Drug addiction is a serious problem in many countries and the United States is no exception. According to official sources, nearly 21 million people in the United States struggle with at least one addition. Annual drug overdose deaths have tripled since 1990. Drug addiction affects people from all age groups and other demographics and poses a serious threat to the health and well-being of millions.
But for all its dangers, drug addiction is a treatable condition. Countless people have wrestled with substance abuse problems and have overcome them. However, like many chronic illnesses, addition can be treated but never really cured. Even after you spend time in one of the best rehab centers for drug addiction, you can still end up relapsing.
The following are effective methods you can try or teach to someone you know if you think they are in danger of relapsing.
1. Seek Professional Help
The best and most effective method if you believe you’re at risk of relapsing is to get professional help straight away. Research reveals that people who rely on natural treatment without professional intervention are more likely to relapse after a few years.
Although the other methods can be helpful in curbing potential relapses, seeking the assistance of actual professionals is a better alternative. If you’ve had previous experience working with an institution in the past, you should try to contact them if you feel you may relapse. If you’ve been treating your addiction on your own, do your research and seek a reputable and effective center for help.
2. Avoid Associated Places and People
Relapsing becomes more likely the more exposed you are to certain people and places you associate with your addiction. First, they could bring up memories of the cravings and the feelings elicited by these substances. Second, such places and people could be a hot bed for exposure to situations that may make you relapse.
For example, night clubs and bars aren’t just full of people indulging in alcohol but also provide an environment where it’s easy topurchase drugs. Avoid these situations by steering clear of these places and people if possible. You should make a detailed list of which places you should not go to and have a clear conversation with people you may wish to avoid.
3. Build a Support Network
You will find it a lot easier to avoid relapsing if you have a large network of people supporting you through your ordeals. For example, if you feel like your sobriety is under threat or that you’re close to relapsing, it could do well to talk to someone about what you’re feeling. They in turn can coach you through the process and watch over you until you feel better or get yourself some more professional help.
Although friends and family are integral part of your sobriety support network, you can hire expert who have the knowledge and training to assist you in a greater capacity. These people are known as sober companions and they can be integral in preventing a relapse, especially in the months after direct treatment has ended.
4. Redirect Focus
Sometimes the best way to avoid relapsing is to fill your time doing something else. This will help redirect your focus and avoid thinking about the emotions or thought processes that you associate with your addiction. Instead of dwelling on negative thought and emotions, do something productive instead.
Here are just a few samples of things you can focus upon instead:
- Walk around the block. Staying cooped up indoors can be stressful and boring. Taking a walk can do you a lot of good.
- Engage in a hobby. You could learn how to make beautiful DIY wedding programs, learn how to knit a sweater, repaint your kitchen. Any of these activities can fill in hours of your time.
- Meditate or do a calming mental and physical exercise. Yoga has been credited with calming emotions and improving mental balance. A long yoga session coupled with meditation could be very useful if you feel stressed enough to relapse.
Do remember, however, that redirecting your focus is at best a temporary solution. You can use them when you feel the urge to relapse the strongest and hopefully reduce the cravings. But they’re not as effective as actual treatment or therapy.
Achieving sobriety isn’t a goal but a lifelong process. Every day will bring new challenges that may threaten a relapse. But with the help of trained professionals, a strong support network and your own dedication, you can put your addiction behind you one day at a time.