You’ve done the work and you’ve gotten sober. You may be feeling great or you may be feeling a bit scared. You may also be wondering how to stay sober. Tales of others relapsing may have you wondering just what you need to do to prevent relapsing. The Last House is here to help you build on the work you’ve done to get sober so that you can stay sober.
What Is a Relapse?
At its simplest, relapse is the return to the use of the drugs or alcohol from which we got sober. However, most addicts and alcoholics will tell you that the relapse began before the drink or the drug was ever picked up. Relapse can be divided into three stages: emotional, mental, and physical. The emotional stage is defined by poor self-care including isolating from others, not going to meetings, poor eating habits, focusing on others instead of self, and more. During the emotional stage, there are often no thoughts of using. Those thoughts come during the next stage. During the mental stage, you may feel like you’re on the front lines of a war battling against yourself. You may find yourself looking for opportunities to relapse, craving drugs or alcohol, glamorizing your past use, and more. If you’re unable to successfully work your way through the emotional and mental stages, you may find yourself at the physical stage, where you begin to use drugs and alcohol again.
Is Relapsing Normal?
While relapse can be common, it is not required. Long-term recovery requires a great deal of change on the part of the individual and relapse prevention strategies. Often those that relapse start to attend fewer meetings and stray far from the very routine that got them sober. If relapse does happen, you can hopefully rely on the lessons you’ve learned while getting sober to begin again. Starting over means taking a hard look at what led to the relapse and then developing relapse prevention strategies.
Practicing Drug Relapse Prevention
Long-term sobriety means changing the definition of fun, learning from setbacks, and becoming comfortable with discomfort. Once we put down the drugs and alcohol, we often find that we have to change our circle of friends. No longer can we spend our time with the people with whom we used to use drugs and alcohol. This means that we need to establish a new circle of friends and learn how to have fun without using.
Long-term recovery also means learning that life is not always smooth sailing and that choppy waters are not an excuse to return to using. It has certainly been said at more than one meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous that there is no problem that cannot be made worse by picking up. Staying sober means allowing ourselves to feel all of the feelings and learning how to work through them constructively. Life in sobriety will have ups and downs, but we can learn how to manage without using. Drug lapse prevention is, in essence, balancing the demands of recovery with the demands of our lives so that both flourish.
Let The Last House Help You
The Last House Sober Living is a network of sober living homes in the heart of West Los Angeles. We believe in providing our clients with the tools to have a meaningful life and participate in their own sobriety. Activities such as service commitments, sober parties, conventions, dances, and house outings are all a part of helping you learn how to have fun in sobriety. If you’re wondering where to start to create your sober life, The Last House is here to help.