6 Ways to Guard Against Relapse When Transitioning Back to Living Alone

6 Ways to Guard Against Relapse When Transitioning Back to Living AloneAfter completing a rehab program, many people return to their lives as they were before. While substance abuse and addiction hopefully stay as things of the past, being independent, having a place to call home and going to work all present new challenges to your recovery. A newly recovering addict who lived alone before rehab began will likely live alone again, but this fact does not have to make addiction recovery more difficult. If you guard against relapse with the following six tips, then you can transition back to living alone while you stay clean.

Be Aware of the Early Warning Signs of Relapse

AddictionsAndRecovery.org suggests that the key to preventing relapse is understanding that there are different stages of drug abuse that all come with unique warning signs. Most people think of relapse as a single event in which someone abuses a substance after recovering from an addiction to it. However, the three stages of relapse include emotional, mental and physical issues. The last stage is the event in which someone physically consumes a substance, but, before that ever happens, people first experience emotional relapse, which serves as an early warning sign for drug abuse. Emotional relapse is typically characterized by the following issues:

  • Anxiety
  • Anger
  • Defensiveness
  • Mood swings
  • Isolation
  • Avoiding recovery meetings
  • Resisting help for drug cravings
  • Poor eating and sleeping habits

If a recovering addict can recognize emotional relapse, then she can change her behavior, ask for help and continue to attend 12-step meetings and therapy sessions. In short, this kind of support will help her overcome relapse before it gets too far.

Mental relapse is the next stage after emotional relapse occurs, and it is characterized by continuously thinking about using drugs yet again. A person who experiences mental relapse will likely think about people, places and things that he once associated with his substance abuse. The recovering addict will glamorize his past drug use, begin lying to others about how he is doing, meet with old drug-using friends and finally start planning the relapse. The last stage is physical relapse, which means he ignored the early warning signs of drug abuse.

Have Immediate Support Available

The most important thing for a newly recovering addict to have available, especially if she is living independently and alone, is immediate support. Dr. Howard Samuels suggests having support partners and therapists on speed dial. When a negative thought will not go away or when a temptation continues to build up, it is essential to contact someone who can help you overcome the situation. In the event that you cannot reach someone, drop everything and drive to meet someone where he might be.

Stay in Therapy

Continued therapy is an essential part of addiction recovery, but it can be even more necessary for recovering addicts who live alone. It is important to have continual checkups that ensure recovery is going smoothly; you must be able to talk through things when they are rough. Therapists are trained to spot when recovery is tough, even when the addict is hiding drug abuse. If your professional therapist is available for help, then that is one of the most beneficial ways to stay sober for the long haul.

Continue to Attend 12-Step Group Meetings

12-step meetings can provide companionship for isolated recovering addicts, along with ongoing support. You can find support partners through 12-step group meetings where you can meet recovering addicts numerous times a week to support and advise others. It is also an opportunity for recovering addicts to hear and share similar stories of struggles and successes, which means they will know they have company in recovery.

Exercise and Get Enough Rest

A regular exercise routine, healthy eating habits and proper rest are important aspects of addiction recovery. When recovering addicts take care of their bodies by eating healthy and exercising, they become more committed to avoiding drugs and thwarting the work they did to get healthy. Having a good balance between exercise and rest gives a recovering addict not only something to do, but it can also make her more efficient at everything she does.

Stay Away from People, Places and Things Associated with Substance Abuse

One of the biggest downfalls for recovering addicts is revisiting a person, place or thing that they once associated with substance abuse. For instance, a recovering addict may want to check up on an old-drug using friends to see how they are doing, but inevitably such contact will expose a recovering addict to an addictive substance that he may lack the strength to resist. Going to a particular place where they obtained their drugs can also set off a relapse trigger.

Find Professional Treatment for Substance Abuse or Addiction

If you or someone you know struggles with substance abuse or addiction, then please call our toll-free helpline now. Our admissions coordinators are standing by 24 hours a day to help you find a professional treatment program that will work for you. Do not let a struggle with addiction keep you from living a full life; call us today for instant, professional support.