Relapse Prevention Planning: What to Avoid When Leaving Treatment
At Blueprint Recovery Center, our care coordinators work with patients on extensive relapse prevention planning and aftercare planning. We know that when leaving detox, residential or stepping down from PHP or IOP to OP, it can be nerve racking.
Sometimes, when you have lived with your addiction for so long, it may feel easier to fall back into old ways than to continue forging this new path. We know that with support you can persevere.
Here are some tips on relapse prevention that you can use when leaving treatment
Community Housing: Community housing is a great way to add another layer of accountability for patients in PHP, IOP, OP or who recently completed treatment entirely. Community housing requires all patients to be sober, working towards education, have a job, or be volunteering. Community housing aids will assist individuals in learning to live a fun and fulfilling life without drugs and alcohol. Community housing is a great way of helping patients to be a part of a drug free, recovery focused environment with like-minded peers.
90 in 90: 90 in 90 refers to getting to 90 AA/NA meetings in your first 90 days. This can help you stay accountable, create new positive habits and create connections with your local AA/NA community. Maybe this sounds boring, or you think you could do more with your free time, but who knows when you will finally hear what you needed to hear, and everything will just click.
Get a Sponsor, Work the Steps: Getting a sponsor can be scary and seem foreign, like, who wants to walk up to someone and say “Hey, can I call you randomly and tell you everything about me and ask you for advice on things just to ignore you then call you crying when it doesn’t work out?” However, a sponsor is an integral part of starting lifelong recovery for both you and your sponsor.
The entire program of AA/NA works because we are always helping the next person in line. Sponsors help guide you on the path, so you can then help guide someone else on the path.
You will also need a sponsor to work the 12-Steps. The 12-Steps often seem daunting to people who are new to recovery, but they are here to guide you to a better life, without drugs and alcohol. Plus, if you stick around, you’ll realize that things are getting easier and better.
New Hobbies: Creating new hobbies can help make your recovery stronger and can help you learn a lot about yourself. When we are using drugs and alcohol, that becomes our hobby. Our entire life revolves around drugs, alcohol, and other people who use drugs and alcohol. Creating new, healthy hobbies can help us stay clean and sober and give us extra meaning to life.
Reading/Writing: Joining a book club whether it is online or at a library could be a great new hobby to explore. Starting a blog or keeping a journal could also help you navigate early recovery by clearing your mind. Reading and writing are both healthy hobbies, that will also take your mind off drugs, alcohol, or even other life stressors. Exercising is a great way to get a natural high. It will also feel great to take care of your body after years of abusing yourself with drugs and alcohol. Learning to cook, learning to paint, learning a new language, all could be great new hobbies for someone in early recovery.
New hobbies are very important because without them, we may end up reverting back to old hobbies. Which could end in us using or drinking again.
Stay honest: Stay honest with your peers, your family, your sponsor and your treatment team, but most importantly stay honest with yourself. If something is difficult for you, if you make a mistake, or if you just need extra help, learn to say it. Honesty and communication is the key to recovery.
Things to Avoid When Leaving Treatment: Relapse Prevention Planning
People, Places, Things:
This is something you will hear again and again in treatment and when you get out of treatment. Avoiding people, you used to use with, places where you used to go to get high or drunk and doing things that made you feel like using, or behaviors of someone who is currently using, or drinking should be a no-brainer. Avoiding these things may be very difficult and almost seem impossible, for instance what if you and your husband were both getting high together in your home, or you and your best friend always drank together, and you do not want to lose them, what happens now?
If you used to get high or drink in your home, you may not be able to just up and move, and that is fine. The important thing is to remove any of the things that may trigger you from your home. Take new ways homes from work or meetings or consider staying in community housing until you feel ready to return to your home.
Friends and family may be rougher water to navigate. If they can respect and support your choice to get clean and sober, and accept the new boundaries you may have, that is different than someone who may not care and continue to use at your home, or when you are out with them. Putting yourself in situations with people who don’t respect your sobriety will end up in a relapse.
Things refers to behaviors you may have had when you were using. Maybe your old job, maybe the way you spend money, maybe the way you compose yourself, are all reminiscent of your using days. It is time to change. If you begin to take care of yourself and act like you care, you will start to care.
There is no perfect way to avoid people, places and things. This is something you can work on with your sponsor, your supports and figure out with yourself when you remain honest. Learning how to navigate people, places and things without using or drinking will come as you remain solid in your recovery.
The Three R’s: Rescue Risks Recovery
Avoid trying to rescue your friends, family or peers who are using. Call your sponsor or others who support your recovery and ask them what you can do to help without risking your own recovery. Going down to the spot they are using and trying to get them back into detox, might end in you needing detox too. It is a great gift of sobriety that we want to help others, but we should want to keep ourselves on a strong and sturdy path first and foremost.