When it comes to sustaining long-term recovery after addiction treatment, it’s important to avoid those triggers that put you at greater risk of returning to drugs or alcohol. Much of the treatment process is about learning how to identify and avoid these people, places and things that can set off an urge to use. While, it’s obvious to avoid the bar that used to be your favorite haunt or stay away from those people who first turned you on to drugs, it’s not always easy to turn off thought processes that can trigger a relapse.
The Power Of Thoughts
In 12 step meetings, there’s a common saying that sums up the power of thinking in terms of addiction. “Your head is a dangerous neighborhood; try not to go there alone.”
You may have already caught yourself heading down a dangerous path with your thoughts. Often, they can start with romanticizing using drugs or alcohol. You may think about the “good times” you had without clearly considering the reality of your addiction and the impact it has had on your life. This is referred to as euphoric recall, and it is dangerous thinking, indeed! Simply thinking of drinking or using drugs can start this process and enable thoughts to turn to cravings.
Fortunately, we all have the power to take control of our thoughts to avoid “thinking triggers” to turn into a relapse.
Ways To Manage Your Thoughts To Prevent Relapse
The following simple, yet powerful tips can help you manage your thoughts and can serve as an important component of relapse prevention.
Follow The Thought Through The Logical Conclusion
One of the most powerful tips to avoid relapse is to take a trigger-promoting thought through its conclusion. In other words, consider the honest, real outcome of returning to using or drinking. Sure, it may seem like having a glass of wine is not a big deal and can help you unwind. However, one glass of wine could turn into two and easily into an entire bottle, a hangover the next day and disappointment in yourself and from loved ones who have been supportive of your recovery. It’s not wise to only consider the benefit of that glass of wine. In fact, it’s a trap. Work through the realistic path of what happens to allow your brain to realize that drinking or using is not a good idea.
Proactively Tell Your Mind To Stop
This is a technique that cognitive therapists often recommend to patients who are struggling with negative thinking. Yes, it is as simple as telling your mind to stop the thoughts. It may even be necessary to visualize a stop sign or other symbol of halting something. Then, move on to a way to distract yourself. This can be by reading a book, watching a movie, exercising, walking/playing fetch with your dog or talking with a friend.
Share Your Thoughts
Like the saying goes about the bad neighborhood, don’t go there alone. In other words, rely on your support system when you begin having negative thoughts. Talk them out with others in recovery. Go to a meeting. The key is not to ruminate on your thoughts alone which only causes them to grow. Disable your thoughts by sharing them with others!
Get Help Now!
Are you struggling with addiction and need treatment? Have you relapsed and want help returning to recovery? Don’t go it alone! Call Summit Estate now to speak with an addiction specialist. We’re here to help you live a life free from the grip of addiction.