The people you surround yourself with may influence your recovery or hasten a relapse. The people that surround you are a reflection of yourself. When you leave treatment, you are no longer the person you once were, but are instead a brand new version of yourself. If you go back and hang out with the friends or family members that got you into trouble in the first place, you are setting yourself up for failure.
A person’s environment is an important factor to maintaining recovery. Your living space can be another contributing factor for relapse. Most former active addicts lived in an area that had easy access to their substance of choice. It is highly recommended that you move into a sober living house or transitional living home for a short period of time. These places will not only help you adjust to life outside rehab, but they will give you a support group of like minded individuals who are trying to stay the same course.
Another factor that puts you at a higher risk for relapse is the lack of a support structure. When you’re in treatment, you are held to a tight schedule, and not many people can deal with life after rehab because their lives lack direction and accountability. There are two ways of going about making your own support structure. The first is getting a counselor that you meet with on a regular basis, the frequency of which is entirely dependent upon your needs.
It’s important to look for and find a support group. This is the more casual route to take since a support support group may be several well-grounded friends or a spiritual center like a church, temple or mosque. In fact, many spiritual centers have support groups designed specifically for people like you who are looking for accountability. There are also long standing support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous who have a great track record and a great mentoring program which helps maintain sobriety and reduces the risk of relapse
Being involved with a sponsor or mentor in your first year of sobriety is crucial. Having a support group around you to keep you accountable is one of the most powerful tools for you to use in recovery tp avoid relapse. Knowing that you have a team that is rooting for you can help in keeping your cravings in check and keep your mind focused.
In order to keep the mind sharp, one could also participate in some mental exercises. This can include mediation and physical exercise, and while that may seem like an odd pairing, both have been known to release dopamine and serotonin into the brain that allow your mind to relax. These chemicals come naturally, and when combined with the rush of endorphins, can create a potent package that will help heal the damaged portions of your brain. The more you do these two things, the better off you are going to be over time in decreasing the odds of a relapse.
Volunteering your time can be one of the most rewarding experiences because you are actively helping to improve the lives of others. Going to your former rehab and support groups can help you not only deal with your daily struggles, but help others see what recovery can look like and know that they are not alone. If you want an extra incentive to stay the course, choose to work at a low bottom or indigent recovery center. These places will show you the worst of the worst and remind you about how far you’ve come in your journey. Also, one can attend conventions and events for AA, NA and NAMI to further educate yourself and reach out to other addicts.
Knowing who you are is also a good way to combat addiction. To know how you are doing, whether you are happy or sad means you can tell when you are having trouble keeping yourself on the straight and narrow. Relapse occurs when you allow certain behaviors to slide. You’ll fall into habits you shouldn’t do anymore and you will soon be hitting the bottle or your drug of choice again. Keeping yourself in check and knowing when you’re slipping is important because you can get help before a relapse occurs.
Being active in your recovery is vital. Thinking that you are able to maintain a sober lifestyle without any work being put into it can end in relapse. One must be diligent about their new lease on life and protect it from the demons you know all too well. If you are able to work on this, and keep doing it, you’ll find that you’ll be the experienced one at the group meetings with years of wisdom under your belt. The road to recovery never truly ends, and success is a war without end, but the little victories will add up and pay off every time.