Coping with High-Risk Situations as a Recovering Addict

Once you leave Hills & Ranges or another centre that specialises in treatment for drugs and alcohol, you may find yourself in situations that threaten your sobriety. These are called high-risk situations, and they can pop up at the most inconvenient and unexpected times. You must develop healthy coping mechanisms at the start of your drugs and alcohol counselling journey, so you feel confident approaching high-risk situations in real life.

Hills & Ranges has put together this list of the most common high-risk situations for people in recovery from substance abuse. Here you will find some of our best tips for handling these situations.

Interpersonal Conflict

An interpersonal conflict can leave you feeling anxious or depressed, and, as you know, depression and alcohol don’t mix well. Examples of interpersonal conflicts include fighting with a spouse or having a financial disagreement with a family member.

Social Pressures

In the real world, not everyone is sober, and you’re likely to encounter situations in which your friends, co-workers or even family members are testing your limits. While people who know your journey should respect your boundaries, there may be times when you’re with a new group of people socially drinking, and they are pressuring you to join in.

Negative Emotional States

When you’re feeling bored, sad, stressed, or overwhelmed, you may be tempted to use drugs or alcohol to silence the negative emotions. Your former self may have associated depression and alcohol, for instance. Through your drugs and alcohol counselling, however, you should develop other ways to handle these emotions. Perhaps you can meditate, exercise, journal or listen to music instead.

Positive Emotional States

Drinking is just as commonly used for celebrations as it is to drown out negative emotions. When you experience excitement, you may feel confident that you can drink to celebrate just this one time, but that can lead to relapse.

Steps to Overcome Triggers in High-Risk Situations

When you encounter high-risk situations, you can take the following steps developed by mental health expert Terry Gorski to level with the situation, process your emotions and practice coping more healthily.

  1. Stabilisation: Be secure and confident in your recovery
  2. Assessment: Identify triggers and situations that threaten your sobriety
  3. Relapse Education: Understand why relapses happen
  4. Warning Signs and Identification: Make a list of triggering situations so you can easily recognise them in the future
  5. Warning Signs Management: Develop ways to cope with each of the situations you listed
  6. Recovery Planning: Plan activities and find social groups that help you avoid these situations
  7. Inventory Training: Develop routines to avoid high-risk situations
  8. Family Involvement: Talk to family members (or friends) that you trust about your triggers and lean on these people to support your sobriety
  9. Follow Up: Remember that recovery is a long journey, and your high-risk situations and triggers may change as you become more confident in your journey

A Route to Substance Abuse Recovery

After you leave Hills & Ranges, we remain dedicated to your recovery journey. We provide resources and counselling to help you sustain sobriety long-term. To learn more about your treatment for drugs and alcohol in Melbourne, call us on 1800 954 749.

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