Addiction is an all-encompassing experience that produces wide-ranging effects on addicts and everyone around them. The most commonly abused substances are heroin, cocaine, ecstasy and methamphetamine. Even after treatment relapses are common, and drug addiction may require repeated inpatient treatment stays to achieve success. Former addicts who have been successful in their struggles to remain sober cite a number of tips that have helped stay clean and functioning in their ongoing battle with addiction.
Avoidance of Triggering Situations
Avoiding the people, places and situations that the addict associates with previous drug use is an important step in overcoming their addiction. These situations are known to “trigger” cravings that can be overwhelming and can lead to relapse. Creating a new circle of supportive friends and family can help these former addicts to maintain their sobriety as they rebuild their lives.
Awareness of Relapse Causes
An honest understanding of what triggers the cravings that lead to relapse can allow former addicts to be aware of the emotional states that contribute to them. These often include:
- Negative emotions, such as anger, frustration, anxiety and depression
- Positive emotions, such as success or elation, that can lead to celebration
- Interpersonal conflicts
- Use of other types of substances
Finding a Support Network Following Drug Addiction Treatment
The post-rehab support network is one of the critical facets of assisting addicts to deal with situations that arise in normal life after drug addiction treatment. The network can be composed of friends, family or groups that are aware of the addict’s struggle and can support him or her through difficult times.
Create Structure in Your Life
Many addiction programs recommend that addicts create a daily schedule to provide structure in their lives to prevent excessive free time that can lead them into relapse. Staying busy with work, school, family activities, exercise and hobbies can prevent being overwhelmed by cravings.
Never Believe You are Safe From Relapse
A measure of success in an addict’s treatment can become a source of complacency that can lead him or her into carelessness. They may feel it’s now okay to see old, using friends or visit places associated with their substance abuse, which can lead them into failure. Cognitive behavioral therapy can be helpful in assisting addicts to recognize the psychological and emotional processes that lull them into complacency and subsequent relapse.