Preventing a relapse is a continual process; what may work for one person may not work for another. But, as any individual working their way through recovery can attest, weekends and holidays can be very difficult. You know the importance of maintaining a schedule and the work week helps you accomplish that. But when the weekend rolls around, that schedule and routine may change entirely. During this time, it may be easier for difficult situation to arise. Understanding this potential problem and planning ahead can help you avoid any potential relapse, not just for the weekend, but for any other unstructured time as well.
Be Aware of Your Stress
Avoiding stressful situations is one of the main keys to your success in recovery, however, stress is a part of everyday life. You may struggle with difficulties at work or home, finances or relationships, or even your faith. No matter what the source, it is often easier to contain the stress within the structure of your week. When the weekend comes and your defenses finally lower, you may realize you are overwhelmed by the stress, which may make it easier to relapse. Because of this, you have to be able to recognize when you are under stress and discover techniques that will help you relax. Focus on learning relaxation methods that can be used anytime or any place.
Pay Attention to Counseling Schedules
Recovering addicts often spend quite a bit of time in group or individual therapy or counseling. This is extremely important to maintaining sobriety and building a healthy future; however, it can be tremendously painful. Through these sessions, you may be confronting difficult emotions or memories that are necessary to your recovery but difficult to process. The sessions may also uncover issues that may not be resolved immediately. If a session such as this is scheduled late on a Friday, it can make for an extremely difficult weekend. Make sure you have a plan in place to handle a situation such as this, like a follow-up meeting with your sponsor. Better yet, work to schedule your therapy sessions earlier in the week if possible so you do not have to go into the weekend with the additional stress.
Know Your Triggers
For many recovering addicts, particular sights or smells trigger a desire to use again. For others, meeting with friends or family you were involved with while using may serve as a trigger. It is imperative you know and recognize your potential triggers. You may need to build new relationships or have new places to visit during the weekends. If you know you cannot avoid specific triggers, have a plan in place to survive your time near your trigger without a relapse.
While you moved through your recovery program to get clean, you learned the importance of relying on other people. You also learned you cannot, and should not, do everything alone. Take the time to identify groups and meetings you can attend if necessary. This is especially important if you will be traveling to a new area or vacationing. Knowing the locations of meetings and their schedules ahead of time can give you instant support when you need it.
Rely on Your Faith
The weekend can be an extremely difficult period for recovering addicts, but it can also be a time of solitude and rest with the Father. Start your Saturday in quiet devotion and prayer time with God. Allow Him to strengthen your resolve to stay clean and sober, focusing on His plan for your life and your time during this one specific weekend. When the next weekend rolls around, do it again. God wants to be an active part of your life and there is no better time to lean on Him than when you know you will be facing struggles.
Becoming active in your church or community is one of the healthiest things you can do. The weekends can be wonderful times to volunteer. This allows you to be invested in the world around you, focused on others needs, and keeps you from being isolated. Active individuals are often more healthy which will help keep you on the path of recovery.
Be Familiar with Your Recovery Plan
Any addict who has successfully remained on the path of recovery will tell you how important it is to not only have a recovery plan but to actively understand it. Simply having a plan is important but you have to know the content to know what works. As you grown in your sobriety and your recovery, your plan may need to be modified and adjusted. Additionally, knowing your plan inside and out will help immensely when you are faced with a difficult moment.