Regardless of what caused your addiction, the goal for every person in recovery is to avoid relapse. There are things that can make this process easier, such as living in a supportive household and maintaining a structured routine, but even they are not a guarantee that you will stay sober. This process requires time, patience and practice, as well as a willingness to continue working your program.
As if recovering from addiction in Phoenix isn’t difficult enough, we are now facing an unusual time in our lives. This pandemic has shut down schools, businesses, restaurants and all other non-essential services. It has forced people to quarantine at home, physically distance themselves from others and take extra precautions when going out for essentials.
This “new normal” is a challenge for everyone, but it can cause a distinct type of stress for those in recovery. You probably don’t have all the skills and tools to stay positive and productive right now, and you may be feeling the urge to use drugs and alcohol to cope. These are scary feelings to have, but we can assure you that relapse does not have to happen.
What are the Signs of Relapse?
Many people assume that relapse is a single event, but it is actually a process with three stages: emotional, mental and physical. By acknowledging this, you can pay attention to the signs of relapse and get timely help from a Phoenix outpatient treatment center.
Here are some warning signs of a potential relapse:
- Rising stress levels. Coronavirus has added a tremendous amount of pressure onto already stressful lives. Having difficulties with childcare, employment, health or money can put you at risk for relapse.
- Denial. If you are having thoughts about using drugs and alcohol, it’s important to be honest with yourself. Denying that you have anything to worry about only raises your relapse risk.
- Changes in attitude. Sudden feelings of loneliness or depression should be addressed. You can access support from a telehealth visit, an outpatient rehab, a 12-step group or another qualified health care professional.
- Fantasizing about past use. Before relapsing, people often start romanticizing about drugs and alcohol. Remember the reasons why you stopped using in the first place. If you have a journal, look back at how far you’ve come.
- Isolation from your support circle. You do need to physically distance yourself from others, but this does not mean you can’t talk to people. Keep in touch with your support network via phone, email, text or video chat.
- No longer dedicated to your recovery program. It’s not a good sign when you start losing confidence in your treatment plan. Speak with a qualified counselor or healthcare provider before you move closer to relapse.
What are Some Tips for Preventing Relapse in Phoenix?
Even though people new to recovery are most at risk for relapse, it can happen to anyone. This is why we recommend that every person in recovery is especially careful with themselves right now. If you feel yourself slipping, do not wait to get help. Relapse is preventable, and addiction is treatable.
Here are the best strategies for avoiding a relapse during the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Talk to others about your feelings. Holding onto your feelings only gives them more power and control. Express your feelings with others and be sure not to hold back.
- Don’t feel guilty. Everyone is affected by the pandemic, though in different ways. You are allowed to feel any way that you want. Do not punish yourself for having negative thoughts.
- Avoid being bored. With extra time on your hands, it’s easier to get bored. However, boredom is a relapse trigger. Keep yourself busy with a new activity or hobby.
- Develop new coping strategies. As you allow fear, anxiety and stress to come through, make sure you have solid coping strategies to help you deal. Deep breathing, exercise, meditation and journaling are all healthy outlets for stress.
- Practice gratitude. Keep a healthy perspective right now. To help with this, write down the things you are thankful for. This will help you remember all the reasons to stay sober.
Why is HALT Important?
Another thing we want to discuss is HALT, which stands for Hunger, Anger, Lonely and Tired. The purpose of HALT is to stop and make sure your basic needs are being met. By doing this, you gain more self-awareness and prevent possible relapse.
- Hunger. This can be a physical or emotional need. Remind yourself to eat, and eat well. Meeting your nutritional needs allows you to keep a healthy and resilient body. Also, could you be hungry for less tangible things like affection, understanding and compassion?
- Anger. Anger is a normal and healthy emotion, but it’s important to know where the anger is coming from. Regardless of what’s bothering you, try to confront the problem and work through it in a constructive manner. Do not let it bottle up inside you.
- Lonely. Loneliness can happen even in a crowd. If you feel lonely and disconnected from others, ask yourself why this is the case. Don’t hide – there are plenty of people who care about you and want to see you happy and healthy.
- Tired. It’s good to stay busy, but you don’t want to overdo it either. Your mind and body need time to rest. Satisfy the physical need for sleep, but also make sure you have time to enjoy your own company.
We realize that relapse is a concern for many of our clients and their families right now, but please be aware that you can still access holistic outpatient treatment in Phoenix. Continuum Recovery Center remains open during this time. We are accepting new clients, and you can go through the admissions process online. Visit this page for more details. In the meantime, stay safe and healthy!