In order to maintain sobriety, it is important to learn and remember various relapse prevention tools and techniques. There are many of these that you may be familiar with, but even learning one or two new relapse prevention tips could make a difference when put in a tough situation. During the week, you may stick to a certain schedule. This may include going to your job or school, working out at the gym, or visiting your counselor or therapist.
The weekend may be entirely different. You may not have such a regimented schedule during this time, allowing for various situations and problems to occur. It is not only important to recognize this, but to plan ahead and develop certain relapse prevention strategies to get you through another weekend sober; the following tips and techniques below will help you to do so.
Weekend Tip 1: Identify Whom Not to Hang Out With
As simple as it may seem, many addicts in recovery do not follow through with this tip. As determined as you may feel, hanging out with old friends who drink or use will only create urges and cravings that can inevitably lead to a relapse. If you are recovering from a drug or alcohol addiction, do not surround yourself with other people who drink or use- period! This relapse prevention tip is often quite difficult for recovering addicts, but it is necessary for sobriety. Look for new friends who do not drink or use drugs. Recovery meetings, the gym, or even hobby classes are great places to meet new sober friends.
Weekend Tip 2: Identify Places to Not Go To
Although you many know better to not go to a bar, your mind can be very powerful and try to convince you that everything will be all right. You must identify places that may trigger you to relapse. These places may be where you drank or used. Some of these locations may be difficult to avoid; for example, if you often used at your home, you will not be able to avoid it without moving. In these types of circumstances, it may help to find a mentor or sponsor to get you through this time until you are able to handle it by yourself. If your home was the place that you most often drank or used, consider re-arranging the furniture, painting the walls, or redecorating. This will not only give you something to do, but will create a new environment for you to remain sober in.
Weekend Tip 3: Schedule Counselling/Therapy Sessions Early in the Week
As a recovering addict, you may be going to weekly counseling or therapy sessions. Oftentimes, these sessions may have you confront various emotions that can be difficult to deal with. As a session may be only one hour, you may leave with these emotions still fresh in your mind. Believe it or not, these sessions are healthy and constructive. They will help you to open up to your own emotions, let them out, and then get past them. However, scheduling these sessions during the week can help you to get through the emotions and possible feelings of isolation; both of which, could lead to a relapse, especially during the weekend which may allow for additional triggers. It would be wise to arrange a meeting with your sponsor or close friend following the session; this will allow you to talk things over and explain how you are feeling.
Weekend Tip 4: Assess your Stress
One of the biggest techniques you must learn when trying to prevent a relapse is how to avoid stress. Long working hours, financial strain, relationships, and even family members or friends can all cause stress. By the time the weekend comes around, you may find yourself to be completely overwhelmed with stress. If you find that this is happening to you, assess your stress; discover what may be causing you to stress out and then develop a healthy solution. One of the most easiest and successful relapse prevention tips for relieving stress is to try and focus on relaxation techniques. These include doing things such as breathing exercises, meditation, and yoga. These activities can be done anywhere at any time, and when done correctly they will help you to focus on your sobriety and everything else that means something to you.