Can Simple Self-Care Prevent an Opiate Relapse? The Answer May Surprise You
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If you’re recovering from opiate addiction, know you’re not alone. Opiate addiction has become an
epidemic in this country, with millions suffering every year. By being in recovery, you are already taking a positive stride toward recovery, but you may be afraid of having a relapse. While relapse is common, and nothing to be ashamed of, there are some self-care solutions that may help you avoid it:
Take Care of Your Health
The point of self-care is to take care of yourself. You need to stay healthy and contribute to your recovery to combat your addiction and avoid relapse. Diet and exercise should be at the core of your health plan, but you need to find ways to relieve stress as well. Try to spend some time outdoors to de-stress and feel better. Even having a hobby can be important to maintaining your health and wellness while being treated for addiction.
Find Routines for Relaxation
Relaxation is key to preventing a relapse with opiates. You may have used opiates to feel relaxed and calm before, but now you need to find healthier ways to unwind. Try committing to a slow-paced yoga class a few times a week. Practicing yoga with others is a great way to feel connected and grounded in your poses, but if it’s more convenient, you can practice some yoga at home as well. Not into yoga? Try these techniques to get the relaxation you need to fight off a relapse.
Connect with Positive Friends
Self-care doesn’t have to mean spending time by yourself (although being alone has its benefits). Reaching out to loved ones who are informed and supportive of your recovery can help you stay on the right track. If you have a close friend or loved one nearby, ask them to check in with you from time to time. Consider having an open-door policy and encouraging friends to stop in without notice. This technique may help you stay in control of yourself and prevent you from hiding any evidence if a relapse does occur.
Get Rid of Triggers
Triggers are like ticking time bombs when it comes to an opiate addiction. A trigger can be an emotion, a location or even a smell that entices you to use again. Spend some time figuring out what triggers you. A journal may be helpful in figuring out this process. Keep a small notebook on hand or use your phone to take notes on what seems to trigger you. Once you’ve identified your triggers, do your best to rid your life of them, or at least avoid them while you recover from addiction.
Like stress, boredom can be a big cause for opiate addiction relapse. When you’ve spent so much time looking for pills or focusing on your addiction, having free time can actually be quite stressful. Find constructive ways to spend those extra minutes. Go for a hike or explore some parks in your town. Want to beat boredom and make a difference? Consider volunteering for your favourite cause. Maybe spend some time in a community garden, or take meals to seniors in need.
Get to the Root of Your Addiction
Mental health awareness should be part of everyone’s self-care practice. If you’ve experienced an addiction to opiates, mental health is even more important. People often turn to opiates or other drugs to relieve the symptoms of an unresolved mental health issue. Perhaps you used opiates to calm your anxiety or take your mind off of depression? If you want to avoid a relapse, it’s vital to get to this root of your addiction. Otherwise, you may relapse or find another negative way to cope with your feelings.
Avoiding a relapse is the end goal of recovery from opiate addiction. Self-care can certainly help you to find your way out of the darkness and get healthy again, so be sure to follow these self-care steps to make your recovery a success.
*Based in Delaware, Adam Cook is the founder of Addiction Hub, which locates and catalogs addiction resources. He is very much interested in helping people find the necessary resources to save their lives from addiction. His mission is to provide people struggling with substance abuse with resources to help them recover.