The best way to maintain your recovery is to take all the information you learned in treatment, along with the skills and coping mechanisms you were taught, and practice them. However, it may make sense for you to prepare an actual checklist to keep in mind during recovery. To get a handle on what is involved in a recovery check-up, understand the risks for relapse, learn what you must focus on to stay sober and figure out which skills you need to avoid relapse.
Many problems can put your recovery at risk, so plan to deal with those problems before they occur. In the post, Overcoming Drug Addiction, the authors advise recovering addicts to see that sobriety may force them to change their lives, such as the way they deal with stress, whom they allow into their lives, what they must in their free time and how they think about themselves. Change is sometimes difficult to accomplish, so look at each of these components carefully, identify your current situation in each category, evaluate if your current situation puts you at risk and then plan to change what you must to stay sober.
The aforementioned post also cautions recovering addicts to be aware of triggers that can put them at risk for relapsing into substance abuse. Some triggers include negative emotional states, physical discomfort, conflict with others and social pressures. These problems cause distress, but other triggers do so subtly, such as positive emotional states, celebrations or just thinking about testing your personal control.
How effectively you cope with drug cravings may also threaten your recovery. You cannot avoid cravings, especially when you are unaware that a craving is underway, so make a list of ways you can respond when cravings strike. When you want to abuse drugs, you may think irrationally, so an easily accessible list can make the difference between you staying sober and relapsing. Some ideas for coping with cravings include getting involved in some distracting activity, talking it through and keeping a list of the benefits of staying sober.
Necessary Elements of Recovery
The information in this section may sound familiar, because you probably heard these ideas in your treatment program. In the post, 10 Tips for Recovering from Addiction, the following thoughts can be the keystones of your recovery:
- Prioritize your recovery by putting yourself first and consistently reaching out to professionals who can provide sound advice throughout your recovery
- Take recovery one day at a time by living in the moment, accepting the past and learning ways to overcome negative thoughts and feelings
- Communicate with your support system for a boost and to stay motivated for recovery
- Surround yourself with positive people, things and experiences that stimulate your body and mind in new, exciting and healthy ways
- If necessary, change your friends to positive people who value your recovery
- Spend 30-60 minutes walking or at the gym a few days a week to boost both your physical and mental health
- Eating right is another key ingredient to a successful recovery
- A support group can provide value, help and wisdom to your recovery efforts
- Succeeding at your job or giving back to a cause you believe in will give you a sense of accomplishment and pride
The most important tip is never to give up. Rely on your family, friends and support tools to keep going in the face of temptations and difficult days.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration created a brochure for counselors to help recovering addicts avoid relapse. The Counselor’s Manual for Relapse Prevention describes skills that empower people to stay clean, and it points out that people who avoid relapse tend to show the following qualities:
- Self-regulate thinking, feeling, memory, judgment and behavior
- Understand and accept situations that have led to past relapse
- Understand the general factors that cause relapse
- Recognize personal relapse warning signs increase
- Manage relapse warning signs increase
- See the relationship between relapse warning signs and recovery program recommendations
- Use daily inventory techniques to identify relapse warning signs
- A responsible attitude for including significant others in recovery and in relapse prevention efforts
- Regularly update relapse prevention plans during the first 3 years of sobriety
Being aware, taking control, having plans, surrounding yourself with positive and supportive people and giving yourself a recovery check-up periodically will all go a long way to help you succeed in your sobriety. In short, if you want to get and stay clean from addiction, then be sure to practice the lessons you learned in rehab, and stay on top of your plan to avoid relapse.
How to Give Yourself a Recovery Check-Up
To avoid relapse, give yourself a recovery check-up periodically, but, to learn more about this procedure, please call our toll-free helpline today. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day to answer your questions and to provide you with useful resources so you can prioritize recovery.