Even though you may receive addiction counseling and/or work a program of substance abuse recovery, chances are you will encounter unexpected cravings when it comes to the drug of your choice. Addictions have a tendency to cause occasional cravings- especially when you face some common triggers. The best way to contend with such is to create an Addiction Relapse Prevention Plan that will help you to know what you can do when those cravings occur.
You can create your own Relapse Prevention Plan or you can ask someone for some assistance. Oftentimes a counselor, sponsor or someone familiar with addictions will help you to create one that works for you. Here are some things to consider as you create yours:
- Identify your addiction triggers.
A trigger is a person, place, or thing that causes you to want to use your drug of choice. For example, if you see a commercial on television for alcohol, it could cause you to crave a drink. Or if you drive by the dope man’s house, you could be tempted to turn into the driveway. Identifying your triggers and doing whatever you can to avoid them is helpful in staying clean. This is especially important in the beginning stages of recovery, as cravings can become pretty intense and relapses are more common among newcomers to recovery. You might think you have a lot of willpower, but sometimes willpower is not enough when it comes to addiction, so a plan is necessary.
- Make a list of those you can call.
When you encounter a trigger or an intense craving, have a list handy of those you can call for support and encouragement. This will come in handy as you unexpectedly run into an urge or a trigger. Much of the time that one phone call will be enough to help you turn away from the temptation and continue on the road to recovery clean.
- Write yourself a letter.
Sit down and write a letter stating all of the reasons that you do not want to use your drug of choice again. State the state you were in when you finally came to terms with your addiction. State the people who you hurt and the relationships that you lost. Write down why you want to stay clean and live a life free from such addictions. When you feel that urge to pick up your drug of choice, get that letter out and read it. Remind yourself what it was like to be in active addiction and how much you really want to stay clean. Sometimes all it takes is a reminder of where you’ve been when it comes to the darkness of addition to realize that you don’t want to go down that road again.
- How can I distract myself when cravings come?
Maybe you like to golf or go to the gym and work out. Or perhaps you like to hit the coffee shop or mall. Make a list of the things that you enjoy doing and when those cravings come make a decision to go do such. Distract yourself with an enjoyable activity or spend time with your loved ones. Before you know it those cravings will leave.
Go ahead and create your addiction relapse prevention plan today and stay on the happy road to recovery.