Keeping up with Relapse Prevention: The Five Rules of Recovery

Leaving treatment and embarking on the path of recovery can be exciting and intimidating all at once. Perhaps you have been sober for years and wonder if you are doing things correctly to stay on track. The truth is, there is no right or wrong way to recover, as long as you are not engaging in harmful behaviors that could potentially cause you to relapse. Recovery looks different for every person going through it. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t general guidelines that you can follow to not be entirely on your own. An excellent way to keep up with your recovery and overall relapse prevention is to follow the five rules of recovery. The National Institute of Health created these rules to help individuals stay on track in their recovery after treatment. Following these can make life easier when you doubt your actions or life in sobriety. 

Change Your Life

You cannot heal in the same place you got sick, so your life after treatment must look different than your life before treatment. Your environment must be conducive to your recovery in that it makes using drugs or drinking alcohol more difficult. Consider avoiding people, places, and things that may trigger you. For example, it is not a good idea to go back to places you used to use or hang out with individuals you use to use with, as this can pose a potential risk to your sobriety.

You should also be aware of and prepared for potential high-risk situations. Writing them down in a list can help you know what they look like. This way, you can monitor yourself and your surroundings to help prevent potential relapse. A great way to monitor yourself is by using the HALT method. HALT stands for hungry, angry, lonely, and tired. If you find yourself craving drugs or alcohol, check yourself to see if you feel one of these so you can take care of it first, as these can often cause your cravings to be more intense. This way, you can focus on your physical and mental wellbeing while avoiding relapse. 

Be Completely Honest

Addiction and lying often go hand in hand. Lying may have justified one’s addiction allowing them to maintain it for the long term. Those struggling with active addiction often find themselves lying to friends and family about what they are doing, where their money is going, why they have lost their job or been kicked out of school, and where they are spending most of their time. Lying creates guilt, which often causes a person to use more. Being completely honest both with yourself and others can help you break this cycle and work on healing. 

Ask For Help

Ego may play a significant role in active addiction for many. You convince yourself that you are totally in control of your addiction and that you can stop any time you want. When you enter recovery, you may think that you can do it all on your own and don’t require help from anyone else. It is important to remember that you have probably tried to stop before and couldn’t. You need to reach out for help. Develop a recovery circle of individuals who strongly support your recovery to keep you motivated and on track. You can also consider joining support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), SMART Recovery, and more. 

Practice Self-Care

People often turn to drugs and alcohol because they feel broken, stressed, unappreciated, depressed, isolated, or lonely. Recovery is finding a way to practice healthy coping mechanisms in the form of self-care. If you want healthy mental well-being, you need to take care of yourself. Find ways to engage in self-care that start with healthy eating, exercise, getting enough sleep, and keeping your stress levels down. After practicing self-care basics, consider implementing things you enjoy into your routines, such as art, cooking, or gardening. Taking care of yourself will help your recovery in more ways than you can imagine. 

Don’t Bend the Rules

Recovery is difficult; there is no way around it. The critical thing to remember is that the benefits and rewards of recovery are worth all of the hard work you put into it. You cannot try to bend the rules and find a shortcut. This is a quick way to fall back into negative behaviors and end up right back where you started. Put in the hard work, be thankful for what sobriety brings you, and reap the benefits of a healthy and happy life.

Keeping up with recovery can be hard work, especially if you feel like you aren’t doing it correctly. It is essential to recognize that recovery looks different for everyone, and there is no one way to do it. Even so, there are general guidelines to help you stay on track. The National Institute of Health outlined five guidelines conducive to recovery. Consider changing your surroundings, practicing honesty, asking for help, taking care of yourself, and avoiding shortcuts. By practicing these guidelines, you can ensure you are recovering to the best of your ability. Healing can be hard sometimes, but you should always know you are not alone. Reach out to the staff at Northstar Transitions if you are ever in doubt and need that extra boost. We are professionally trained to help those in all stages of recovery. It is not shameful to ask for help sometimes. Call us today at (303) 558-6400

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