What can I do If I’m in relapse or in danger of relapsing?
Wonderful question. My first thought on this is to reach out to somebody for help and create a relapse prevention plan.
Reaching out has a lot of really great effects.
It helps you to feel like you’re supported, it helps you to feel like you are not alone in facing addictive behaviors and recovery, and it helps you to understand that the ability to connect with other people is in itself a rewarding experience.
Connection, can actually help you fuel that reward, that sense of security that sense of peace and happiness, and that reward can actually be very helpful in overcoming the feeling of being close to relapse.
So reaching out to others I think is one huge step that I think that’s very helpful. Talk to somebody you trust.
Even if you don’t necessarily reveal every detail of what you’re experiencing, which can keep us sometimes from reaching out to others. We don’t necessarily have to share every detail about it.
We don’t have to reach out to a spouse or a friend or a parent and tell them exactly what we’re feeling. We can use other language that just says, “Hey we need help!”.
So for example, I could reach out and say
“You know, I’m just struggling right now, for a few minutes, I’m kind of in a bad moment and I just wanted to reach out and talk to somebody. I just need somebody to kind of talk to me right now, and help me through a difficult moment, and kind of reassure me and help me through this”.
There’s no need to be detailed about your struggle.
I think that can be a huge help because so many of those who struggle with recovery and the potential for relapse feel like they have to be totally open and communicate every detail of what they’re experiencing. And they’re ashamed to do that, so they don’t. And that can be something that hinders the recovery process, and relapse can often follow.
Be willing to be real and reach out for help but at the same time know that it doesn’t really matter if you’re sharing the details of what you’re struggling with, just be real and say
“Hey I need some help. Can you just talk to me for right now? I just I need someone to share this moment with me and help me through this”.
And then of course there are other things that you can do besides reaching out to other people. You can also engage in healthy behaviors that you’ve planned on in advance, when you are likely to experience a trigger and if potential relapse is there. You know some people will turn to exercise, or they’ll turn to social event, or something that is a healthy behavior that they simply rely on as something that feels good and appropriate and helpful, that gives them the strength to be able to move forward without actually relapsing.
One of the things that a lot of people have used as one of their coping mechanisms, a strategy that, when the trigger comes, because they will come, they come to everybody, but is to reach out and help somebody.
Not necessarily to reach out for help for yourself but reach out and help somebody else because then we engage our prefrontal cortex and we start thinking about other people, instead of our own wants and desires at that moment.
That’s another reason why connecting with other people in a difficult moment can be helpful. That’s very clear.