Recovery is never complete, and many people with drug or alcohol addictions must fight to stay sober every single day of their life.  Rehab treatment centers do incredible work these days, and are constantly researching and developing new ways to best help individuals with addictions and dual diagnosis.  Despite this, relapse rates still range from 50 to 90 percent depending on the substance abused and the length of recovery.  Individuals wishing to avoid a return to such unhealthy and destructive behavior are advised to employ these tips to help avoid relapse.

Attend Support Groups

Studies have shown that 90 percent of individuals who attend weekly support groups for a year, avoided relapse during that year.  This makes support groups easily the most commonly effective way to avoid falling into old patterns.  Support groups serve a variety of functions, in that they give individuals a sense of community and a healthy venue to vent what they are experiencing.  Oftentimes those with histories of abuse feel alone and like no one could ever understand what they are going through, but support groups provide them with a constant source of motivation as they hear the stories of others who have hit rock bottom but are now thriving.

Reward Good Behavior

Many sober people still love the feeling certain substances give them, but stay sober because they know the risks involved with substance abuse.  Such a situation makes it difficult for individuals to see many benefits to sobriety, especially in the short term.  For this it is recommended that individuals choose a way to reward themselves for each week of sober behavior.  A common reward is for individuals to take themselves to dinner at their favorite restaurant.  Such a strategy becomes even more effective when a friend or loved one also rewards such behavior by covering the bill.

Avoid Temptation

Often for rehabilitation to be successful, individuals must cut ties with most aspects of their old lifestyle.  People, places, and activities could all be triggers for relapse, and it is important for individuals to avoid these whenever possible.  Activities that take individuals as far away from these problem areas as possible are recommended, and also give people a chance to meet new friends and become part of new groups.

Diffuse Stress

Stress is one of the biggest triggers of relapse, especially if the addictive substance was once used as a way of handling stress.  Healthy and rigorous physical activities are a great way to blow off steam and eliminate stress.  Any aerobic cardiovascular workout will do the trick, be it running or kickboxing or even yoga.  Yoga serves added benefits in that it encourages students to become in touch with their own bodies and tensions.  Sometimes this increased awareness is enough to let individuals realize just how much more their body can do substance free.  The breathing techniques used in yoga are also fantastic for diffusing stress.  Proper diet, especially when combined with frequent exercise, can help balance mood swings, which is particularly helpful in those with dual diagnosis.

In the end avoiding relapse is about being smart and staying away from the gateway behavior of one’s past.  No one should have to go through such a thing on your own, and one should not be afraid or embarrassed to open up to family or a support group.  Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but a mark of intelligence.