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Relapse Prevention Do's and Don'ts
DO take a daily inventory regarding your activities and actions-Journaling can be an effective relapse prevention tool that a former addict can use to take a daily inventory about their feelings and behaviors. When a former addict is in the beginning stages of their substance abuse recovery process, they will experience a wide range of powerful feelings and emotions; daily journaling can help a person to process many of these intense emotions, which has proven to be especially effective in reducing stress levels.
DON'T take anyone else's inventory-When a person is in recovery for a drug or alcohol addiction, they should be acutely aware of the times when they are focused on other people's behavior. The reason that this can be detrimental to an otherwise effective relapse prevention plan is because a person who is weeding someone else's garden can rarely find the time that they need to weed their own; practically speaking, when a former addict is thoroughly committed to their own substance abuse recovery, they will not have time to take another person's inventory.
DO consistently eat a balanced diet and maintain a regular exercise schedule- These two things should be at the top of the list in relation to a successful drug or alcohol relapse prevention program; both of these actions will help a former addict to be healthier; additionally, regular physical activity is effective in reducing stress levels, which is an important element of relapse prevention. The benefits of maintaining a balanced diet and making physical exercise a priority has been well documented; but, both of these could be especially beneficial to a person who is recovering from a drug or alcohol addiction problem.
DON'T eat a lot of junk foods or have a sedentary lifestyle-When a former addict is in the beginning stages of the substance abuse recovery process, it is important that they maintain balance and structure in every single aspect of their lives. Scheduling times to eat regular meals and allowing time for lots of physical activity, are healthy habits that should be developed. Going to the gym or taking a cooking class can be things that a person in recovery from addiction can do in place of their previous substance abuse related activities.
DO make sure that your sobriety is your number one priority-This one thing is the most important aspect of any effective drug or alcohol relapse prevention plan. The reason that this is vital should be obvious, if a former addict loses their sobriety, it will create a negative impact on every other aspect of their lives; this includes their physical health, their family and work relationships, and their self-esteem. If would be easy for a former addict to think that missing a recovery support meeting because a friend needs them to help her out would be no big deal, but this action could potentially be the first step towards a drug or alcohol relapse.
DON'T allow anything to come between you and your long term abstinence-In terms of a successful relapse prevention plan, having firm boundaries regarding your substance abuse recovery program, may be the most important step that a person in recovery can take. A person that is serious about the goal of maintaining abstinence for the rest of their lives should be prepared to dedicate themselves to the substance abuse recovery process; additionally, they should not let anyone or anything keep them from doing the things that are necessary to be able to be successful at avoiding a drug or alcohol relapse. Not letting anything come between a former addict and their sobriety will require them to make a firm commitment to always going the extra mile in relation to their recovery; this includes taking the time to develop healthy new life skills, which may include relearning many of their basic social and communication skills.
DO keep track of all of your substance abuse recovery accomplishments- It is important for an individual who is recovering from a drug or alcohol addiction problem to set meaningful treatment goals, as having a goal to work towards can often be a powerful antidote to a drug or alcohol relapse; however, it is equally important that the former addict steps back to take note of their many recovery accomplishments.
DON'T spend a lot of time ruminating about past failures-In relation to relapse prevention, a person in recovery for a drug or alcohol addiction should not be spending a lot of time thinking about the mistakes that they have made in the past. If the former addict has successfully completed a quality drug rehab program, they will have already been given the opportunity to be able to look at these behaviors and have made appropriate amends when it has been possible or appropriate. After a person in recovery has done all that they can do to make amends, they should continue to move forward with confidence in the recovery process.
DO review the list of drug or alcohol triggers that are specific to your environment-In terms of relapse prevention, a former addict should always be on high alert regarding their drug and alcohol triggers; because change is inevitable, a former addict may have to do annual reviews of their drug and alcohol relapse trigger list, so that they can easily identify anything that is new to their environment that could hinder their substance abuse recovery process.
DON'T become complacent about any aspect of the substance abuse recovery process- In relation to relapse prevention; it is easy to become overconfident about your recovery. Some former addicts in recovery will even go so far as to memorize their drug or alcohol triggers; others may carry a written list with them is their wallet or purse, so that they can refer to it daily. Unfortunately, these same former addicts who are so committed to their recovery may not take time to revise their personal list of drug and alcohol triggers, when circumstances in their lives change.
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