It’s often said that the most difficult step in the addiction treatment and recovery process is accepting that there’s a problem in the first place. Which is to a certain extent true, given the way in which this is the acknowledgement that kick-starts the rest of the process. But at the same time, it’s important not to overlook the criticality of the rest of the process and the various challenges therein.
With the help of local drug rehab clinics or alcohol addiction specialists, getting clean in the first place is a realistic possibility for absolutely anyone. But it’s what takes place after the completion of organized treatment that can and will make all the difference, with regard to the individual in question’s long-term success or otherwise.
The thing to remember is this – successfully fighting addiction is difficult, but attempting to do so for a second or even a third time is even more of a challenge. Relapse is surprisingly common and should certainly not be overlooked or ignored. It’s not the kind of thing that needs to instil a state of constant panic and terror, but rather a prime example of how awareness is better than complacency. Reasons for relapse differ enormously from one person to the next, but there are in fact for common triggers that most will find themselves battling during the process.
So if you’re looking to HALT relapse in its tracks – H.A.L.T. is one acronym you need to be very much aware of:
1 – Hunger
First and foremost, perhaps the simplest yet most powerful of all everyday relapse triggers is hunger. The reason being that when you come off drugs or alcohol of any kind, the body has to go through something of a self-administered repair and maintenance process, in order to purge all toxins and restore a state of strength and balance. This process not only takes just about every shred of energy and vitality the individual in question has, but can also do a number on their appetite. You often find yourself in a situation where your body’s cravings for fast-acting, rich sources of energy in turn into cravings for exactly the kinds of things you really should be avoiding. In addition, it’s normal for positive reasoning and thinking to be clouded, during a time when your body is focusing every scrap of energy on getting itself back in order.
2 – Anger
There are various emotions that simply cannot be avoided during the recovery process – one of which being anger. Anger is directed differently from one person to the next and manifest in different ways. Some find themselves hopelessly angry with themselves, some point the finger of blame at others and feel unbearable resentment and then there are those who simply get angry with the entire situation and spend most of their waking time feeling sorry for themselves. Once again, the problem with anger lies in its ability to have a serious impact on positive decision making and general pro activity. The more angry you are, the more likely you are to make ill-informed decisions – he really is as simple as that. Avoiding anger comprehensively really isn’t an option, hence the importance of learning to accept it and deal with it in a constructive manner.
3 – Loneliness
Ask any expert on the subject and they will tell you the same – loneliness must be avoided at all costs during the addiction recovery process. Which can be problematic, given the way in which many people instinctively feel the urge to crawl into their shell and deal with their problems behind closed doors. The trouble is that when you’re going through something so significant and challenging, you often get the feeling that nobody else really has any idea how you feel or what you’re going through. Nevertheless, the lonelier you allow yourself to become, the more likely you are to relapse. This is the kind of process nobody should ever go through alone.
4 – Tiredness
Last but not least, another inevitability of the recovery process which must be both acknowledged and managed proactively is tiredness. Addiction recovery is a long and challenging process which brings with it all manner of physical and mental side-effects and symptoms. It’s common for recovering addicts to spend most of their waking time feeling lethargic, apathetic and fatigued. For obvious reasons, these are also the kinds of feelings that represent some of the most common relapse triggers in their own right.