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It is impossible to guarantee that you, or that someone you know, will not experience a return to active addiction after rehabilitation. It can sometimes just come down to the facility where you have had your treatment and aftercare, and the ongoing support you receive.

For all of our participants who choose a 28 day package at Delamere, we provide 12 months of aftercare, and a 24/7 helpline too.

Other recovering addicts may find these steps helpful for preventing a return to active addiction; even just being aware of these could make a difference.

Addiction relapse prevention

There are five rules, or tips, to keep in mind when it comes to prolonging a recovery period:

  • Change your life
  • Communicate and improve honesty
  • Ask for help and support
  • Establish a self-care routine
  • Don’t bend the rules

We’ll cover these more in the sections below.

The first rule: change your life

This sounds like a big one, we know. But it is a cover all term for the routines and processes that you put in place to fill the gaps that were once full of substance use, guilt and the days of lethargy you felt after a binge. It can be tempting to crave ‘the good old days’ but without the using, but a big overhaul can be a much healthier option to take a new path away from your previous habits.

The phrase ‘change your life’ can seem a bit intimidating at first, but it also comes with a lot of opportunities. By establishing healthier routines surrounding mealtimes, hygiene, work commitments and so on, it can open the door for further positive action. What used to be a grey world can suddenly come alive with colour, and you will realise you are very much alive and part of it too.

Change can effectively be a rebirth.

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The second rule: communicate and improve honesty

Many people who have suffered with addiction will tell you that lying becomes second nature. There isn’t really a part of addiction that doesn’t come without lies. Each story is different, but common examples would be:

  • Lying about your whereabouts; who you were with and what you were doing
  • Saying you forgot your wallet and would pay someone back for drugs/alcohol
  • Pretending you are sober in a workplace or family gathering
  • Hiding bottles or drug debris
  • Stealing alcohol or money to fund your habit

It can take time to learn to communicate without embellishing the truth with lies. It can also be a painful process as it means that you need to face up to the actions of the past, and how these may have affected people close to you.

Yet this is important, as it allows you to solidify bonds and support networks. Letting your loved ones into your mind means that you won’t be alone if the demons come back to haunt you in the future.

The third rule: ask for help and support

And here is why the second rule becomes important. At some point, you’re going to want to reach out to your support network, or just a single person in it. You will want them to help you when you’re experiencing troubling times and want to prevent yourself from returning to addictive behaviours.

Some people may not feel comfortable sharing everything with a friend or family member, particularly if they haven’t had much personal experience with addictions. This is why there are numerous self-help groups that exist past the initial recovery detox and treatment. These groups provide an opportunity for open and honest sharing, without the guilt of letting down someone you really care about.

Of course, group settings may not work for every person, which is why there are other means of getting support. This may be long-term work with a counsellor or addiction therapist, and continued work with the rehabilitation clinic where the detox took place. At Delamere, we are proud to work closely with our clients in their aftercare.

Struggling with an addiction? Contact Delamere

The fourth rule: establish a self-care routine

What is self-care? It can sound a bit fluffy, but it is actually quite important for recovery. The phrase ‘self-care’ is often applied to little moments of luxury in today’s society, but the core of the message is to take as much as you need to find some form of equilibrium. Traditionally, those with addictions don’t take enough of the good things, and too many of the bad things.

It isn’t about forcing yourself to sit there with a clay face mask, or taking a bubble bath everyday. It can be the simple things. Remember ‘HALT’? (hungry, angry, lonely and tired). If you take care of these four elements, you’re well on your way to a more wholesome self-care routine.

Yes, it’s strange, but sometimes these core parts of the day are the things that are easy to forget about. But they’re the human needs that keep us functioning; without them, you may find that you want to plug the gaps and heightened emotions with alcohol or drugs.

The fifth rule: don’t bend the rules

The last rule is pretty self-explanatory, but just in case – it’s all about not trying to find loopholes in your recovery plan. It’s about taking the professional advice given to you by your team, and sticking to it, rather than wondering about how to make adjustments or relaxing the advice.

Get in touch

We have plenty more resources you may find helpful, such as how to recover from a relapse, the stages of relapse, and the warning signs of a relapse. If you would like to speak to a member of our admissions team, you can reach us by email or phone; simply scroll to the bottom of this page and you’ll find all of the details in the website footer. More details are available on our contact us page.

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Struggling with an addiction? Contact Delamere