rest and rejuvenate

Preventing Relapse Through Self Care

Addiction relapse can be a frustrating experience for people who want to remain sober but the temptations are too great. Self care is a great way to attend to personal needs first and ensure recovery is put at the forefront of a person’s list to prevent relapse from happening.

Why Self Care Matters

The biggest step toward recovery and prevention of relapse is the decision to change. Small steps towards recovery start with self care but it is a process that takes time. With the right support and care, it is possible. Learning new habits and building self confidence in one’s ability to do it matter in the scheme of things. A person in recovery must be willing to work towards goals and have a desire to change.

Setting Goals in Recovery

The willingness to change is a huge step for people in recovery. A feeling of insecurity and doubt may cause people to doubt the ability to remain sober. Some people with addiction do not know what needs to change but it helps to set goals and follow those through to the end, including:

  • Full abstinence
  • Reduction of harm from addiction
  • Reduction of drug of choice
  • Stop using one substance if multiple substances are used

Relapse Prevention

Preventing relapse is a process which happens over time, step by step with the right building blocks in place. Different stages exist: emotional, mental and physical. Knowing the stages can help prevent a relapse when warning signs appear.

Emotional Relapse

The emotional relapse stage is characterized by behavioral patterns and emotions which indicate a person might have an alcohol or drug relapse in the future. The signs include anger, anxiety, meeting avoidance, isolation and poor sleeping habits, to name a few.

Mental Relapse

The brain is a battlefield and a war is raging. The thoughts will consume a person to use again so it helps to watch for signs including fantasizing about using, hanging out with old friends who use, lying, planning a relapse, thinking of people and places where using happened.

Physical Relapse

A physical relapse where the substance can be put in motion by triggers. Triggers often cause a person with addiction to return to old habits which may begin with interpersonal conflict, isolation from friends and family, negative emotions, physical discomfort, positive emotions, and strong urges to use.

Falling back into old habits of thinking and behaving is the biggest indicator relapse may be on the horizon. Relapse can happen at any stage of recovery which requires forethought and planning to avoid. Practicing self care habits of reflection, goal setting and connecting with others will help prevent old habits from taking over and ruining progress made in recovery.


Recovery is the most important aspect of your life. Practicing self care helps build good habits for the long journey of recovery. If you’re struggling with sobriety, call The Villa and let us come alongside of you to guide you through the challenges.