Key Relapse Prevention Coping Skills for Addiction Recovery
Recovering from drug and substance use addiction is a lifelong process that is exhausting, stressful, overwhelming, and very lonely. If you or your loved one just graduated from treatment, you should create a relapse prevention plan to improve treatment outcomes and strengthen recovery efforts.
A relapse prevention plan should include relevant relapse prevention coping skills that make the rehabilitation process a positive and rewarding endeavour. Fortunately, you can learn most of these skills in drug rehab centres, such as The Retreat New Zealand.
Why Are Coping Skills for Relapse Prevention Important?
Coping skills to prevent relapse are important for anyone who wants to live happily after recovery. Over time, those recovering from drug and substance use addiction should implement these skills to prevent relapse and improve the quality of their lives. The recovery process following drug and alcohol addiction is a period of personal growth with significant developmental milestones.
With the risk of relapse at every stage, learning coping skills for relapse prevention is beneficial. Common triggers of relapse at various steps include:
- Relationship issues
- Financial challenges
- Anger and grief
- Specific people and places
Most drug treatment centres have programs that educate clients on various coping skills that help them recover successfully. Recovering persons can adapt various relapse prevention skills in their daily schedules to maintain recovery.
Relapse Prevention Coping Skills
1. Relax in All Situations
Stress and uneasiness are the two main contributors to drug and alcohol use. Learning relaxation and stress relief skills eliminate the urge to use alcohol to calm down. As such, most drug rehab centres teach clients various programs, such as cognitive behavioural therapy and dialectical behavioural therapy, which help them learn important relaxation skills.
Learning new ways of destressing makes managing various addiction challenges and maintaining sobriety easier. Common relaxation skills include:
- Nature walks
- Yoga and meditation
- Deep breathing
- Listening to music
- Warm baths
- Journaling and listing things that bring you happiness
2. Delaying Responses
Drug and alcohol use can exacerbate impulsive behaviours. Using drugs for long periods, even for recreational purposes, makes one more reactive. Addiction issues lead to serial lying, stealing, anger issues, and aggressiveness. Unfortunately, these rushed decisions always lead to painful consequences.
Learning to delay responses helps recovering persons manage impulsive decisions. With this, you can make informed and rational decisions. Delaying skills are especially important during intense and stressful situations where you feel pressured or rushed. Always take your time and think through the whole situation before responding. Recovering persons can use this skill daily to maintain relationships, change habits, and manage emotions.
3. Practice Mindfulness and Meditation
Practising meditation and mindfulness can help recovering persons handle difficult emotions and thought patterns, evaluate internal feelings, and focus on the present without negativity and judgment. Several studies have shown that meditation and mindfulness help relax the mind and positively affect the body.
The benefits of practising meditation and mindfulness include the following:
- Flexible approach to life situations
- Better kindness and compassion
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Improves concentration and mental clarity
- Better self-control
- Improves emotional intelligence
As mentioned, recovering from drug and substance use addiction is stressful and overwhelming. However, mindfulness and meditation techniques help affected persons manage these agonizing situations.
4. Be Honest with Self and Others
As mentioned, lying becomes a default habit for anyone struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. Before committing to recovery, most people lie about their substance abuse history. For instance, some lie about how drug use affects their bodies, family relationships, work, and more. Most addicts lie to keep using these drugs due to addiction.
Those recovering from substance use addiction should learn to be honest and tell the truth. Being honest with yourself and others is an important skill for anyone to achieve long-term recovery successfully. For instance, make it clear if you have issues with your family members and can’t forgive them. Similarly, if you are still struggling with cravings, ask for support from your friends, family, and sober community members.
5. Exercise Regularly
Exercising regularly and living an active lifestyle are also beneficial to addiction recovery and relapse prevention. Exercising, which includes simple physical activities, stimulates the release of endorphins in the body, which are the feel-good hormones. Through this, physical activity relieves stress, reduces depressive symptoms, and helps eliminate chemicals and other toxins in the body absorbed from drugs. You should also make it a routine to eat a proper diet after strenuous workouts.
6. Have a Daily Journal and Gratitude List
Journaling is an excellent way to release, express, and workout on thoughts and inner feelings. Most people start abusing drugs and easily relapse into drug use because of unexpressed thoughts and emotions. Having these thoughts on paper helps recovering persons handle their emotions better and more efficiently.
That aside, journaling daily is a way of taking inventory of your life. It helps you acknowledge real-life situations, what to improve, and what you are grateful for. Generally, developing journaling skills can help those recovering from drug use addiction maintain a positive attitude and avoid relapse.
7. Get Busy
Idleness and boredom significantly contribute to drug and alcohol use. Therefore, as you prepare for discharge from drug rehab, you should find something engaging to do. You should replace old habits with positive habits to prevent relapse. Most rehabs and addiction treatment centres encourage clients to find something that can keep them busy.
This includes learning new languages, exploring new destinations, playing sports, dancing, reading, hiking, and learning new skills. Filling your schedule with healthy activities uplifts your emotional well-being.
8. Deep Breathing
While breathing is normal practice, it has other benefits beyond sustaining life. Adjusting your breathing patterns can help you achieve control over your life. Deep breathing techniques have significant impacts on the brain chemistry. It improves emotions and regulates mood.
Most people recovering from drug use addiction have a palpable fear of relapsing. However, relapse can’t happen if you are prepared and equipped with various coping strategies. Adopting these coping skills in your daily routine significantly reduces the risk of relapsing. Contact The Retreat New Zealand to learn more about relapse prevention strategies.