According to the Caron Foundation, to minimize your risk of relapse maintain vigilance over the following 6 situations or emotional states:
Anger and Frustration - Angry people tend to drink more as do people who can’t express anger in a healthy assertive way. You probably can’t eliminate anger and frustration from your life, so to reduce your risk of relapse you may want to learn anger management and assertive communication skills.
Stress – Excessive stress impairs your ability to think clearly and feel healthy…and it’s also a major relapse trigger. Cut the stress from your lifestyle, and if you can’t get rid of it, learn stress management techniques to at least minimize its destructive – relapse provoking – power over you.
Celebrations – When everyone’s pouring out the champagne and having a blast it can be awfully tough to stay no. Get prepared to deal with the good times while staying sober today, or you’ll be sorry tomorrow.
Symptomatic Mental Illness – Addiction and mental illness get along like two peas in a pod, and when one comes back, the other is likely to follow…so do all you can stay mentally healthy and happy…and clean and sober.
Exposure to Triggers – Frequent exposure to people, places and things that provoke cravings increases your risk of relapse. Minimize your exposure, as much as is possible.
Overconfidence – With a little sober time under your belt it’s easy to grow overconfident and start overestimating your ability to resist temptation. With overconfidence people often stop doing those things that have been working (going to outpatient sessions, participating in a 12 steps group, avoiding people and places they used to use in/with) and they start to put themselves in high risk situations – and unsurprisingly, this often leads to relapse.
Kim Halsey is a human resource professional and executive coach who helps people overcome life damaging habits, restore important relationships, and live their dreams without drama.