Home Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy 8 Tips for Overcoming the Biggest Fear of Recovery – Drug Relapse

8 Tips for Overcoming the Biggest Fear of Recovery – Drug Relapse

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After stepping out of drug addiction treatment, drug relapse is the biggest fear of recovery you’ll experience. 

In relapse, a person returns to addictive behavior by becoming a heavy drug user or alcohol drinker. Most people face a constant challenge staying clean and maintaining sobriety after recovering from drug addiction. 

It is mainly due to substance abuse that affects the structure and functioning of the brain despite gaining sobriety. 

To help minimise the chances of a relapse, it is essential to understand the contributing factors and later work on coping mechanisms to handle them successfully.

Here are some valuable tips that can save you from drug relapse:

Avoid triggering situations

Exposure to triggers is one of the most common causes of drug relapse. These triggers may include social cues such as meeting with a drug user friend or seeing any drug dealer. 

Similarly, environmental cues, such as exposure to substance smell, objects, or even specific places, can act as reminders of drug use and lead to relapse.  

To begin with, avoiding triggers is the best solution whenever possible. For instance, you must abstain from attending gatherings of those who consume alcohol or use substances. 

To avoid triggers, you first need to identify them and manage them in a way you’re resistant to any urges. This is done through a targeted approach that varies from person to person and the severity of the addiction.

To eliminate possibilities of relapse, in-patient treatment plans, like the ones offered by The Palm Beach Institute, are very effective. 

The experts at rehab centers have decades of experience developing various coping mechanisms and treatment plans to avoid triggers. So, if you’re serious about living a drug-free life, get yourself registered in a rehab facility asap.  

Join a support group

Lack of social support is also a contributing factor towards drug relapse. You might face difficulty coping effectively with drugs and alcohol due to a negative or a limited support system. 

It would be best if you considered the idea of joining support groups that mainly focus on drug recovery and treatments. 

For example, you can engage in groups like SMART Recovery or Alcoholics Anonymous. In addition, you can gain insights and communicate with like-minded individuals to stay sober after rehab or medical detoxification by joining support groups. 

Participate in aftercare plan

Many treatment programmes include aftercare plans to prepare you to avoid drug relapse by managing triggers and cravings in daily life. 

Some notable aftercare plans are contingency management, motivational interviewing, and alumni support. These plans are a great source of learning motivational methods, peer support, and resources to abstain from using or abusing drugs. 

The Journal of Alcohol Research and Health reported that contingency management is an effective therapy to motivate sticking to drug recovery goals. 

Be active

Physical activities like jogging, exercise, or a morning walk can prove beneficial to deal with the fear of drug relapse. According to research, exercise plays a vital role in decreasing desire and controlling cravings for drugs and alcohol. 

You can make a habit of working out to maintain sobriety. Remember that you don’t have to engage in strenuous physical activity to avoid drug relapse. Light physical activity like yoga can also help you stay clean after drug recovery treatment. 

Building relationships

Sometimes experiencing a conflicting situation with your loved ones and having problems in your relationships might cause drug relapse.  It can lead to sadness, anger, and often depression, ultimately resulting in substance and alcohol consumption. 

If these negative feelings aren’t regulated, it results in relapse. In fact, above 50% of all relapses are due to conflicts with others. 

Engage in productive activities

The best way to deal with anxiety, stress, mood disorders, and fight boredom is to engage in productive activities with your friends and family. 

There is a high chance that these negative emotions and behaviours can induce drug relapse. You can get involved in healthy and fun-loving activities to make your day more productive without getting bored. 

That is the potential trigger of drug use. Research has proven that filling your daily schedule with enjoyable and healthy activities can make it less desirable and more difficult to drug relapse. 

Indulge in hobbies

After recovering from addiction, you can see that it has already taken much of your time. Having too much spare time after recovery isn’t ideal because it can push you into a relapse. 

If you want to stay clean, find a new hobby or reconnect with older ones. For instance, you can stay productive by cooking a meal, playing games online, joining a book reading club, or any other activity that might interest you. 

It all depends on your personal choice and free time.

Maintain a journal

Journaling helps you track activities that tempt you. It is a multipurpose activity to stay connected with your goals and plan to achieve those dreams. 


Relapse is an unavoidable reality of drug addiction treatment that can be prevented by maintaining a healthy and productive lifestyle. 

Don’t hesitate to seek help from professionals, including therapists or counseling managers, to discuss the factors that motivate you to relapse in the first place. 

It is also effective to join self-help recovery programmes to stay motivated to stay out of drugs and alcohol. 

Dennis Relojo-Howell is the managing director of Psychreg.


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