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A relapse happens when you return to substance abuse after starting recovery. It’s a common problem for people struggling with addiction because addiction is a condition characterised by compulsions.

Recovering from drug addiction, for instance, requires implementing strategies to help you overcome the urge to use.

However, you don’t heal from an addiction. You can’t cure it, and you’re good to go. The recovery process has to be a lifelong journey because there’s always a risk of relapse, however long you’ve stayed clean.

Is it Common to Relapse?

As you begin your recovery journey, you must understand that a relapse is a serious problem. It doesn’t happen to everyone, but it’s familiar enough that over 85% of people undergoing treatment for substance abuse relapse within a year.

It’s discouraging to know that most people fail after trying to stay sober.  

However, you need to know that recovering from substance addiction is a lifelong journey, and a relapse doesn’t mean failing. Instead, you need to re-evaluate your recovery plan and do more to prevent another relapse.

If you’re wondering what you can do to prevent a relapse from drug addiction, here are five effective ways to try:

A Strong Recovery Program

You can beat a drug addiction entirely on your own. A lot of people do. It mostly depends on your strength when resisting the overwhelming urge to use again.

Many people need help to beat their addiction, from rehabilitation centres running recovery programs.  

The thing is, these programs vary. You need to find a program that feels right for you and not just what everyone else is doing. If a program isn’t working out for you, the chances of a relapse are high.

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Join a Support Group

The importance of support groups can’t be overstated, as they are proven to help individuals teetering on the brink of a relapse.  

Understanding that needing support when struggling is human nature allows you to welcome help when it’s offered. Also, the knowledge that you’re not alone and that several other people are dealing with similar issues can significantly impact how you cope with drug addiction.

You will feel overwhelmed countless times during the recovery process, but it helps to interact and share your difficulties with people who understand what you’re going through.

Avoid Association with Past Use

When you’re in recovery, you don’t want to associate yourself with the things that remind you of drug use. It’s easy to feel like you’re in a good place already, but items and businesses have the power to trigger cravings.

The same goes for people who remind you of the days of drug abuse. If your friends are still using and can quickly reel you back into drug use, it may be necessary to create some distance.

Understand Effects and Consequences

Many people abuse drugs without fully understanding what they allow into their bodies. During your healing period, take the time to learn more about the medicines you were using and how they affected you and the people around you.

Through learning, you’ll find that some drugs are useless and not worth the pain and destruction they bring into your life. Other medicines have real-world benefits when used correctly, but there’s more to them.

A deeper understanding of cannabis, for instance, opens you up to a world of differences, from sativa & indica groupings to cannabinoids and their effects.

Learning about a drug gives you an accurate picture of what to expect from it and what the consequences are in the event of a relapse.

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Stay Preoccupied

Cravings begin with feelings and are fueled by thoughts. So you must disrupt that pattern. Now and then, you’ll have desires, but it’s your thoughts that validate those feelings.

When other positive ventures preoccupy your mind, you won’t have the time or energy to entertain the thoughts of using. You don’t want to laze around. Try giving yourself a purpose and work towards it. You’ll be able to avoid falling into old habits.


There’s a lot of trauma and issues that come with drug addiction. Having a relapse is just a part of this long and challenging recovery process. You need to know that overcoming addiction is not about getting everything right. It’s about putting yourself on the right path and moving forward.