The road to recovery is a road without an end. It’s an ever-changing destination, and getting there may get a little easier over time, but there will always be new twists and turns in your journey. The key is to consistently stay engaged in relapse prevention activities.
Even traditional 12-step programs aren’t over just because the 12 steps are complete. It may take a few months or a few years to complete each step in the addiction recovery process, but full recovery is a lifelong adventure that requires daily attention.
Relapse prevention is an important part of the process, but it can also be the most difficult part of the process. Finding relapse prevention activities that work for you is a great way to stay on the road to sober living.
Write a Letter to Your Younger Self
Giving your younger self advice can be a very powerful exercise for those who are not dealing with drugs or alcohol abuse, but it is especially powerful for those in addiction recovery.
Sit down and write a letter to yourself as a child. Start by choosing a time in your life when you felt most vulnerable. Then tell yourself about the struggles you have faced, as well as advice on how to get through it all.
Not only will this exercise encourage you to stay sober, it may also help you discover the reasons why your addictive behaviors began in the first place. Many people also find that writing down advice for their past selves can give them guidance for the future.
Find Ways to Be Grateful
Gratitude is a popular strategy that has the power to change a negative mindset into a positive one. The easiest way to get started using gratitude in your everyday life is to write in a gratitude journal.
Each day, take a few moments to write down at least one thing you’re grateful for. Add it to your morning routine to start your day off on the right foot, or add it to your evening routine to put yourself in the right mindset before bed.
If writing in a journal doesn’t work for you, there are other ways to practice gratitude. One method includes reframing your perspective. For example, instead of saying, “I have to go to work today,” say, “I get to go to work today.” It can help you see the world, and your recovery, in a new light.
Stay Busy to Stay Sober
For some, having too much free time can bring back addictive feelings. Staying busy can be very helpful, and it can include just about anything that takes your mind off your addiction.
A few ideas for keeping yourself busy include:
- Catching up on chores
- Start exercising, even if it’s just going for daily walks
- Cook or bake, especially for other people
- Take a part-time job
- Volunteer with a local organization
Get into the Arts
Art therapy is healing for survivors of sexual abuse, and working with clay is effective with schizophrenic populations, so it should come as no surprise that uncovering your inner artist can be a great relapse prevention activity for those recovering from an addiction.
Putting paint to canvas is one of the most accessible ways to start cultivating your artistic skills, but there are many other options for you to choose from. Learn how to use a potter’s wheel, start making jewelry, or simply pick up a pencil and doodle like you used to in middle school. Group activities can be a great way to make sober friends, so consider signing up for a community art class.
Handcrafts can be especially effective. With just a few inexpensive materials, they give you something to do anytime you experience downtime, and they can be done almost anywhere. They include things like knitting and embroidering.
Although it’s tempting for those in addiction recovery to try and keep their recovery challenges a secret, it’s actually much better if you share your experiences and struggles with others.
There’s a reason why professionals always recommend a formal rehab program. It’s a great source of addiction education, and it provides a structured environment. But most importantly, it provides you with a support network that keeps you accountable to your sobriety. Reach out to a group if you’re struggling, or ask for support from loved ones.
Still don’t feel comfortable reaching out to friends and family with your struggles? At least find time to spend with your loved ones. Just being around other people can be enough to take your mind off your addiction.
It doesn’t matter if you have been clean and sober for months, years, or decades. Staying sober requires dedication and attention to your feelings, desires, and triggers. With these relapse prevention activities, you can increase your chances of avoiding a relapse and staying in recovery.
Start Your Path to Recovery
If you or a loved one are ready to start your path toward a better life, The Woods at Parkside is here to help. Our treatment center, located near Columbus, Ohio, provides the highest quality care for both mental health conditions and addiction.
Call (614) 471-2552 to speak with one of our treatment specialists and learn more about our programs. Or click here to take an assessment.