Relapse Prevention Plans

A relapse is the return of substance abuse behaviors while a person is in the recovery stage. Experiencing a relapse is frustrating and disheartening for many, but it is a common part of the recovery process. A relapse should not be viewed as a failure, but people in recovery should take steps to avoid it all the same.

Having a structured drug and alcohol relapse prevention plan can make all the difference. An addict in recovery will face triggers and temptations to use for the rest of their life, but a drug relapse prevention plan can provide confidence and prepare a person for what lies ahead. Many prevention strategies are based on the cognitive behavioral therapy model. During addiction counseling, a person should learn about the stages and warning signs of relapse and create a relapse prevention plan.

Building a Substance Abuse Relapse Prevention Plan

Successful relapse prevention plans should include identifying triggers and intrusive thoughts and strategies for how to deal with them.

  • Be aware of the situations that cause substance abuse cravings. These can include feeling stressed, angry, and lonely, ruminating about the past, returning to places and people associated with addiction, and romanticizing the addictive past.
  • Choose a supportive person to talk to about urges to use.
  • Select a few activities to distract you when you experience cravings.
  • Keep busy for about 30 minutes; most urges pass within that time frame.
  • Focus on recovery one day at a time. Thinking about the concept of sobriety for life can be very overwhelming.
  • Keep up with daily relaxation practices. These can include yoga, music, art, deep breathing, exercise, writing, and meditation.
  • Create a gratitude list.
  • Write a list of consequences of relapse.

A person should also have a plan in place in the event that a relapse does occur. This can include turning to a mentor, visiting a 12-step group, or returning to rehab.

Find Addiction Counseling to Help You Succeed

If you are struggling with relapse or need help strengthening your substance abuse relapse prevention plan, contact BetterAddictionCare. Our addiction care specialists will work with you to create a customized plan for recovery including aftercare support. We can help you locate affordable treatment at a facility near you. We believe that addiction counseling should be individualized for each patient, and we'll help you find the right treatment option for you. Call now or fill out our contact form to start healing with the BetterAddictionCare family.

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