How to Avoid Relapse in the New Year

For many people in addiction recovery, the new year can be a difficult time. Making resolutions to stay sober can be a struggle, but there is hope. There are simple tips to help you stay afloat during the coming year.

Survival Tips for the New Year

To avoid relapsing and enjoy the new year there are useful yet straightforward survival tips you can use.

  1. Avoid Triggers – Triggers are situations or conditions that cause the desire or urge to use which can lead to addiction relapse. Some common triggers are boredom, feeling overwhelmed and stress.
  2. Airplane Travel – Unfortunately, planes do not have a “no alcohol” section, so what do you do if the person sitting next to you is drinking? If possible, ask the flight attendant if you can change your seat. If that is not possible, put on headphones and listen to music, a meditation recording or watch a movie.
  3. Rid Yourself of Toxic Friends – Creating healthy boundaries for yourself and ridding your life from friends that are toxic is vital to avoid a relapse. If you have friends that are using drugs or drinking, that is considered toxic to your recovery, and it is imperative you rid yourself from being around them.
  4. Join a Support Group – There is a multitude of support groups available. Being a part of a group that shares in your recovery can be one of the biggest life rafts you can find. If you are traveling and are not familiar with the area, find meetings in that area ahead of time and attend them as often as you need to.
  5. Practice TAMERS every day – This acronym stands for:
  • Think about recovery, and talk about recovery – This process is done alone and with your sponsor.
  • Act on the recovery process, and connect with others – Attending meetings as often as possible will help you stay on track as well as helping others to stay on track. Addiction recovery and being of service go hand in hand, and the benefits are universal.
  • Meditate and minimize stress – Taking time for yourself by tuning out unwanted thoughts will help you stay focused on the here and now. Managing stress can be another opportunity to learn about cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). The idea behind CBT is that our thoughts create our behaviors, so focusing and changing our thoughts from negative or distorted thinking into more positive and uplifting thoughts has been shown to alleviate overall stress.
  • Exercise and eat well – Having a healthy body can only aid in relapse prevention. By eating healthy and exercising, your body and mind are better able to flow together as well as the releasing of endorphins.
  • Relax – Breathe and take it easy.
  • Sleep – Proper rest is imperative to avoid relapse. Sleeping disorders are five to 10 times more frequent in addicts. Getting proper sleep reduces stress levels which ultimately help in recovery. To think clearly and stay on a sober track, getting adequate sleep is critical.

What Happens if I Relapse?

Addiction relapse happens, so does that mean you should throw in the towel? No. Relapsing is part of the process in recovery. Whether it is alcohol or drug addiction, there will be times when you “fall off the wagon,” but there are newer treatments to help in relapse prevention. This setback is not an excuse to relapse, but it is an opportunity to learn from the mistake and grow stronger. There are essential steps to take if addiction relapse occurs.

  1. Stop Immediately – Get away from the substance and contact your sponsor or a friend in recovery to help you get away from any further temptation.
  2. Contact Your Therapist or Physician – Notifying your therapist or physician can help them not only keep track of your setback but to understand and help you avoid this from happening again.
  3. Work with Your Sponsor and Family/Friends – There is no shame in asking for help. Many times when we share our need for support with others, it helps those very people that are helping us.

Avoiding a relapse can be like hiking up a mountain for many people, but for those in early recovery, it can feel like Mount Everest. By utilizing these tips as well as staying in touch with your sponsor, attending meetings and taking it easy on yourself will be the life raft you need to stay afloat during the new year.

Don’t Let a Relapse Keep You Down

If you do happen to relapse, don’t let the shame and guilt keep you from getting back on the road to sobriety. Launch Centers substance abuse treatment program in Los Angeles provides clients with a unique, dual-diagnosis treatment program that focuses on relapse prevention and teaching clients new, healthy behaviors. Reach out to us today if you are in need of assistance due to a relapse or active addiction.

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