5 Rules Patients Must Follow To Prevent Relapse After Addiction Recovery

Published on 18/02/2024 by admin

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Last modified 18/02/2024

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Substance use is a global issue, affecting millions of people around the world. Canada has witnessed an unprecedented surge in addiction cases in recent years, specifically after the legalization of recreational cannabis in the country in 2018. According to the latest statistics, Canada is going through an opioid crisis with increasing hospitalizations and deaths due to drugs like heroin and fentanyl.

Nearly 44% of Canadians consider it a serious problem that needs to be addressed firmly. Even worse, 18% report that they have tried an illegal substance at some point in their lifespan. Alcoholism is also a big issue, with 20% of the Canadian population struggling with heavy drinking. Fortunately, people are seeking help to address addiction and regain control.

However, the picture does not look too bright for those coming out of recovery. The typical in-patient recovery period in Canada is less than a month, which is far shorter than the expected time required for a life-changing transformation. As someone looking to maintain sobriety for good, you need to have strict dedication to recovery needs and relapse prevention.

In this article, we will highlight a few unspoken rules every patient must abide by to prevent relapse after recovering from substance abuse disorder.

Rule #1: Commit to Ongoing Treatment 

Addiction recovery is a long road rather than a one-time event. For some, it is a lifelong journey, with each day bringing a fresh set of challenges. Statistics show that the relapse rate ranges from 40-60%, which seems a very high percentage. However, it is comparable to that of other chronic diseases such as asthma or hypertension. 

Canada has several substance addiction treatment facilities, but these have long waiting lines. You may have more options in provinces like Ontario as they have relatively more addiction treatment facilities offering these services. Residents of Ottawa, in particular, can easily access services and support, but recovery goes beyond the time you spend in institutional settings.

To prevent relapse, you must commit to ongoing treatment. Consider attending therapy sessions and engaging in activities that promote mental and emotional well-being. Regular therapy sessions allow you to address underlying issues and keep relapse at bay.

According to the Canadian Centre for Addictions, an extended treatment program is the best way to limit the risk of relapse. Look for a treatment facility offering at least 18 months of program durations. The longer you stay on treatment, the better your chances of staying away from addiction for the long haul. 

Rule #2: Build a Robust Support System

Besides ongoing treatment, a robust support system is a crucial element of substance addiction recovery. Having a strong support system enables you to maintain sobriety during the recovery journey. Consider building a robust support system with your therapists, family members, friends, colleagues, and community members.

The World Health Organization emphasizes the significance of mutual support with self-help groups in this context. You can join support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. They provide a sense of community and accountability, keeping you from feeling tempted to give up the commitment to staying clean.

The good thing about joining such communities is that you connect with people who understand the challenges of addiction and provide encouragement and guidance. Being surrounded by positive influences enables you to get through challenging times and stay motivated to maintain your sobriety.

Rule #3: Identify and Avoid Triggers

According to Very Well Mind, people recovering from addiction often encounter triggers that push them closer to relapse. Stressful situations, negative emotions, things that remind one of addiction, and people who encourage substance use are a few factors. At times, you may even give in during celebrations.

Learn to identify the triggers that may evoke cravings and lead to relapse. You must also develop strategies to avoid or cope with them effectively. For example, stay away from people who engage in substance use and avoid social settings where drugs or alcohol are present. Seek healthy coping mechanisms to deal with stress or negative emotions.

Rule #4: Practice Self-Care

Self-care is a critical component of addiction recovery. Furthermore, it plays a key role in maintaining sobriety and preventing relapse for patients. Individuals in recovery should prioritize their physical, emotional and mental well-being besides focusing on medication adherence and therapy sessions. It is about building resilience and strength to cope with unhealthy cravings.

Try engaging in activities that promote mindfulness, relaxation, and overall well-being. A nutritious diet, adequate sleep and exercise are the basics. Additionally, commit to spending time in nature, embracing new hobbies and integrating meditation into your daily routine. Self-care empowers you with self-control and reduces the likelihood of turning to substances during challenging moments.

Rule #5: Stay Committed to Recovery Goals

Studies show that people recovering from addiction frequently encounter relapses. They are seen as an inevitable part of the process. However, it is possible to reduce the probability of a relapse if you are committed to your recovery goals. Start by creating realistic goals in the first place because trying too hard can lead to stress, a contributory factor for a relapse.

After setting actionable goals for overcoming dependence, divide them into smaller milestones and celebrate each of them as a big achievement. Also, stay focused on the long-term benefits of sobriety. Seek a sense of purpose and direction, whether it is rebuilding relationships, pursuing new career aspirations, or finding fresh hobbies and interests.

These simple measures help you maintain a positive outlook and overcome obstacles without resorting to substance use again. Remember to have a plan B because you may always slip at some point. Practice patience and self-compassion during such times.

In conclusion, addiction recovery is not a one-time achievement but a long road to sobriety. You may fall short of commitment and go into relapse during the journey. Many people experience this issue, making it a concern for everyone involved in the treatment program. Perseverance, dedication and a proactive approach to maintaining sobriety can be your saviors. Adopt these rules to reduce the risk of relapse and enjoy a fulfilling life free from addiction.