Help With Preventing Relapse in the New Year
So, the silly season is over and we survived it! It is now time to take on the New Year. For some people, including myself, I find the New Year to be even more stressful than the festive season. It is back to work, back to reality and back to the daily grind. For some of us, we find ourselves looking for a job, the pressure of getting our kids back into routine and back to school starting, a new career or going back to school. The holiday is over and life begins abruptly – seemingly without warning. The holiday is over folks, and real-life anxiety and pressure begins.
Phew. I stressed myself out just writing that.
Thing is, there are ways to combat the pressures guys – you know this! There is no need to wallow in your stresses, why risk a relapse (be it psychologically or physically), why regress? Take these steps to get on track, make the New Year as manageable as possible and get back to a sense of serenity.
Let’s take a look at two of the main causes of relapse:
• Feelings and emotions
Yup, we as addicts hate these ‘things.’ Guys, feelings are normal! We spent years avoiding our emotional state, numbing ourselves with mind altering substances. We lost track of what emotions were real and what were completely morphed. Avoiding emotions, not letting ourselves identify where they come from… this is what gets us in the end. Take your daily inventory, identify what is making you feel a certain way, figure out how you can fix the issue (speak to your sponsor, friends in AA/ NA and ask for help)… it’s all very simple really.
• External Situations
People, places and things: STAY AWAY! You cannot hang out in the dingy (or for some, super glamourous) spots where you used to use. You certainly should not surround yourself with people who are in active addiction… euphoric recall is a biatch. So, as difficult as you think this may be, just stop yourself from acting out. Try new things, new activities and hang out with people in recovery.
4 Relapse Prevention Suggestions:
• 12 Step Meetings: Attending more meetings stops your complacency and slaps you back into recovery mode. It is at meetings that you find support and relate to others in similar situations – if they can get through it, why can’t you?
• Counselling Sessions/ Therapy: Continued care is imperative for addicts. Make an appointment with your addiction counsellor, or attend relapse prevention group counselling, there are many therapeutic options available. It is in these sessions that you identify your core vulnerability and can begin a new and improved path in your recovery.
• Sponsorship: Get yourself a sponsor if you don’t have one already. Gain knowledge from someone else in recovery, relieve your mind of some pressure – sometimes our thinking becomes sick and we need someone else to ‘think for us’ for a while. Take suggestions, listen and most importantly – do not be scared to ask for help!
• Hobbies: Hobbies are a great source of stress relief. It is vital for addicts in recovery to find new interests (apart from drinking and drugging and hanging out in dangerous situations.) Explore the world, learn to play an instrument, draw, write or take up that sport you have always been curious about. This is also a great way to meet new people and have some clean fun.