When it comes to addiction, there are many factors that come into play in terms of recovery. It takes physical and mental strength, time, support, and so much more. Support is the one factor that many patients forget about. Support can be the difference between recovery and a relapse.
Having someone to support you could mean a lot of things. They could be financially supporting you. They could be there for emotional or physical support. The most important part about having someone who supports you during recovery is to accept that there is a high chance of a relapse, and to not give up.
A support person could come in the form of a friend, a neighbor, or a coworker. It can be a significant other, a family member, or even a child. Even those addicts who think they are all alone in their situation, can seek out help from a recovery companion.
Many alcoholics look to group therapy as a way to combat their addiction. A commonly seen form of this is Alcoholics Anonymous, a 12-step program based around alcohol addiction recovery. It is a place where addicts can share their stories, be open about their emotions, and celebrate their sobriety.
In Alcoholics Anonymous, recovering addicts will be assigned a sponsor. A sponsor is a form of emotional support that you can reach out to when you feel a relapse coming on. A sponsor is there at any time for you, and can help give tips and ideas on ways to fight the urge of breaking sobriety.
An Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor is trustworthy, because most typically they are a recovering addict as well. They know how you are feeling, and the pain and urges that you have. They have been there before. An Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor can give guidance and mentorship to someone who is just beginning to try and get into a recovery program.
A recovery companion differs in many ways from an AA sponsor. One of these main differences is a relapse companion can be there with you constantly to point out and help an addict avoid relapse triggers. Common triggers include:
1. Emotionally stressful situations like fighting with family or friends. Sometimes we drink to forget arguments, or to alleviate the stress of conflict in our lives. A relapse companion can help you come up with ideas for stress reducing activities that you can turn to instead of drinking.
2. An invitation to drinks after work with coworkers. Though it may seem tempting, it is okay to tell your coworkers and boss that you are in recovery. They will respect you for being honest and strong, and probably try and avoid inviting you out for drinks again. If you still want to be involved with your work companions after hours, suggest an event that doesn’t involving drinking, like getting dinner, bowling, or a sports league.
3. Becoming too confident in your ability to say “no.” Often when addicts have been sober for a long period of time, they will become over confident in how strong they are. They may get invited to go out for drinks with friends, and say yes, assuming that they will have the strength to pass on the drinking and opt for a soda instead. Once they are actually in the situation, they can be triggered, and begin to drink again.
4. Having just “one.” Having just one drink is not a reality for addicts. For those in recovery, one can easily lead to many, many more.
Relapse prevention is something that all addicts need to seriously plan for in their recovery. Relapse triggers are everywhere and are not going to go away. That is why recovering addicts need to learn ways to cope with being triggered, and avoid breaking their sobriety. Using a relapse companion can be a sure-fire way to make sure an addict prevents a relapse and stays on the track to becoming fully recovered from their addiction.
There are also many other ways for a recovering addict to prevent a relapse. It is key to make sure the body is as healthy as possible, which means eating well balanced meals, drinking plenty of water, and getting loads of exercise and sleep. Not only will this keep the patient busy, they will feel less of a need to use dangerous substances to feel good because they will naturally begin to feel better the more healthy they get.
Many addictions stem from untreated mental illnesses such as anxiety or depression. If a recovering addict treats their mental illness along with their addiction, there is a much lower chance of a relapse. This could mean seeing a therapist, going on medication, or joining a support group.
With addiction focused counseling and therapy, addicts can find support from others and learn how to hold themselves to their promises and goals. There is no judgement, and addicts are welcome to speak freely about anything that may have happened in their life due to their addiction. Hopefully, they will learn from others that the same thing happened to them, but they were able to repair their life and live on to be free of addiction.
When it comes to addiction recovery, the first step is reaching out for help. Learn how to spot the signs of addiction, and get to the root of the problem as early as possible. The sooner you tackle an issue in life, the easier it is to deal with and work to resolve.
Remember that you are not alone. There are millions of people out there just like you that have fought and prevailed against their addiction. You can become one of those people. Get the support and care that you need today.