You’ve completed your addiction treatment and made the decision to get sober. You’ve worked hard, so don’t risk your sobriety. This article will cover the top 10 things to avoid after you complete addiction treatment.
The biggest thing that will help you avoid a relapse is seeking help whenever you feel it’s necessary. If you feel that a relapse is a possibility, call a trusted friend, sponsor or family member.
Know Your Habits
Carefully examining your behavior will allow you to avoid potentially harmful acts that may risk your sobriety.
- Know Your Triggers and Avoid Them – A trigger is anything that creates a craving. This craving can result in a relapse if gone unchecked. By knowing what your triggers are, you can avoid them. Write down a list of things that trigger cravings or urges. Examples of triggers are visiting a bar, having a cigarette or even listening to a certain song. Sometimes seeing an old friend who you once used with is a trigger. Even reading a certain magazine may be a trigger. Once you have a list of every trigger that you are aware of, avoid them at all costs. Put avoiding triggers at the forefront of your mind to remain sober.
- Replacement Addictions – A replacement addiction can be anything that you become obsessed with in an attempt to keep your mind off of your DOC. This can be an addiction to sex, shopping, food or work. While an addiction to shopping is much less life threatening than an addiction to a narcotic, it may lead to future problems. By taking on another addiction, you are not dealing with the underlying cause of addiction, but simply giving it something else to focus on. It’s only a matter of time before the addictive tendencies will focus back on using.
- Major Life Changes – The first year of sobriety is usually much more painful than the entire time spent using, even when it became painful. Avoid self-medicating by doing your best to stay away from chaos or big changes. This can include a major move, job change or ending/starting a relationship. Thoroughly consider each decision you make. Ask yourself, “Why do I want to do this?”
Know Your Mind
A relapse begins in the mind before it leads to any action. Know your mind to prevent a relapse.
- Unmanaged Stress – Stress has been a primary cause of use for many addicts. Even if you’ve never had a problem with stress, it may become a trigger now that you’re sober. Be constantly aware of your stress level. Seek an activity, such as hiking or yoga, which will help you relieve stress. Do this whenever you feel stress building up.
- Doubt or Insecurity About Your Strength – Creeping doubts and insecurities that you aren’t strong enough to be sober are self-fulfilling prophecies. Know that you are strong enough. If you are feeling weak, call your sponsor, close friend or family member. Seek outside help whenever you feel it necessary.
- Abnormal Eating or Sleeping Patterns – Having an “off” day now and then is normal. However, if you have noticed that you sleep at odd hours and have strange eating habits, there may be an underlying cause. You may be depressed or scared. Chances are this is a sign that it’s time to seek help. Visit your support group, therapist or counselor.
- Arrogant Thinking – Having confidence in your abilities to remain sober is a great thing. However, if you cross the line into arrogance you are in danger. This is the thought that you don’t need anybody to help you. The thought that you don’t need counseling or support groups. This can go as far as completely denying that you have a serious addiction. If you notice these thought patterns, seek help from a trusted source as soon as possible.
Know Your Surroundings
Being in the wrong place at the wrong time can risk your sobriety. Always be aware of your surroundings.
- Social Situations That Promote Use – There are certain social situations that promote the use of certain poisons. Weddings have alcohol. You may be invited to the home of a friend who promotes smoking marijuana. Look into your past struggles with addiction and make a list of places and situations that had you using. Avoid these situations at all costs. If you find yourself in one of those situations, know that it will be difficult. Have a sponsor or trusted friend on standby to call if you become tempted. If you feel you’ll be unable to resist, don’t put yourself in the situation.
- People Who Use – Avoid every single person with whom you have used drugs. The only exception is if they have also gone through addiction treatment and are living a sober life. If you have friends or family who are using, avoid them even if it’s hard, because it is crucial. Being around people who use can be a very strong trigger.
- 10. Extreme Isolation – Being completely alone for an extended period of time is dangerous. Many times, it’s when you’re alone that you may have too much time to think. This means you follow thought patterns that lead to feeling weak against your cravings. If you find yourself in prolonged isolation, take a walk, call a friend and just get around other people.
By carefully examining your habits, mental processes and surroundings you can remain sober. You’ve come so far and you can’t take any chances when it comes to staying sober; it is your #1 priority. Handle yourself with care.