When you are in an addiction recovery center, one of the things that you -will learn as you progress is that recovery is a lifelong task. Once you break the physical and mental addiction to a substance, you must work at staying sober.
Your substance abuse counselor will work with you to teach you ways to recognize triggers that may cause a relapse. Part of the drug rehab program is teaching you how to live life after the rehab.
We have found a few things that can lead to a relapse that are not necessarily related to people tempting you or being in a position where drugs or alcohol are offered.
H.A.L.T. – Hunger, Anger, Loneliness, and Tiredness
Hunger is something that you would not think could lead to a relapse in addiction. But there is more to hunger than just eating to stay full. You need to eat healthy to keep your body and mind healthy.
If you start eating poorly, you are not going to feel well. You may experience different medical conditions, aches and pains, and an overall sense of malaise. When you start feeling bad, the natural thing to want to do is make yourself feel better,
Sadly, the mind will start wandering back to how good you felt when you were using drugs or alcohol, and the temptation arises when it comes to addiction. Soon, if you do not feel better physically, you may start to self-medicate.
Hunger may also be an emotional need, not a need for food. If you feel like you do not have enough emotional attachments, you may look for reasons to fill that void. This hunger can be fed by interacting with more people, attending more group sessions, and making new connections.
Anger is a natural emotion. If you find that you are getting angry too often, are angry at someone in particular, or feel angry in general, it is time to address the issue. A continued feeling of anger can lead to a relapse because you will want that feeling to go away. You’ll be thinking about this feeling and won’t be thinking of the the negative symptoms of addiction that you will be dealing with if your relapse.
You may be able to address the issue on your own. Sit and contemplate what is really bothering you, and then try to come up with a solution. You may need to sit and talk to a friend or family member about your anger and see if they can help. Or, if they are the cause, see what can be done to solve the problem.
If the feeling persists, you may want to speak to a therapist and see what you can discover in your sessions about the root of your anger. Everyone gets angry. It is natural. Bit, no one should have to feel angry all the time.
Loneliness is a very strange emotion. A person can feel lonely when they are by themselves or when they are in a group of people. If you are feeling disconnected from other people, you are placing yourself at risk for a relapse.
Loneliness can be overcome by reconnecting with people. Visit family and friends. Join a craft class or a music group. Go to more meetings and introduce yourself to others. You may even want to go out for a walk or walk around the mall so that you are “out there” being around people.
You can overcome the feeling of loneliness, but it will take effort. You cannot give in to the feelings of wanting to withdraw. Speak to your substance abuse counselor and find out ways to combat this feeling and move on to better things.
No one can really appreciate the effect tiredness has on the body and your emotions. It is so easy to get involved in so many things each day that you find little time to rest or sleep. You have entered into recovery, and now you want to enjoy every minute of your life.
But overworking or overindulging can lead to you becoming physically tired. If you do not get enough sleep or rest, it will have an impact on your health. Once you start to feel these impacts, the natural response is to do something that makes you feel better. Although getting rest would be the logical solution, many people look to substances to feel better.
Especially since the onset of Covid-19, relapses are extremely common. If you find that you can address these four basic issues when they arise, you will have an easier time staying in recovery.