At times, you may feel that you are hanging off the edge, hoping for the best outcome in your recovery. Other times, you may feel stable and grounded with your feet firmly planted. You may be very worried about falling into relapse, or you may feel confident you can avoid it.
As you begin to prepare for leaving treatment, you may feel one way or the other. Alternatively, you may feel ambivalent: worried, yet confident. However you feel, it is important to be aware of that feeling. This can help you create a discharge plan that suits your needs, including a relapse prevention plan.
Using the following techniques, you can assess your risk of relapse in your current state. This can help you determine what alternative assistance you may need.
Analyze Your Stress Levels
Analyzing your stress levels is one of the most important steps in understanding your potential risk of relapsing. If you find that you are consistently stressed and do not have healthy coping mechanisms to handle those stressors, relapse is a large concern.
Stress is one of the most common factors of relapse. Therefore, ensuring you know how to properly handle this emotion is essential in recovery.
Recovery requires you to change various aspects of your overall lifestyle. The way you handle stress is one of those aspects. If you find that you are highly prone to stress, you may be at a higher risk of relapsing. Conversely, your risk of relapse may be lower if you tend to manage your stress levels well. It also may be lower if you are not regularly prone to high stress.
Being aware of healthy ways to cope with stress and having practices that you feel comfortable implementing can help you lower your risk of relapse. Additionally, making changes to your lifestyle to lower your stress may be helpful and, in some cases, necessary.
Use Your Imagination
Think of a scenario that would tempt you to engage in substance use again. Assess whether or not you have the skills to refrain from substance use at that moment or if you would lose sight of your recovery goals. For most individuals, there is some situation where it may feel impossible to refrain from use. Use a moment like this to think about your abilities moving forward.
Slowly take away one factor from this situation that would lead you to relapse. If one thing were different, would you still have this desire? You may find that it takes a large number of changes before you feel that you would no longer fall into relapse.
This hypothetical scenario can help you understand what you are willing to deal with mentally. If you find that you are consistently making excuses for why you would engage in substance use, you are likely at a high risk of relapsing.
If your immediate answer is that you will not use substances, no matter what the situation is, that is a great start. It is important to be realistic with these answers, though. It might be easier to say that you would not use substances. However, if the situation were to occur, that logic may dissipate. Think about different coping skills you could apply to similar situations to avoid behaviors that lead to relapse.
Understand Your Relapse Risk Factors
Each individual in recovery is prone to different risk factors. To properly assess your risk level, you need to address your current risk factors.
Consider the current attributes of your lifestyle, including:
- Your friend circle
- Your family relationships
- Your career path
- Your physical activity
- Your sleeping patterns
- Your daily habits
Additionally, consider any other aspect that comes to mind. Determine how you feel about each of these areas.
As you look at the different aspects of your life, you may find that some areas are lacking or not positively contributing to your recovery. For example, your social circle may not be promoting your sobriety. Your career path may be causing you extra stress. You may be neglecting to engage in enough physical activity. Anything that throws you off balance may be considered a risk factor.
Coping With Relapse Risk Factors
Understanding the situations and habits that increase your desire to use substances is important. If you can recognize these factors, you know what changes you can make to reduce your risk. Additionally, you will know which risk factors you may not be able to change, but you may be able to avoid them during moments of high stress.
If you push your risk factors to the side and assume you will manage yourself, you may be setting yourself up for relapse. Always be prepared with the worst when engaging with a potential risk factor or trigger point.
By taking the time to assess your level of risk, you are reinforcing your sense of accountability. It is important to be accountable for your actions and choices in recovery. By being aware of your potential setbacks, you are holding yourself accountable for the potential of relapse. This can help you prevent it altogether. It may seem tedious to assess your level of risk. However, an honest risk assessment can help you recognize potential setbacks that you otherwise would not see coming.
Assessing your level of risk is a great way to understand the potential of encountering a relapse during this stage of recovery. There are many techniques you can use to assess your relapse risk level and understand what you still need to work on to avoid encountering a relapse. It is important to assess your risk regularly, as this can change from day to day. Your risk levels of encountering relapse will likely change more drastically throughout your recovery. They will likely slowly begin to lower as you implement more skills to maintain your sobriety. To learn more about assessing your risk for relapse, reach out to Dream Recovery at (657) 216-7218.