How to prevent relapse after addiction recovery

For every individual who recovers from addiction, there is a chance of relapse. But it varies from person to person. One of the reasons why the foothold of relapse is so intense is because addiction itself is a chronic disease that is difficult to manage and treat.  

If you relapse after addiction recovery, it doesn’t mean the whole treatment process was a failure. It only implies that some important things were left out, and you might have to now implement them.

Here are some tips to prevent relapse after addiction treatment

  • Don’t skip your addiction treatment program

When some people in addiction treatment feel they are getting better, they stop going for treatment. It doesn’t take a long time before they relapse. People who drop out of their addiction treatment program are likely to shortchange their recovery.

It is important to observe every phase of the addiction treatment program to reduce the chances of a relapse.

  • Stick to your aftercare plan

When your time in the addiction treatment program is about to end, the therapist and counselor would help you develop an aftercare plan. If you don’t stick to your aftercare plan, there is a chance of relapse along the line.

It’s challenging to be consistent with an aftercare plan, but once you remember that you need it to stay sober, you can follow through with it.

  • Build a solid support system

During addiction recovery and post-addiction recovery, you need a support system to rely on. You need people to constantly motivate you that you can do better and remain sober.

It is hard to resist the temptations that come with relapsing. But, with a profound support system, you will receive much encouragement and you will be accountable to them.

  • Pick up new hobbies and drop the old ones

In recovery, you must have been told how to identify the hobbies or activities that can trigger your addiction. It would be risky to go back to them after your addiction. Therefore, you need to replace these hobbies with new and healthy ones.

For instance, one of your hobbies could be going regularly to the gym. Bear in mind that it serves as a hobby and a healthy activity.

4 reasons why relapse occurs after addiction recovery

Addiction recovery is one of the most challenging phases that an addict goes through. It is not easy quitting an old lifestyle habit and picking up a new one. The addict would go through several series of unlearning before they start picking up new habits.  

Generally, addiction recovery ends when the individual is sober. But in reality, it continues with the aftercare treatment phase. People who miss aftercare treatment are more likely to relapse than those who go for it.

Here are four reasons why relapse happens even after sobriety

  • Hanging out with friends who trigger addiction

Addicts are usually taught in addiction recovery to identify people who can trigger their addiction and stay away from them.

For instance, someone who recovers from alcohol addiction does not need to be with friends who still abuse alcohol, because it can trigger their addiction.

  • Unhealthy lifestyle habits

While recovering from addiction, addicts are always advised to pick up healthy habits like eating a nutritious meal, exercising, having enough rest, etc. However, if the individual falters by not heeding some of these healthy instructions, they can relapse.

Some unhealthy habits can cause stress, which in turn, triggers addiction and makes the individual relapse.

  • Skipping the aftercare treatment phase

As mentioned above, those who do not go for aftercare treatment, are likely to relapse than those who attend it. The aftercare treatment is a period where recovering individuals learn different coping strategies that helps them manage triggers.

Anyone who skips this phase would most likely not know about these coping strategies, and they could relapse in the not-so-distant future.

  • Stress

Someone who doesn’t know how to manage stress is likely to relapse even after they have recovered. Many people are unaware that stress is one of the primary triggers of relapse. Therefore, it is important to identify factors that cause stress and avoid them.

Both in addiction and after addiction recovery, individuals need to be fully aware of themselves. Also, it is advised to know the triggers likely to induce relapse and manage them.  


Addiction recovery does not imply the end of addiction, there is a tendency for the individual to relapse. This is why the presence of an aftercare program is needed.

The best trend of activities is for an aftercare program to take place immediately after a rehab program. The reason for this is, it is a sensitive period where anything is likely to occur.  

An aftercare program involves the recovering individual with the counselor and the therapist. During this period, the individual is expected to show hard work, tenaciousness and self-sufficiency in making sure that he or she attains full sobriety.

One way to encourage patients in this case is to provide incentives in order to encourage them. With these incentives in place, it would be easier for the individual to fight the cravings that come with addiction. This in turn ensures the health and safety of the individual.

When there is no aftercare program in place, there is a possibility that an individual will relapse. This usually happens when the individual is left to oneself. During this phase, he or she begins to process thoughts of going back to their addiction.

This is why group therapy sessions are usually encouraged because it pays off if the individual sees others like him or her who are fighting off addiction.

As a matter of fact, the environment of an individual can impact the thoughts of that individual. They might get back to their environment after rehab and feel tempted to return to their addictive lifestyle.

However, with an aftercare program in place, it becomes easier to develop coping skills that would help them face addiction when the temptation surfaces.

Aftercare in addiction recovery is an essential aspect of a profound recovery program. With an aftercare program, the individual is more confident at living a sober and healthy life.

He or she would be able to live his or her life without the fear of being addicted anymore. This is one integral program that rehabs need to incorporate into their addiction program.


Living a sober life is difficult particularly after defeating addiction. However, the wonderful part to this is, it is very attainable.

At the initial stage you would have to fight off withdrawal symptoms and conquer the cravings that fuel your addiction. So, going back to the normal world and living your regular lifestyle might be tough for you.

However, to help yourself you need to put some health measures in place. Now, you need to know that health measures does not apply to physical health alone. It involves mental, emotional and other aspects of your health.

To start with, you need to ensure that you take things gradually. There is always this tendency for people who are recovering to want to take the bull by the horn.

However, it always does not end well. It is best to take each giant stride, one step at a time. This might be hard for you to attain, but with time, you will discover that it is inspiring and refreshing for you.

Next, it is vital for you to fix the damage you must have caused during the process of addiction. This particularly applies to strained relationships you must have had with family and friends.

So, all you need do is sit them down and discuss with them, you need to know your offences and seek ways on how you can appease them.

When you do this, you are certain of having a better relationship with your family and friends than the way it was before.

So, at this stage, you might want to stay off some sets of people who would most likely cause your addiction problem to return. This means that you would not attend certain events and occasions that can induce your addiction.

Hence, it would be perfect for you to surround yourself with individuals whose sobriety has been proven. To prevent yourself from relapsing, this is what you need, people who would help you get better.

Putting all these measures in place, you are assured of a better life.


Addicts know within them that they are addicted, but you would barely find any of them owning up to their addiction. Rather, they would prefer to struggle within them to see if they can do away with it.

Most of the times, they end up succeeding only in the short term. Within few days, they are back to their addiction because they find it uneasy to keep up with the withdrawal symptoms.

People who are addicted see their addiction as a top priority. So, they would prefer to put other tasks before it. Their addiction comes first because it is what gives them utmost satisfaction.

Hence, some tasks that an addict would typically handle, would be abandoned. They would miss work without any reasonable excuse.

Also, they would not have the sufficient energy and mental strength to perform their normal duties. This would result in a decline in productivity.

Someone who is addicted would also have mood swings. They could be happy this moment and be sad the next.

So, you need to watch out for this. If this occurs more than usual, then there is a good chance that the person is struggling with any form of addiction.

An individual who is addicted would not accept that they are addicted. They are not comfortable with people knowing so they would hide this reality.

In addition to this, addicted individuals find it hard to keep good relationships. If they have a romantic partner, they would have frequent conflicts.

Also, communication would be on a low ebb because the addicted individual would spend more time fueling his or her own addiction rather than being with their partner.

That’s not all; they will also keep secrets from them. This is one of the major reasons why addicted individuals find it hard to keep relationships.

As a matter of fact, relationship with friends and family would also be strained.

If you have noticed any of the above-mentioned signs in a person, it is advisable to encourage them with love and not criticize them. This would motivate them to seek addiction recovery.


Addiction does not just affect an individual alone, it affects those around them. The first set of people who are affected by the addiction of an individual are family and friends.

This is followed by co-workers, neighbors, long-distance friends and the list goes on.

There are some families that have been totally torn apart because of addiction. Also, some people are no longer best friends because of addiction.

One of the major reasons for this is, addiction changes a person, and the individual usually expects everyone to understand him or her.

Worse still, it is difficult to see any individual that would open up about their addiction. This is done because of prejudice. Hence, this is one of the reasons why people find it hard to open up to a counselor.

To repair a relationship after addiction, the first step is to communicate. You need to inform those people you have lost connection with that, you want to discuss with them.

You also need to let them know that you are putting your life together after addiction, and you want to repair your relationship.

Not everyone would accept this as an act of good faith, so you need to be ready for some disappointment. However, you will need to go the extra mile to make this happen.

If the person is responsible for your addiction, the best you can do is to mend fences over the phone or a chat, and maintain the long-distance friendship if possible.

Also, you need to be honest and ask for forgiveness. You need to state it clearly that you have made mistakes, and you are now aware of them.

So even though people are finding it difficult to come around, you will know that you have done your part.

In addition to this, you also need to go for support meetings. These meetings are often targeted at helping you connect with other people who are equally going through the same phase of reconnection.


After addiction recovery, it is not fully over yet. If an individual is not careful, there is a likely chance of a relapse.

Basically, a relapse is a condition whereby a person who recovered from addiction, is back to their old lifestyle.

There are some feelings known as triggers, and they make a person crave an addictive lifestyle that they have abstained from.

Triggers can come in various forms. Triggers could be your childhood friend who you are used to hanging out with.

Then, avoiding triggers would mean that your friendship is about to hit the rocks because you want to avoid addiction. A good number of times, avoiding an addiction means saying goodbye to some people.

This does not mean you will not communicate with them, but it would be done on a long-term basis. Before triggers can be identified, you need to know them, and this is why a counselor’s place comes in handy.

You will definitely be reminded of the experiences that make you feel good, and you will want to explore them again.

To perfectly substitute this, you need to seek an activity that will provide a replica of the experience you used to feel. However, you have to ensure they are devoid of features that will activate these triggers.

You can also discuss with a counselor to help you check these activities, and recommend the ones that would be beneficial to you.

Another trigger you need to work on avoiding, is the places that put your addiction in motion.

People who have recovered from either drug or alcohol addiction would need to avoid places where they are sold.

So, it would mean driving past such places and not making attempts to enter, even if it is just to greet an old friend.

Avoiding triggers seem impossible, but you need to arm yourself with the skills suited for this purpose.

So, asides taking part in other activities, you can talk about it with a counselor. You can also put measures in place that will help you change your thoughts.


Mental health is the state of your psychological, social and emotional make-up. This constitutes our thoughts and feelings that are interrelated coupled with our behaviors.

All these contribute to the choices we make in life, our experiences and the way we deal with relationships, stress and lots more.

Caring for our mental health is much more demanding that we view it to be, and when in recovery, it is necessary to always keep this in check.

One of the proficient ways to care for your mental health after recovering from addiction is to live a healthy lifestyle.

This might be difficult for you to achieve all by yourself, so you will still need a counselor, therapist and a health practitioner.

In addition to this, you will also need a nutritionist who would help you stick to the right diet that will maintain your addiction recovery. The last thing you would want is to live a lifestyle devoid of proper nutrition.

Next is to always ensure you take your medications as prescribed by your healthcare provider.

During addiction recovery, there are some medical conditions that could occur, and they could act as potential triggers that can make your recovery complicated.

This is why it is advised that, to keep your recovery and mental health in check, you need to keep in close touch with your healthcare provider.

He or she will recommend medications that you need to use. On your part, you need to make sure that you stick to them, and when you notice any symptom, it is best to call the attention of your healthcare provider.

Also, you need to seek meaningful relationships and connections with friends and family. If such relationships are not beneficial for your mental health, then it is best to avoid them.

However, you still need family and friends, so you can discuss with your counselor on how to make the right choice that would be suitable for your mental health and permanent addiction recovery.


Having defeated addiction, things will very likely not be the same. This is why you need to seek ways to return things to normalcy.

Everything will not be the way they were after your addiction recovery. You would have to cut some ties, build new relationships and the likes.

Getting back on your feet is quintessential to ensuring your life is back in shape. It would be good to get back to your life and work, putting addiction behind you.

One of the best ways to get back on your feet is to seek to build healthy relationships. At this point, it would not be beneficial for you to mingle with people who would make you go back to your addiction.

So, if you had friends in this category, it is best you do away with them. Else, you will discover that your addiction is back in motion.

You need friends who are not latent triggers. Staying clean is necessary at this point for you, and you cannot allow some form of relationships to jeopardize this.

In addition to this, you need to make sure that you are physically active. One thing some people do not know prior to enrolling for addiction rehab is the fact that, their health has been impaired.

So, for you to get back in shape and on your feet, you need to engage yourself in physical activities.  These activities would help you handle stress effectively, and you will not have to relapse in the process.

Also, you need to make sure that you deal with past mistakes. You must have offended some people during your addiction, and you need to make sure that you repair those relationships.

If they are relationships that would make you relapse, the best you can do is to settle amicably and keep your distance.

To wrap it up, you also need to arm yourself with knowledge on addiction. You need to know more about this concept and use your story to encourage others who are struggling with addiction.  

Changing the Game of Shame

Oftentimes, an addiction is not well-hidden. You might be able to keep it a secret for a short time, but eventually, people will start to notice. And, especially if things get really bad, everyone will know about it.

So, once you begin to enter your recovery period, you might find yourself feeling guilty and ashamed.

This is completely normal.

It is no secret that people (drug-free) look down on those who take part in drugs. In fact, some people even report not enrolling in a mental health facility out of fear of all the social stigma that surrounds addiction.

Isn’t that sad?

There is so much social stigma surrounding addiction that rather than focusing on their own mental health, some adults would rather deal with their emotions in silence because they are so afraid of what others will think.

Types of Addiction Stigma

There are two types of stigma that surround addiction:

  1. Labels

    Remember in high school when people would be labeled a “jock” or a “prep” or even a “nerd”? Someone always has a label they place on others that they feel describes them…

    And, when it comes to labeling an addict, it is often done with something that is hurtful and something that isolates them as a drug user – making them feel like less of a person.

    Some of the common labels include “addict” or “junkie”.

  2. Assumptions

    People have a tendency to just assume that what they perceive to be the case is true, rather than having proper reasoning to believe that. They might assume:

    The addiction was the person’s choice, that the person is weak or lacks willpower, or that they had bad parenting.

    While it might not seem obvious, most people who participate in the abuse of drugs and alcohol don’t enjoy it – but it is their life and they have yet to be able to overcome it.

How does this affect those suffering?

This can leave those who are in the midst of an addiction feeling embarrassed, ashamed, guilty, and can even cause depression or anxiety.

Unfortunately, while some people might not think twice about how their actions affect others, if someone is in the midst of an addiction or even recovery, this could worsen their addiction and/or cause a relapse.

How do we change it?

Rather than labeling or assuming things about those who are in the midst of an addiction, we should be offering a helping hand.

We should encourage the enrollment and participation in positive programs that help those who are hurting.

Put yourself in their shoes just for one day and consider what you would want someone to do for you.