Preventing Relapse: Changing Your People and Places

Reviewed May 24, 2018

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Summary

To prevent relapse, it might require you to get honest about what things set off your craving. Telling those close to you about your triggers can help you avoid bad situations and decrease your chance for relapse.
 

Addiction can be a stubborn thing. For some, 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, smells, 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 can 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

Sometimes relapse 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 and she agreed to go. 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 place with the wrong people. Lucy could have chosen to go to a healthier place with people who support her recovery.

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. Staying connected to others in recovery, is one way to strengthen your commitment.   If you’re not sure if an event is a good idea, politely decline the invite.

By Drew Edwards, M.S., Ed.D.
Reviewed by Diane Hopewell, Wellness Support Specialist, Beacon Health Options

Summary

To prevent relapse, it might require you to get honest about what things set off your craving. Telling those close to you about your triggers can help you avoid bad situations and decrease your chance for relapse.
 

Addiction can be a stubborn thing. For some, 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, smells, 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 can 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

Sometimes relapse 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 and she agreed to go. 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 place with the wrong people. Lucy could have chosen to go to a healthier place with people who support her recovery.

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. Staying connected to others in recovery, is one way to strengthen your commitment.   If you’re not sure if an event is a good idea, politely decline the invite.

By Drew Edwards, M.S., Ed.D.
Reviewed by Diane Hopewell, Wellness Support Specialist, Beacon Health Options

Summary

To prevent relapse, it might require you to get honest about what things set off your craving. Telling those close to you about your triggers can help you avoid bad situations and decrease your chance for relapse.
 

Addiction can be a stubborn thing. For some, 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, smells, 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 can 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

Sometimes relapse 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 and she agreed to go. 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 place with the wrong people. Lucy could have chosen to go to a healthier place with people who support her recovery.

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. Staying connected to others in recovery, is one way to strengthen your commitment.   If you’re not sure if an event is a good idea, politely decline the invite.

By Drew Edwards, M.S., Ed.D.
Reviewed by Diane Hopewell, Wellness Support Specialist, Beacon Health Options

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, assessments, 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.  ©2018 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

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