a part of the community, making meals for nonprofit organizations to deliver to their clients, or painting a mural to beautify an area within the community.


Getting exercise every day can be the difference between feeling fatigued and lethargic and having a better sense of well-being. Not only does Avoid Relapseregular exercise provide a natural energy boost, but it can also help those who suffer from insomnia sleep longer and more easily at night, and exercise can have a positive impact on a person’s overall mood. The best way to incorporate physical activity is to find enjoyable ways to spend time being active. Developing a better fitness routine can be as simple as starting out with a 30-minute walk to the park or neighborhood store every day, working in a garden for an hour or more, playing sports, swimming, or joining a dance or Pilates class. Remaining physically active in addition to consuming a healthy, balanced diet may help recovering addicts feel better physically and emotionally, which may, in turn, support their decision to maintain a healthy, drug-free lifestyle. Exercising can also be an effective way to ward off stress.

Although the thought of leaving a rehabilitation facility and attempting to remain clean and sober in the outside world may seem frightening. Making plans to support the decision to avoid drug use in addition to recruiting the right support system, including a doctor, counselor, and healthy, drug-free friends and family members, can greatly enhance a recovering drug user’s prospects of avoiding future drug use.

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