Creating a Simple Relapse Prevention Plan

Written by Chloe Nicosia

A Simple Relapse Prevention Plan That You Can Follow

Simplicity in a relapse prevention plan can create an ideal platform for a recovering addict to piece their life back together. However, making a plan that is too basic can bring about boredom – a common relapse trigger. The first year of a relapse prevention plan is also the most important since studies suggest that the relapse rates are roughly 40 to 60 percent. So, how do you create a simple relapse prevention plan that incorporates everything you need to stay clean and sober?

In this article, we will explore how relapse happens and what you need to incorporate in your relapse prevention techniques to stay clean.

How Relapse Happens

When an individual first starts abusing drugs or alcohol, their addiction to the substance doesn’t form overnight. Addiction itself is a process and relapse can be considered a process, too. One of the ways on how to prevent relapse is about being able to recognize stages of relapse. They are as follows:

  • Emotional – This stage of the relapse process is when negative emotions start to build up. It is usually the result of not following or using improper relapse prevention techniques such as stress reduction exercises. This is the best time to stop relapse. If the emotions are left to build up, the next stage of relapse begins.
  • Mental – The mental stage of relapse is when stress and other negative emotions start to cause the person to think about substance abuse again. It is common for recovering people to romanticize their past substance abuse at this point.
  • Physical – The last stage in the relapse process is the physical act of getting and using the drug or alcohol again. It can be the drive to the bottle store or drug dealer. This is the last stage where something can be done to stop a relapse.

A Simple Relapse Prevention Plan

How to prevent relapse starts with creating a plan that you’re comfortable with. The following are the elements you want in your simple relapse prevention plan.

1. Know what triggers you

The first thing you must establish is what your current triggers are. Look at the top three triggers you have, such as smells, certain times of the year or day, people and feelings. Repeat this process every 3 to 6 months as triggers can change over time.

2. Learn from the past

If you’ve relapsed before, then how did it happen? Was it en emotional trigger? By learning from past mistakes and putting a new course of action into place when those things occur again it can make all the difference.

3. Know how will you respond

A major part of a simple relapse prevention plan is preparation. What will you do when faced with trigger situations and overwhelming feelings? Before they occur, work out what you will do in response to each of your top triggers. This can be phoning your sponsor or friend, leaving the situation, avoiding places and people and techniques for ridding yourself of the irrational thinking, such as mindfulness meditation.

4. Isolate problem areas

Take some time to think about all of the situations in the past few weeks of recovery that have brought you close to relapse such as emotional pain. It can be caused by an argument or discouraging feelings brought on by those close to you. Look closely at how you felt and why it made you feel that way. If it is something that is likely to repeat itself, then talk to the person involved about how it made you feel and work through the problem together.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, get help right away. Make a phone call that will connect you to a professional drug treatment center. The call you make may save your life or the life of someone you love. Call us today at 1.800.429.7690.

Sources:

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/193144

https://www.samhsa.gov/recovery