Once you have finished with a rehab program, you’ve made the commitment to living a clean and sober life. But what happens when you find yourself struggling again? Relapse is not unusual in recovering addicts because the cravings and the temptation can be very strong and they are often unprepared to deal with it. There are actually three stages of alcohol relapse which you should be aware of. When you find yourself in a situation that could cause relapse, it’s important to know how to handle yourself and what steps will keep your sobriety intact.

1. Identify Your Triggers

It can be helpful to identify what it is that causes you to drink or use drugs. Once you know, then it will be easier for you to avoid those triggers and find other coping strategies instead. In addition to things that compel you to engage in that behavior, you need to distinguish what triggers you psychologically and emotionally. These triggers are often harder to recognize and can be more difficult to manage. But, if you know what they are, it will be easier for you to deal with them before relapse is an issue.

Don’t forget that there may also be physical triggers like the smell of alcohol or food cravings connected with drugs and these can make avoiding your substance very difficult. It’s important to identify all of these to be as prepared as possible.

2. Create an Action Plan

Set goals for yourself and figure out how you are going to achieve them. Write them down afterward as well. This will help you feel committed to them and it will be easier than just thinking about what you want.

When you create a plan, make sure that you also formulate strategies for coping with urges, cravings, or stressful situations that could lead to relapse. If the temptation arises again you will know how to handle yourself without giving in.

3. Be Honest with Yourself

You are going to have good days and bad days; that comes with the healing process. When people relapse after treatment, many admit that they were not being entirely truthful with themselves or someone else within their support network.  Being open and honest with yourself about your situation is a very healthy way to approach sobriety. It’s important to be able to admit when you are struggling and to also be willing to ask for help.

The best way to do this is to find a support group among others who are also in recovery. If you don’t want to do that, you can find a sponsor or another person with whom you can be honest about your progress and feelings.

4. Stay Active

Make sure that exercise is part of your daily routine. Not only does it help to relieve stress, but it also can help you to stay sober. When you’re feeling down or struggling, going for a walk or hitting the gym can do wonders to improve your mood and give you some perspective.

Staying active is not just about physical health, though. Make sure that you are also staying involved in activities that you enjoy and that make you happy. This can help ward off boredom and depression, which are two common relapse causes.

5. Remind Yourself Why You Quit

When all else fails, remind yourself why you quit in the first place or why you don’t want to go back to rehab. While this seems like a very basic step, it is often something that people forget. Keep a picture of yourself when you were at your worst or a list of reasons why you don’t want to go back to that lifestyle and pull it out when you are feeling weak or down. It can also be helpful to have an accountability partner who will help keep you on track. This could be a friend, family member, or fellow recovering addict.

If you follow these 5 recovery tips, you should be able to keep yourself on track and prevent any relapse.  Don’t forget that there are also some important things you can do like getting sleep and eating healthy foods. This will help strengthen your resolve as well!

If you or a loved one is suffering from an addiction or a relapse, or for more information on how to cope with recovery, find a rehab near you here: https://www.rehab.com/