In an addiction rehab program, recovering addicts are given plenty of support and guidance to help them remain clean throughout the program. However, once the program has ended, recovering addicts often return to the normal world in which their movement and choices are totally ungoverned by anyone except by themselves. It is at this point that the overwhelming majority of relapses occur. So, what can be done for an individual to stay clean and sober after addiction recovery? There are a few things that should be understood to help, but sheer willpower and dedication really count.
A crisis is any event that leads to a dangerous or unstable situation. Put plainly, anyone can relate to a crisis situation. Examples of this can be the loss of a job, illness, or other catastrophic events that unfortunately happen to everyone numerous times throughout life. Non-addicted individuals often struggle through a crisis because of the emotional, physical, and spiritual trauma that comes with the events. For addicts, the crisis takes on a whole other level of danger and stress. Most addicts became addicts because they were unable to adequately deal with the stress of trauma in the past. A recovering addict who faces a crisis may have the first instinct to abuse a drug or binge drink in order to deal with the trauma. The crisis is an enormous threat to sobriety.
Because the crisis is inevitable in every person’s life, it is important that recovering addicts keep a few things in mind in the case that their time comes to face a hurdle in life. Throughout therapy, group support and mentoring are a big help to recovering addicts. This remains true during a crisis. Asking for help from loved ones, a therapist, or a sponsor can help remind the individual that they are not alone and there is a way to overcome the situation without the use of drugs or alcohol.
Keeping busy also can help with dealing with the crisis. In scenarios in which a loved one dies-or less traumatic-such as the loss of a job, keeping busy can help an individual from being sucked into feelings of sheer devastation. By keeping busy, time for grieving or being angry is cut down; thus, the risk of resorting to substance abuse in order to deal with the feelings is lessened. During a crisis, it is key to remember what your specific triggers are. Stay away from bars if you are an alcoholic. If you were addicted to smoking crack or shooting heroin, keep away from lighters, syringes, and other things of similar nature. Crisis situations weaken any person’s resistance to self-destructive tendencies. For addicts, it is important to keep the environment safe and free of triggers.
Although it can be hard during crisis situations, keeping a positive mind frame can be the difference between relapse and successfully getting through the crisis without substance abuse. Don’t let thoughts about relapse enter your mind during that time. Don’t consider doing drugs or binge drinking; instead, think of ways to diminish grief, frustration, or anger in healthy ways. Some people enjoy going to the gym and working out negative feelings, and this is a perfect example of a healthy alternative to dealing with turmoil. Spiritual help is also a great option for those who are receptive to it. Leaning on a higher power is a way to find peace in accepting that some things can’t be changed or influenced, that most things happen for a reason, and that they will pass.
Staying clean and sober can be made hard by many things, including people, presented choices, and just life in general. Crisis, however, is a red-handed culprit amongst the recovering addicts who relapsed. By being prepared for a crisis and making it through one, a recovering addict can be secure that they can handle anything.