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High-Risk Situations: How to Cope When Recovery Gets Tough

Recovery happens. It takes a lot of smaller life changes to change the big picture of your life.

Recovery must be practiced every moment of the day and that is why it can be tough some days. A first step in making those small life changes is recognizing your high-risk situations and doing your best to avoid them. Here are a few ways to identify, recognize, and avoid your high-risk situations when recovery gets tough.

There are a few common triggers that can put you in a high-risk situation. Identify them with the help of the acronym HALT:

Hungry: Throughout the day we get caught up in all that we have to get done and eating right often slips our minds.

Angry: Having a hard day at work or long commute can often leave you feeling angry and annoyed.

Lonely: Whether you feel isolated or have no one that can relate to how you are feeling or going through can leave you feeling very alone.

Tired: Long work hours, unrestful sleep, and a myriad of other life events can make you very tired.

A combination of these, especially at the end of your day, can leave you vulnerable to strong cravings of your past life. Combat these situations through means such as meal prepping the night before to allow you to have a proper lunch and healthy dinner to satisfy your hunger. Seek relaxation methods and techniques to help you cope with anger. Join a support group where you can be surrounded by individuals who understand you. Lastly, try getting a better night sleep by going to bed earlier or avoiding T.V. and other devices late at night.

Not only do your physical tells lead you into high-risk situations but so can people, places, and things. People who you have used with or are related to your use should be avoided along with those who make you want to use to avoid conjuring up old habits. Places where you have used or where you obtained your drugs or alcohol should also be avoided for the same reasoning. And lastly, things that can remind you of your using can trigger a craving. Through recognizing these you can do your best to avoid when possible but more importantly it can prepare you and not allow you to get caught off guard, but allowing you can control your urges.

Making a list of your specific high-risk situations is highly recommended. Use this list to bring with you to meetings. Once discussed your counselor or peers may help you in identifying other triggers you may have not even thought about. Most importantly though, keep your list handy. Read it frequently as a reminder. Use it to help you cope when recovery gets tough. One day it might save your life.

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