Relapse Prevention During a Crisis
Relapse prevention is a crucial subject that must not be forgotten during the coronavirus epidemic.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) defines “relapse” as when an addict starts using drugs or alcohol again after being sober for a while. The truth is, relapse happens, even to those who have completed drug and alcohol treatment programs.
Addiction is a brain disorder, and healing the brain can take years. The Center for Disease Control claims 60 percent of people who manage to stay clean for two years, remain clean.
Most statistics on relapse prevention and recovery are not gathered during a crisis, like the COVID19 scare. Reports from rehab centers let us know that addicts are fearful of relapsing during this crisis. They fear to be alone, stuck at home, and bored. All their fears are legitimate and have been known to be relapse triggers.
We want to ease your fears. You can stay sober during any crisis if you implement specific relapse prevention actions, some of which are listed below.
Relapse Prevention Starts With Logical Crisis Evaluation
Trying to avoid a relapse can feel like a major crisis every day. It’s like you are continually being tested and tempted. You are in survival mode 24/7, just hanging on to sobriety the best you can.
The less time you have in sobriety, the less confident you feel in recovery.
One tip to help you is to analyze the crisis day by day, and realistically apply it to your life, if it applies.
Today, you are in recovery and have been asked to stay home due to the coronavirus threat. What is the real crisis today, at this moment? There isn’t any. Avoid overreacting to something that is not an immediate threat.
You are still sober, so we are not in a relapse crisis. You have not been exposed to a virus or any other threat. Therefore, today you are not in a crisis. Do not focus on the “ifs” and “buts” the media puts out there. Focus only on your well-being.
The meaning of “crisis” needs to be changed in your mind to help prevent relapse.
To prevent relapse, you must redefine what crisis means. To most, crisis means a disaster or a time of extreme danger or threat. Because our nation has been doing such a great job at preventing the spread of COVID19, it is not even a crisis right now.
If it becomes more of a crisis in the future, you can deal with it then. Your sobriety is something you can control, so stay focused on your goal.
You have all the power right now. Do not give your power away to a “crisis” or a relapse. Start implementing the relapse prevention tips you have learned.
Avoid Mainstream Media
You turn on the television and start flipping through the channels. Mainstream news outlets are reporting death tolls, crime reports, and bashing politicians on both sides. Your favorite actor may be starring in a movie, but the film shows them glamorizing alcohol and drugs or a criminal lifestyle.
Even music television stations fill their schedules with shows of drunk young adults with no responsibilities and teen moms having babies.
This may be entertainment for some people, but for someone trying to stay sober, these shows can cause stress and trigger a relapse. There is no one new in their recovery that can watch other people get high or drunk and not crave. Therefore, avoid the media that triggers a craving.
Instead, find media outlets that help you stay sober. There are numerous positive podcasts on recovery.
There are plenty of blogs and books that don’t involve getting high, killing, or cheating. Find an outlet that inspires you to stay sober.
Make it your job to create an extended list of positive resources for people in recovery and then share it on social media to help others who may be struggling.
Jumping back on social media outlets and communicating with “friends” who are still using or who could be a negative influence is a bad idea. You are setting yourself up to be triggered to relapse. The people from your addicted past are not bad, but they are not in a place where they want to help you stay sober.
They will do what they can to help you relapse because using drugs and alcohol is much easier than doing it with someone else. Misery loves company.
It would help if you found new social media friends and support to prevent relapse. Online AA and NA groups, drug and alcohol support groups, mental health support groups, and groups for positive living exist and are waiting for you to join.
These groups exist on every social media platform, and they find ways to meet daily through chat rooms, group posts, and video messaging. To search, type in your issue, and wait for the results. For example, “alcohol addiction support.”
You may be surprised at the hundreds of results from which you can choose.
Relapse Prevention Ends With Staying Busy
Boredom is a big trigger. In the past, getting high erased any feelings of boredom. Truthfully, it erased the need to feel at all.
Staying busy during recovery is a must. Just because you are limited to where you can go, there are still a million things you can do to distract you from using.
Turn a hobby into an online business, start your version of a recovery group, write a book on your life, clean out the basement and sell stuff on eBay, get creative with cooking, repair everything that has been neglected in your home and yard for years, go back to college online, attend online meetings several times a day, test your artistic skills, get a pet and improve your caretaking skills, or create a workout routine inside your home.
Avoid the urge to sit around, watch tv, or play video games.
Choosing to stay busy keeps you focused on your goal of staying sober. And the strength you gain by staying sober is how you can conquer any crisis.