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Guarding Against Setbacks: What Are Some Strategies for Relapse Prevention?

For many, relapse can be a part of the recovery journey. It is important to consider relapse as a stumbling block along the way to recovery, but not a reason to believe that long-term sobriety is not still an option for you. There are steps for relapse prevention that everyone can take. Some of those relapse prevention methods can be influenced by the type of substance that you are in recovery from. 

The substance you may be in recovery from could be a depressant such as alcohol or a stimulant like cocaine. While taking steps towards relapse prevention, it is important to consider how this substance influenced your mood and behavior. It is also necessary to consider what specific thoughts, feelings, and other factors caused you to turn to this substance in the first place. As you develop a deeper understanding of your past struggle with substance use, you can begin to better know yourself and how to prevent relapse. 

At Sage Recovery, our goal is to give you every tool possible to help you navigate your recovery. By providing you with the support you need, we can help you to prevent relapse and enjoy long-term successful sobriety. 

Relapse Prevention: Avoiding Depressant Relapse

Those who are in recovery from a depressant substance will need to consider how that substance made them feel and why they felt the need to turn to that substance in the first place. One of the most common depressants is alcohol. Other depressants include commonly misused drugs like barbiturates and benzodiazepines like Xanax or Valium. 

Depressants slow down the central nervous system, inducing relaxation and sleep and reducing overall stimulation. Many people may turn to these substances to cope with negative emotions such as stress or anxiety. This is an important factor to keep in mind when considering treatment and relapse prevention. 

For example, are you someone who often poured yourself a drink to try to relax after a long day or find relief from stress? If so, an important relapse strategy to focus on is effective stress management. How can you manage stress without having to rely on alcohol? Consider incorporating some of the following methods of stress management in your relapse prevention plan: 

These stress management techniques are not meant to replace traditional forms of treatment that an addiction specialist may recommend. However, they can be useful strategies that can play an important role in avoiding relapse and improving your overall mental health. 

Relapse Prevention: Avoiding Stimulant Relapse

Compared to depressants, stimulants have the opposite effect on the body by speeding up the central nervous system. They often lead to a sense of exhilaration or excitement. Some common illegal stimulant drugs include cocaine or methamphetamine. Additionally, some prescription stimulants are often misused, such as amphetamines that are used to treat conditions like attention-deficit disorder (ADHD). Some examples of these include Ritalin, Vyvanese, and Adderall. 

If you are in recovery from a stimulant drug, consider what led you to start using that substance in the first place. Perhaps, you were in pursuit of the exhilaration or the type of “high” it provided. Maybe you were trying to find a temporary escape from your own life circumstances. It is possible that you’re not quite sure what factors could have played a role in your addiction. 

If this is your case, a treatment option such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) may become an important part of your treatment and relapse prevention. CBT involves working with a therapist to determine a functional analysis that will help you better understand yourself and your mental health. For example, this method of treatment can help to identify thoughts, feelings, or memories that influenced your past stimulant use.  

Once you have a better understanding of these things, you can begin to work through them and heal. CBT is one of the many addiction treatment methods that we offer at Sage Recovery. We believe this treatment method can play an important role in preventing relapse. 

Relapse Prevention for All

No matter what substance you may be in recovery from, there are some relapse prevention techniques that every person hoping to achieve sobriety needs. One of the most crucial things necessary to prevent relapse is a strong support system. There is strength in numbers, and recovery is not intended to be done alone. You need people that you can depend on to lift you up and encourage you along the way. 

Your support system may consist of family members, friends, and members of your 12-Step support group. These are people who want to see you succeed and are willing to support you in any way possible as you navigate this journey. 

Some people enter recovery and never turn back or experience a relapse. Other people may experience many relapses along their recovery journey. While relapse is often at the beginning of the recovery journey, it can happen at any time. It can even happen to someone who has been sober for many years. This is why it is important to consider relapse strategies and to keep putting in the work to protect your sobriety every day. At Sage Recovery, our team has helped many people get sober and stay sober. We can help you, too. If you are ready to begin your own journey, call (512) 306-1394 today to learn more.