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January is often a time for new beginnings, resolutions, starting over. As you make your own resolutions, it’s important to keep on with the good things you have going. Maintaining recovery is an ongoing process for the rest of your life and needs to be maintained one day at a time. You don’t go into this alone, but have people and tools to help you live a healthy life.  

There is a common misconception that relapse prevention skills should only be used when someone is having a desire to use. However, relapse prevention skills should be implemented into each recovering person’s daily schedule and routine to prevent or reduce the risk of cravings.

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1. Recognize Triggers

First off, it’s important to recognize your triggers, what makes you feel inclined to want to use substances? Common triggers are: boredom, stress, money problems, relationship issues, certain sights and smells, certain people or places, falling into old habits, and anger. Making a list of internal and external triggers is an efficient way to gain awareness of one’s triggers and reduce the risk of relapse. 

2, Self-Care

Common withdrawal symptoms when recovering from addiction are insomnia an fatigue. They are also potential triggers for relapse. It’s important to give attention to physical exercise and a balanced diet, to help with your quality of sleep. Providing a structured schedule for sleep, exercise, and eating can help you regulate your body, and train you to sleep better. 


If you’re feeling out of sorts, it’s important to remember the acronym HALT, which stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired. If you can tune into what you’re body is needing, it will help you address these needs. Regular HALT inventories can help prevent relapse. 

4. Mindfulness Meditation

Meditation focusing on mindfulness is a way to be more self-aware, noticing where you find your motivations and the origin of your emotions.  With mindfulness meditation, participants are encouraged to learn to “roll with” their cravings, rather than fight them. Acceptance that cravings will come is a learned skill through this practice, while implementing relapse prevention skills. Concepts such as acceptance, letting go of personal control, and the use of prayer and meditation are hallmarks of mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness meditation doesn’t necessarily mean sitting alone in a quiet room, but rather it means drawing your attention to what you are doing, where you are, who you’re with, and the entirety of your surroundings.  

5. Join a Support Group

You are not in this alone, and support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) will remind you of that. These groups can provide support, accountability, education, and meeting others who understand what you are going through. A sponsor and peer support can be important elements of recovery. It further prevents relapse as it decreases feelings of loneliness and the risk of isolation, both of which can be common triggers for relapse. 

Specializing in Addiction Services in Northern Kentucky, Solutions in Living, located in Erlanger, KY, provides the support you need to gain and maintain wellness.

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