Recovering from a drug or alcohol addiction is a long process; for most, it will entail a comprehensive recovery programme that includes detox, rehabilitation and aftercare. During treatment, patients will spend a lot of time learning about relapse prevention and they will be helped when it comes to identifying certain triggers and cues to their addictive behaviour. With this information, they can then learn how to spot these triggers and avoid them so as to prevent a relapse.
However, even with this information and the skills required to avoid a slip-up, it is not always possible to avoid it altogether, especially at certain times of the year such as Christmas. If you do have a slip-up over the festive period, it does not have to spiral into a full-blown relapse. There are things you can do to prevent a relapse from becoming a reality. These can include:
- Recognise that you have had a slip-up and that it was a mistake. Accept that it has happened but remember that you do not have to adopt the â€˜in for a penny, in for a poundâ€™ approach. Just because you have had one drink does not mean you have to have another one; the same is true if you have taken drugs.
- Many people who have had a small slip-up think to themselves that there is no harm in having another one and believe that there is no difference between having one or having two. However, the difference could be immense and could mean you getting your life back on track or struggling with addiction once more.
- To avoid a full-blown relapse, remove yourself from the situation you are in immediately. If you are in a bar and have had a drink, get out of there as soon as possible and take yourself to a place of safety. Find your nearest fellowship meeting or call your sponsor. If you are at home, get rid of the drug or alcohol before you head out the door.
Once this immediate crisis has passed, it is a good idea to take a good look at what has been happening in your life and why you found yourself in this dangerous situation. A slip-up does not happen for no reason. There may have been warning signs that you were in trouble and you may have chosen to ignore them.
Sit down and look back at your behaviour and attitudes in the preceding weeks to identify where you may have been having trouble. It is important that you do this so that you do not find yourself in the same situation in the future.
If You Do Relapse
There are times when a small slip-up will develop into something a bit more serious; if this happens, it is vital that you act as soon as possible. Remember that a relapse is not the end of the world â€“ unless you allow it to spiral out of control.
If you do return to drinking or drug-taking for any length of time and realise that you are in trouble, you need to take immediate action. As soon as you sober up, call a sponsor or counsellor. You can also call us here at Recovery Lighthouse to speak to one of our fully trained advisors. We can provide advice and support as well as information about our rehabilitation programmes.
It may be the case that you will need to detox again; even after a short period of drinking or drug-taking, a detox is often necessary. Whatever your needs, we can help you to get your life back on track once more. All you need to do is get in touch with us as soon as possible.