Substance abuse is a global epidemic, as millions of people battle with some form of addiction. According to a survey, around 284 million people from the age group 15-64 used drugs in 2020. The number represents a whopping 26 percent uptick over the previous decade. The probable reason is that substances like cannabis, opium, tobacco and alcohol are easily available and accessible in many countries.
While things appear bleak, the silver lining is that help is at hand with thousands of rehab centers and treatment facilities for people looking to ditch addiction. While these centers help millions of people reclaim their lives, the problem persists. The number of facilities is still far from enough when it comes to dealing with the social malaise of substance abuse.
Besides the inadequacy of treatment venues, relapse is another major concern for patients and their families. Studies reflect that nearly 65-7o percent of people relapse within 90 days of completing a program at an inpatient drug and alcohol de-addiction center. Even worse, the numbers reach 85% within the first year.
Does that mean you should give up hope of full recovery from drug addiction? Is staying clean an impossible feat? While the battle is long and challenging, you can beat the odds by committing to sobriety and staying strong.
Let us share a few practical tips to navigate the challenge and keep the temptation at bay.
Seek Long-Term Support and Aftercare
Being a rehab patient, you cannot take a set-and-forget approach to addiction recovery. After completing an inpatient or outpatient program, you may be fully clean, but it hardly ensures lifelong sobriety. Look for a treatment facility that offers an addiction aftercare program as a part of the package. It ensures the long-term support you need to stay on the right track.
According to the Canadian Centre for Addictions, continued connection to recovery is the key to lasting freedom from addiction. Patients should seek long-term support and aftercare to maintain a healthy life and prevent relapse in the long run. Having someone to talk to and discuss your concerns makes you confident and helps you skip the temptation to go in the wrong direction again.
Know Your Triggers and Avoid Them
Did you know that stress increases the vulnerability to drug relapse even after recovery? Imagine giving your best to a rehab program, only to return to the habit in a weak moment.
Knowing your external and internal triggers is the best way to build your defenses against relapse. Steer clear of them to retain sobriety for the long haul. The common triggers you may confront after rehab and recovery are:
- Emotional distress
- Relationship challenges
- Environmental cues
- Bad company
- Financial issues
While it isn’t possible to avoid all these triggers, you can develop a strategy to mitigate the risk and stay clean. For example, coping skills like meditation help with stress. Building a strong bond with your partner can prevent relationship problems.
Beware of Relapse Red Flags
Relapse after recovery is more common than you imagine. But it seldom happens out of the blue because most people experience red flags early. Knowing the warning signs enables you to keep your guard up and develop coping skills to stay safe. All you need to do is watch out for the physical, mental and emotional red flags indicating a loss of control.
- Spending time with people who use drugs and alcohol
- Finding excuses to use alcohol or drugs to alleviate your problems
- Returning to negative thinking patterns
- Compulsive, detrimental behaviors
- Missing out on logical reasoning in your decisions
These red flags indicate you may fall back into relapse sooner than later. But you can prevent the situation by identifying them early and seeking counseling and support before it is too late.
Ditch Old Routines and Habits
Even the most committed patients fail to stay strong after a detox and de-addiction program. The initial stage is often the most challenging as you may encounter Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS), with symptoms such as anxiety, depression, irritability, sleep problems and fatigue. However, the struggle for sobriety doesn’t end even after getting through the initial phase.
But you can stay safe by ditching old routines and habits for good. Avoid hanging out in the same settings and with the same people in the first place. Make adjustments in your environment to maintain your dedication and strength. Remember that the smallest changes can make a big difference.
Embrace a Healthy Lifestyle
A healthy lifestyle is another factor that keeps you on the right side of sobriety. It includes more than physical health and mental well-being, but a holistic approach that extends to your relationships and financial well-being. Here are a few tips that set you up for lasting recovery:
Invest in self-care
Start by embracing self-care with a healthy diet, regular exercise and adequate sleep. Besides the basics of physical health, focus on mental well-being with habits like meditation, alone time and mindfulness. Also, be kind to yourself and have realistic expectations because failure is a part of the journey.
Strengthen your relationships
Toxic relationships are often linked with stress and drug abuse. They can even cause a relapse after recovery. Avoiding abusive relationships can help you stay sober. Instead, build and strengthen positive relationships with people who care about you and are ready to offer support during tough times.
Keep your finances on track
Financial stability is another factor that determines your risk of falling prey to unhealthy habits like substance abuse. Look for ways to get your finances back in order and concentrate on stabilizing them.
Maintaining sobriety after addiction recovery is not a mean feat, and most people fall for the temptation at some point. But it is achievable, provided you are willing to invest effort and dedication into your comeback journey.
You can depend on the support of your loved ones, but professional help always takes you the extra mile. Most importantly, find the strength within because it makes you a master of your destiny.