Preventing Relapse: Changing Your Playgrounds and Playmates

Reviewed May 12, 2017

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Summary

Preventing relapse will require you to be honest about what triggers your craving. Telling those close to you about your triggers will help you avoid bad situations and decrease your chance for relapse.
 

Addiction is a stubborn thing. It is a chronic and long-term relapsing disease. There are many reasons for this. It is one of the only diseases in which its symptoms—overusing drugs or alcohol—actually make you feel good, if just for a short while. So good in fact, that in spite of serious consequences, the want to drink or use drugs seems overwhelming.

A word about craving

Relapse also involves craving. Craving a drug or alcoholic drink is widely found in early recovery. Craving is triggered by sights, sounds, people, and places. Preventing relapse will require that you are honest about what things set off your craving. Telling those close to you about your triggers will help you avoid bad situations and lower your chance for relapse. Identifying your own triggers and telling others is a good way to start being responsible for your recovery. It also helps you learn about how this disease works for you.

Lucy’s story

It starts with a little lie you tell to yourself. For example, Lucy used to go to happy hour with friends after work for a couple drinks. This escalated to coming home drunk many nights a week which caused tremendous stress on her marriage. When her husband threatened to leave her, Lucy entered a local outpatient treatment program.

She had been sober for three months and was feeling confident. Her husband was out of town on business the same day her co-workers invited her out to happy hour, telling her she could drink diet sodas and just enjoy herself. Lucy agreed. This was the first little lie she told herself. Lucy never planned to get drunk that night. But she put herself in a high-risk setting with drinking friends. After an hour of drinking diet soda and watching her friends laughing and getting drunk she became bored and angry that she could not join in the fun.

Lucy decided she could have one glass of wine; the second little lie. She sipped it slowly as if to prove to herself she could handle it. So she had one more, then another, and another. Soon she was very drunk and tried to drive home. Three blocks from her home, Lucy was arrested for DUI and spent the night in jail.

In truth, Lucy’s relapse began early that day when her co-workers asked her out. Deep down she knew this was a bad idea, but with her husband gone she was even more vulnerable. In recovery groups they call it “stinking thinking.” Lucy was in the wrong playground with the wrong playmates. Her co-workers should not have put her in that position. They could have just as easily gone to see a movie or to a restaurant without drinking alcohol.

Relapse is a process, not an event

Relapse is provoked by many things. But you can take charge of where you go and who you are with. Changing your lifestyle can be very hard. If it were easy more people would succeed. It takes time to establish new friendships and recreational activities. But you must stay committed. Stay connected to others in recovery and when in doubt, just say, “No, thanks. Not today.”

By Drew Edwards, EdD, MS
Reviewed by Trenda Hedges, BS, CRSS, Recovery Team Manager, Beacon Health Options

Summary

Preventing relapse will require you to be honest about what triggers your craving. Telling those close to you about your triggers will help you avoid bad situations and decrease your chance for relapse.
 

Addiction is a stubborn thing. It is a chronic and long-term relapsing disease. There are many reasons for this. It is one of the only diseases in which its symptoms—overusing drugs or alcohol—actually make you feel good, if just for a short while. So good in fact, that in spite of serious consequences, the want to drink or use drugs seems overwhelming.

A word about craving

Relapse also involves craving. Craving a drug or alcoholic drink is widely found in early recovery. Craving is triggered by sights, sounds, people, and places. Preventing relapse will require that you are honest about what things set off your craving. Telling those close to you about your triggers will help you avoid bad situations and lower your chance for relapse. Identifying your own triggers and telling others is a good way to start being responsible for your recovery. It also helps you learn about how this disease works for you.

Lucy’s story

It starts with a little lie you tell to yourself. For example, Lucy used to go to happy hour with friends after work for a couple drinks. This escalated to coming home drunk many nights a week which caused tremendous stress on her marriage. When her husband threatened to leave her, Lucy entered a local outpatient treatment program.

She had been sober for three months and was feeling confident. Her husband was out of town on business the same day her co-workers invited her out to happy hour, telling her she could drink diet sodas and just enjoy herself. Lucy agreed. This was the first little lie she told herself. Lucy never planned to get drunk that night. But she put herself in a high-risk setting with drinking friends. After an hour of drinking diet soda and watching her friends laughing and getting drunk she became bored and angry that she could not join in the fun.

Lucy decided she could have one glass of wine; the second little lie. She sipped it slowly as if to prove to herself she could handle it. So she had one more, then another, and another. Soon she was very drunk and tried to drive home. Three blocks from her home, Lucy was arrested for DUI and spent the night in jail.

In truth, Lucy’s relapse began early that day when her co-workers asked her out. Deep down she knew this was a bad idea, but with her husband gone she was even more vulnerable. In recovery groups they call it “stinking thinking.” Lucy was in the wrong playground with the wrong playmates. Her co-workers should not have put her in that position. They could have just as easily gone to see a movie or to a restaurant without drinking alcohol.

Relapse is a process, not an event

Relapse is provoked by many things. But you can take charge of where you go and who you are with. Changing your lifestyle can be very hard. If it were easy more people would succeed. It takes time to establish new friendships and recreational activities. But you must stay committed. Stay connected to others in recovery and when in doubt, just say, “No, thanks. Not today.”

By Drew Edwards, EdD, MS
Reviewed by Trenda Hedges, BS, CRSS, Recovery Team Manager, Beacon Health Options

Summary

Preventing relapse will require you to be honest about what triggers your craving. Telling those close to you about your triggers will help you avoid bad situations and decrease your chance for relapse.
 

Addiction is a stubborn thing. It is a chronic and long-term relapsing disease. There are many reasons for this. It is one of the only diseases in which its symptoms—overusing drugs or alcohol—actually make you feel good, if just for a short while. So good in fact, that in spite of serious consequences, the want to drink or use drugs seems overwhelming.

A word about craving

Relapse also involves craving. Craving a drug or alcoholic drink is widely found in early recovery. Craving is triggered by sights, sounds, people, and places. Preventing relapse will require that you are honest about what things set off your craving. Telling those close to you about your triggers will help you avoid bad situations and lower your chance for relapse. Identifying your own triggers and telling others is a good way to start being responsible for your recovery. It also helps you learn about how this disease works for you.

Lucy’s story

It starts with a little lie you tell to yourself. For example, Lucy used to go to happy hour with friends after work for a couple drinks. This escalated to coming home drunk many nights a week which caused tremendous stress on her marriage. When her husband threatened to leave her, Lucy entered a local outpatient treatment program.

She had been sober for three months and was feeling confident. Her husband was out of town on business the same day her co-workers invited her out to happy hour, telling her she could drink diet sodas and just enjoy herself. Lucy agreed. This was the first little lie she told herself. Lucy never planned to get drunk that night. But she put herself in a high-risk setting with drinking friends. After an hour of drinking diet soda and watching her friends laughing and getting drunk she became bored and angry that she could not join in the fun.

Lucy decided she could have one glass of wine; the second little lie. She sipped it slowly as if to prove to herself she could handle it. So she had one more, then another, and another. Soon she was very drunk and tried to drive home. Three blocks from her home, Lucy was arrested for DUI and spent the night in jail.

In truth, Lucy’s relapse began early that day when her co-workers asked her out. Deep down she knew this was a bad idea, but with her husband gone she was even more vulnerable. In recovery groups they call it “stinking thinking.” Lucy was in the wrong playground with the wrong playmates. Her co-workers should not have put her in that position. They could have just as easily gone to see a movie or to a restaurant without drinking alcohol.

Relapse is a process, not an event

Relapse is provoked by many things. But you can take charge of where you go and who you are with. Changing your lifestyle can be very hard. If it were easy more people would succeed. It takes time to establish new friendships and recreational activities. But you must stay committed. Stay connected to others in recovery and when in doubt, just say, “No, thanks. Not today.”

By Drew Edwards, EdD, MS
Reviewed by Trenda Hedges, BS, CRSS, Recovery Team Manager, Beacon Health Options

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, quizzes, and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical, health care, psychiatric, psychological or behavioral health care advice. Nothing contained on the Achieve Solutions site is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care professional. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have concerns about your health, please contact your health care provider.  ©2017 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

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