Quitting the habit that you are addicted to is just the first step of the recovery process. It’s not easy but that battle has just begun and there are several other steps that will need to be taken for a lasting and full recovery. In essence, the goal of the recovery process is creating a new life where one’s goals, purpose, and motivations are reprogrammed. If that doesn’t happen, it is likely that one’s addiction will eventually relapse.
This does not mean changing the whole life altogether. Rather identifying certain triggers, which could be activities, places, settings or people, is the key here. Falling prey to them will continue to get the addict into trouble. The more one tries to hold onto them, the lesser is the chance of success in making a fresh start. One has to start by avoiding high-risk situations. The acronym, “HALT” has to be remembered, which stands for “Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired”. If one is feeling some or all of those, especially towards the end of the day, then the chance of having a craving is significantly higher. It is important to minimize interaction with people one has conflicts with, or who could directly or indirectly make one want to use. There are certain events, places, things or situations that remind one of their past user behavior. It is important to minimize such triggers as much as possible. But it is also impractical to avoid situations all the time. However, one can try to be aware of them and resist if those triggers cause urges.
Other things that help one cope with the challenges of recovery include having an overall healthy lifestyle, such as eating healthy, exercising, socializing with positive people, visiting refreshing sites (of natural beauty). It is important to learn how to relax (whether it is through yoga, meditation or any other activity). This helps one to control negative emotions, such as anger and resentment. It is also very important to develop good sleep habits, which improves overall energy levels. It is best to avoid alcohol and smoking, as they can be the gateway to one’s actual addictions, even if they aren’t so themselves.
It is the overall lifestyle change, filled with doing these and other similar activities consistently that ensures a lasting recovery. So, it is important to be meticulous about it. It is advisable to make a list of one’s high-risk situations, so that one may avoid them or be prepared if they have to encounter them. One should also try to identify all stressors and factors that create tension in life. While some are unavoidable, there should be an effort to avoid them as much as possible. The focus has to be one be positive and happy. All activities that help one relax, such as meditation and mindfulness, play a significant role in destressing and keeps addictions at bay.
While such changes should be the norm of a healthy life, one must aspire to instill these proactively for at least 5 years. This is because studies have that being abstinent for 5 years or more significantly reduces the risk of recurrence.