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As 'Veterans' and Staff of Treatment / Rehab Centers Understand, Not Having. Specific and Strategic Plan in Place can Lead to Addiction Relapse.
There are steps to an Effective and Successful Relapse Prevention Plan:
1) 'Keep it Simple' - Keep Simplicity and Thoughts Focused on the Goal of Sobriety. Wondering Minds and Thoughts "How am I Going to Survive Christmas without a Drink, Not having that Hit off of the Pipe on the Way to My Girlfriend or Wife's Parents House".
2) Know Where You're Going, Who's Going to Be There & If there will be Alcohol or Drugs Present. If you know ahead of time what to expect at the gathering or party, it will allow you to process and understand your environment. This will help with physical and psychological stress of the event, because in the past, you may have dealt with it my self-medicating (using alcohol / drugs to mask anxiety, being uncomfortable, etc). Also, are the people that are going to be there a safe group of people you can trust?
3) Identify Someone You Trust that will be Present Before You Leave and Ask that Person if they Feel Comfortable being Your Safe Person. Before I go to a gathering of family, friends, co-workers, etc, I know who I will be able to converse with if I start feeling anxiety, addiction thoughts, etc. It is not necessarily a person I'm going to stand with and have lengthy/in depth conversations with while there. It is a person that I can text from across the room or know when I ask them to come over here, they know what is going on. A lot of times, I'll text my wife and just say I'm going to step outside and smoke... She will then come out in a couple minutes. This helps to extinguish addiction thoughts.
4) No matter what kind of Pressure or Stress You're Under, Know that You can Leave at Anytime. Almost all of the celebrations and gatherings I go to do not have alcohol present. Sometimes it does, but I know I can leave at the drop of the hat. Sometimes, just turning up the music in the car and driving around for a couple minutes is all it takes. Then again, you might feel so overwhelmed, you need to go to a SAFE ENVIRONMENT, such as where you live, a Family Members, a Friends House, wherever a safe place is for you. At this point in your Sobriety and/or Recovery, Sobriety is NOT SOMETHING YOU CAN AFFORD TO LOSE! FOCUS ON THE GOAL: SOBRIETY
Being in Active Recovery is a 24/7 Job and is One that You Need to Always be Working On (Consciously or Subconsciously).
A coping strategy I used to use and not even really Identify it until my wife said something was to sleep. Yes, sleeping is better than relapse, but the anxiety and fear doesn't go away. Stay active, move around, listen to music, etc... There are times where sleeping turns into withdraw from the group, then loneliness, depressive cycle of thoughts and next you know, Sobriety is Lost.
KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE PRIZE & KNOW:
"THIS TO, SHALL PASS"