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Staying on Track: Relapse Prevention

Staying on Track: Relapse Prevention

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” So goes the famous saying by Lao Tzu. By entering into treatment and seeking professional help for your substance use disorder, you have already accomplished the incredible task of what many consider the hardest part of any journey – taking that first step.

However, transitioning back into life outside of treatment is an important part of the journey that is lifelong recovery.

It is important to understand that while relapse can cause frustration and disappointment, it does not indicate failure or the end of the recovery journey. Rather, it is a detour that means more work is required to sustain long-term recovery. To give yourself the best start on adjusting back to life outside of treatment, below are some tips and best practices to help avoid relapsing.

Completing Treatment

For starters, avoid relapse by staying in treatment for the entire length of the program. While it is understandably difficult leaving work, loved ones and the responsibilities of daily life, there is a direct correlation to longer time spent in treatment equaling better success rates in avoiding relapse once treatment is over. Completing treatment will help ensure that coping mechanisms and new habits are formed before returning to establishing a new life of recovery on your own.

Avoiding Common Triggers

It is imperative that you start your newfound life of recovery free from the triggers that led to substance misuse. As difficult as it may be, separating yourself from individuals from your past who encouraged or engaged in substance misuse with you is key to maintaining your recovery and avoiding relapse. Try to surround yourself with loved ones who support your recovery and encouraged your treatment. Get involved with people who are also working towards the common goal of long-term recovery as displayed by their actions. It is in your best interest to avoid people, places or things that are linked to past substance misuse. Giving yourself a fresh start will put you in the best position to avoid relapse.


Ongoing therapy outside of treatment is another way to reduce the likelihood of relapse. Stress is a common trigger of relapse, and therapy can help you develop methods for effectively managing stress. It can also be helpful in understanding underlying issues that may have triggered your substance misuse in the first place. Often treatment can be extremely beneficial when coping with underlying issues, but it’s imperative to continue working diligently with a therapist on these issues after you’ve graduated from a treatment program. Family counseling can also be a wonderful opportunity to help rebuild relationships that may have been damaged as a result of past substance misuse. It can also help loved ones learn better methods to communicate with each other and heal.

Self-Love: Focusing on Your Overall Well-being

Making sure to take basic care of yourself is an important factor in steering clear of a relapse. Getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet and exercise are all effective ways to reduce stress and maintain a healthy, active lifestyle. Some other holistic methods for achieving a healthy mental and physical state you might want to try are:

  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Breathwork
  • Hiking/Exercise
  • Acupuncture

Finding a Support System

Finding a support system that is in recovery and can help guide you on maintaining your newfound recovery can be extremely helpful in reducing instances of relapse. Establishing a peer support group or a mentor to call in times of need can provide much-needed support as you navigate this next phase of your journey.

Ask for Help

Whether it’s from your mentor, a support group, a family member or friend – don’t hesitate to ask for help if you are feeling depressed, angry, or tempted to relapse. It is important to remember that you are not on this journey alone. There are people available who want to help – do not hesitate to reach out, at any time. Asking for help is a sign of strength and self-awareness, not of weakness.

Life of Purpose

Our goal at Life of Purpose is to ensure that those with substance use disorders get the help they need and to maintain their recovery once treatment hast been completed. To learn more about our academically based addiction treatment model, please contact us at 1-888-787-7673.

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