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Tools for Relapse Prevention

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Waking up day in and day out, many of us have lived with the playful concept that there is a right and wrong side of the bed to get out of. Rationally we know that the chances of fate being dependent upon which side of the room our feet hit the floor first are very slim. However, we use this idea as a means to justify emotion for temperamental momenture.

The reality of the matter is that we as individuals create our own destinies each and every day. Every choice we make is an action that has a reaction, so forth and so on. That being said, those of us dealing with alcoholic thinking have to really make our choices carefully since the odds are against us in some aspects. So easily in the blink of an eye can we throw ourselves overboard into the largest downward spiral if we are not careful with our thoughts. After all, every action starts off with a simple thought. This includes the act of relapse.

Educating yourself on relapse prevention while maintaining consciousness creates all the difference in the world between staying sober or attempting that next usage. That’s also the choice between life and death for many. Most of us find ourselves in sobriety once our usage and/or debauchery has finally caught up to us, causing the need for imminent change. This usually entails dropping all forms of drugs/alcohol from the table and enrolling ourselves into some sort of anonymous program. Then we start working the 12 steps, getting a sponsor, participating in various addiction services, and life is all peachy keen. Well that’s the outline at least.

The idea is to stay on the intended path of enlightenment, not letting any little speed bumps deter us from our intended direction. Unfortunately intentions aren’t always enough. Getting back into old routines while falling victim to relapse can happen to anybody, despite your clean time or the fear of using that revolves around it. Knowing certain tools for relapse prevention helps us to constantly be one step ahead of addiction, which is the only true way to refrain from the powerlessness and unmanageability at hand.

Using Your Tools

Many in early recovery fail to realize that employing the tools for relapse prevention isn’t just about abstaining from liquors and powders but it is also a mindset that comes along with sobriety. It’s kind of like permanent method acting. Relapsing starts in the mind and is a conscious or subconscious thought process that has to be entertained, and the same goes for using the tools for relapse prevention. It’s an idea that must be maintained, sobriety doesn’t automatically come naturally.

Its our own thoughts that turn on us. Beware these conceptions because they are the dangerous ones that will bring emotion into the mix and completely throw you off guard. Our brains begin obsessing over that feeling of euphoria that we so readily crave and we begin the process of relapse without realizing it. Relapse prevention means having to go that extra mile and putting effort into things like:

  • Calling somebody when cravings are heavy
  • Going to meetings when you least want to
  • Avoiding old friends and playgrounds
  • Finding new hobbies and forms of entertainment
  • Utilizing therapy

Beware these thoughts and struggle with them to the best of one’s ability. When the clock strikes and this occurs, leave your glass slipper behind and run. Addiction is the ugly step sister that wants you to remain miserable.

The Prevention of Relapse

Most people in the rooms live by the mindset of “just for today” because it is easier to comprehend a 24 hour day in terms of relapse prevention than it is to analyze somebody’s entire life and looking so far into the future. Nothing in this world is permanent except for death. For some it helps to alleviate anxiety and stress when they maintain the mindset of just getting through one more day.

Sometimes the triggers and cravings can be intense enough to cripple somebody into such a manner. If we can just get through this next hour without getting high, then we’re hitting the intended goal- that’s the idea. Knowing this and knowing that we are not shackled to recovery once we pick that route can be comforting at times. The demand isn’t going anywhere- narcotics and booze will always be here.

Using More Tools

Another one of the most powerful relapse prevention tools is the right to be heard. Reaching out to people- especially other addicts and alcoholics, is how recovery started. Alcoholics Anonymous was started when two alcoholics, (Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob), sat down and started comparing and talking to each other about their drinking dilemmas. Upon relating to each other and sharing their stress and strife was when they were able to begin comprehending each other. It’s often when we begin talking about our issues and venting to another person, we start to feel some little sliver of clarity. A few other things that might help to provide that piece of mind are:

  • Remaining grateful when negativity surrounds
  • Showing humility in your most grandiose moments
  • Honest, Open and Willing
  • Staying preoccupied/busy when bored
  • Improving spirituality practices like meditation/prayer

Whether it’s another addict, a therapist, or your higher power- just speaking with another can lessen the cravings or demented thoughts that may be appearing. Recovery teaches us that were not alone and relapse prevention shows that this is something we can actually accomplish. To some degree, everybody just wants to be understood. To not feel alone, that’s what we’re all striving for. It’s in our active addiction and alcoholism that we begin to feel lonelier than the number one as we push away loved ones and the part of ourselves that seeks righteousness. Relapse prevention is possible if we are willing to take action.

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