Relapse is not a fun topic to bring up during treatment for drugs and alcohol; however, it is crucial to individuals success. Research has found that relapse in the early days after treatment accounts for the largest percentage of overdose deaths yearly. In order to keep the risk of relapse and overdose low individuals leaving treatment are encouraged to learn and implement relapse prevention strategies.
On behalf of International Overdose Awareness Day, August 31st 2017 – Nick Kratzer Footprints to Recovery’s Senior Outreach Specialist discusses his own battle with addiction and the strategies that he uses to continue to lead a life of recovery below.
I was addicted to drugs for the better part of 10 years and have been to hell and back. I’ve ruined relationships, dragged my family through the mud, lost jobs, attempted suicide, been spiritually bankrupt, and even broke my own bones to get that next fix. I am a recovering addict and have been clean since February 6, 2015!
Self-acceptance is the key to me staying clean and I’ve been successful thus far in early recovery because I’ve built a life that I’m not willing to give up, simple as that. However, there are so many factors and elements to my day-to-day life that contribute to my on going success in recovery.
- Healthy Routes: Making my bed (sounds silly but helps set the tone of the day with accomplishing something first thing in the morning), exercise, prayer/meditation, and eating healthy.
- Talking to a Sponsor/Positive Support System: This is as simple as a few minute phone call to keep my sponsor/support network updated with my life on a daily basis.
- Staying Connected with Fellow Addicts: Isolation is terrible for addicts so I make it a point to talk to or see someone in recovery daily.
- Positivity and Challenging One’s Own Thoughts: Being positive and changing the way I think about things so that the things I think about could begin to change. Realizing I’m not a victim! Trying to see the good in every situation and knowing that there is a solution to every problem.
- Opening Up to Others: Allowing people in my life to know how I’m really feeling(so I can get the help I need)
- Continuously Learning About Oneself: Step work is the key to continued growth because it challenges me to really think about who I am and how I operate.
- Communication: This is a two-way street and it’s as simple as calling or texting someone in recovery on a regular basis.
The longer I stay clean the more I realize that drugs were not the problem – I was the problem and I still can be if I don’t apply the tools that I’ve learned and implemented them in my life. In order for me to continue to grow, I must first stay clean and accept life on life’s terms. It’s not always rainbows and sparkles but what I’ve realized is nothing is permanent. Feelings change, bad things happen, expectations don’t get met and I have no control over those things. However, I do have control over the way I respond to these things (people, situations, etc..).
Author: Nick Kratzer – Footprints to Recovery, Senior Outreach Specialist