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3 Stages of Relapse: Mental

How to Prevent Relapse: The Power of Positive Thinking

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Here’s what you may not know about relapse: A relapse event is not confined to the singular moment in time when a recovering addict physically begins using drugs or alcohol again.

Relapse is actually a gradual process that begins on an emotional level . From there it can progress into actively fantasizing, rationalizing or falling back into the same destructive thought processes that led you to cope with drugs or alcohol in the past.

In this post, we’ll explore the mental stage of relapse and offer our ideas for preventing it from progressing to the final stage – physical relapse.

Breaking Out of Destructive Thought Patterns

It’s normal to think about using again. That doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to relapse. At first, these thoughts might be fleeting and somewhat easy to push out of your mind. But, if you remain in the mental relapse stage for too long without taking action, the influence of your addiction over your behavior intensifies.

Before long, you may find yourself bargaining , lying to your loved ones, minimizing the negative consequences of your addiction – or worse, mentally planning out your relapse in advance. But, there’s good news. Even at this stage, physical relapse is still avoidable if you can recognize what’s going on and take action to stop relapse in its tracks.

Tips for Surviving Mental Relapse

While all of the proven healthy coping skills still apply, at this stage of the relapse process, you may need an immediate intervention… a distraction from your destructive thoughts. If the thought of using becomes too great to ignore, try the following:

Talk a walk – Burning off some energy and getting plenty of fresh air can help you recalibrate and give you time to see the big picture.

Change your scenery – A unique environment can help take your mind off of your cravings so you can reflect on the consequence of relapsing after all of your hard work.

Share your feelings – This is why sponsors, support groups and loved ones are such an important component of any recovering addict’s long-term sobriety plan.

You aren’t the only one who has experienced these thoughts, so don’t feel like you have to deal with them alone. As difficult as the mental relapse stage may be, it’s a walk in the park compared to a full-blown physical relapse. The important thing to remember is that while physical relapse is common among recovering addicts, it is not unavoidable.

Learn More About The Raleigh House

Located in Denver, Colorado, The Raleigh House is a residential addiction rehab facility offering a holistic approach to substance abuse recovery . Our team specializes in the latest evidence-based practices and offers a full continuum of care to meet the unique needs of our clients.


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