*Could be triggering to people who are in recovery, so please if you think it will affect you, don’t continue reading*
Hiya! I thought this may be relevant to some peoples lives currently. It’s common for people to suffer from addictions and it’s even more common for people to have slip ups (relapses) from time to time. It’s important to understand that they are common, and people who are likely fighting the same addiction as you are also probably having slip ups too. I had an idea that I would write some ideas down that I found useful when I relapsed, just remember I am not a psychologist so if you truly need help, I recommend you seek professional help rather than use my advice alone. I’m also not going to try and focus on one type of addiction but I am only aware of how to cope with self harm relapses as I have not suffered from any other type of addiction. However, I will try my best to not just supply tips for that single addiction.
First of all, it is ideal to find out why the relapse happened. It’s more than likely that the relapse was not due to a ‘heat of the moment’ kind of thing and that there was an actual cause behind it. Think to yourself: has a big event happened recently in your life? For example, are you experiencing a break up from a partner? Or are you going through the loss of a loved one? These could be large triggers to someone who is suffering with an addiction. The reason behind the relapse could also be due to stress of work or education. Try to pinpoint what the main cause is behind the relapse, it doesn’t have to be just one – it could be multiple that have all been bottled up over time. Also, please remember that the relapse is not at all to do with your strength; you are not weak because of this and you have definitely not let anyone down.
Linking to the previous point, don’t worry if you can’t stop thinking about the addiction or the relapse itself. It’s fairly common for the relapse to spin around in your mind because the addiction may have played a big role in your life up until you chose recovery. I’m sure the thoughts will get less frequent over time and the urges will likewise.
Another tip is a biggie. You should definitely tell someone!! I understand that seems like the most impossible thing right now I get you but honestly, you’ve got to. It could be the difference between getting sufficient help or worrying about another relapse. Whether it’s friends or family, they are there for you no matter what and they will want to know you’re struggling. The biggest mistake I made when I last relapsed was holding it in and thinking I could cope alone, I really couldn’t. You may be very very different to me but I would still recommend telling someone you trust. It would mean you would have someone to look out for you.
Now, for preventing this happening again, you need to figure out methods that work for you. When I started recovery, I found out this method, if you feel the urge, you wait twenty minutes and if you continue to feel the urge again, you change the distraction technique. For me, what worked was either reading or drawing. I just think the artistic methods work a lot more for me, although I cannot draw what so ever! My advice is just to find something that you enjoy because guaranteed that will work – whether it be playing an instrument or drawing. I also noticed, at the start of my recovery, I tended to relapse when I was angry or anxious. Typically when I was out of control with situations (linking to my anxiety). I used the 7-11 breathing technique to regain control (breathing in for 7 seconds and then breathing out for 11) and this may also help you if you deal with the same reasoning behind relapse.
Again, I’m definitely not a psychologist and I would definitely not recommend my tips over a professionals. If you feel like the relapse is not something you can deal with alone, please seek professional help – if you don’t have access to that, then please take my advice all you can or alternatively, message me for any further advice.