While you aren’t thinking about using drugs or alcohol at this point, these symptoms make you more vulnerable to using again. If you’re familiar with post-acute withdrawal symptoms, this stage is easier to recognize. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, it’s important to get help as soon as possible.

relapse prevention plan

One of the challenges of therapy is to help clients practice telling the truth and practice admitting when they have misspoken and quickly correcting it. The tasks of this stage are similar to the tasks that non-addicts face in everyday life. When non-addicts do not develop healthy life skills, the consequence is that they may be unhappy in life. When recovering individuals do not develop healthy life skills, the consequence is that they also may be unhappy in life, but that can lead to relapse.

The Importance of Support Networks in a Relapse Prevention Plan

This will help you stay connected to others who are going through the same thing as you and can offer support and understanding. If you can’t avoid them, have a plan in place for how to deal with them ahead of time. These practical interventions, and with a supportive community, help reduce addictive behaviors and aid in common trigger mitigation and craving management.

Its symptoms also tend to be similar for most addictions, unlike acute withdrawal, which tends to have specific symptoms for each addiction [1]. Another goal of therapy at this stage is to help clients identify their denial. I find it helpful to encourage clients to compare their current behavior to behavior during past relapses and see if their self-care is worsening or improving.

Additional Strategies For Preventing Relapses

When your thoughts drift to using drugs or alcohol, gently steer them away and focus on healthy subjects. As part of your relapse prevention plan, you’ll create a list of activities that you enjoy. At this point, you’ll want to review those to help you keep busy. You may have ongoing withdrawal symptoms or symptoms that reappear during times of stress.

Can you relapse after 4 years?

According to a survey of members of AA, 75 percent experience a relapse during their first year of recovery. For those who are sober five years, the rate drops to 7 percent.

Why did you use drugs or drink alcohol before you were in drug rehab? Recognizing your usage patterns can help you pinpoint the things that cause you to resort to substance abuse. It is also helpful to make a list of times in the past when you relapsed and reflect on the situations or events led to those instances of substance abuse.


It enables a person to develop key coping skills and strategies to help you through high-stress times in your life. These are the times that, in the past, you may have turned to drugs and alcohol to help you overcome. You’ll learn new ways to manage stress and how to deal with https://ecosoberhouse.com/article/relapse-prevention-plan-how-it-can-help-you-stay-on-track/ people who do not understand your addiction. Often, relapse prevention can also empower you to live a life not defined by the limitations of addiction. When people think of relapse, they think of the physical activity of drug or alcohol abuse after a period of abstinence.

A relapse prevention plan is a great tool that can be used to recognize and manage the warning signs of relapse and sustain a healthy, sober lifestyle. If you’re not sure how to move through the recovery process, follow one of the relapse prevention plan models that are available. Substance abuse and mental health expert Terry Gorski has a nine-step relapse prevention plan that can help you recognize and manage relapse warning signs. Alan Marlatt, PhD, developed an approach that uses mental, behavioral, and lifestyle choices to prevent relapse. After completing a drug treatment program, your sponsor or support specialist can help you create a relapse prevention plan. This will identify your unique needs and describe the coping mechanisms you can implement to deal with drug cravings, difficult situations, and peer pressure.

How to Write a Bulletproof Relapse Prevention Plan

As those in recovery know, a relapse is never out of the realm of possibility–no matter how long you’ve been sober. This website is using a security service to protect itself from online attacks. The action you just performed triggered the security solution.

It’s not easy getting clean after having a substance dependency at any time. It doesn’t really matter if the drug addiction or dependency had been for a few months or even several years; detox will still hit hard, and rehab could be quite agonizing. If you find that you’re having a hard time staying sober, reach out to a therapist or counselor who can help you get back on track. You might begin to change the daily routine that you developed early in your recovery.

Get professional help, and care for yourself during your recovery. The more committed you are to the process, the more likely you’ll be to succeed. Give yourself credit for each small gain you make — one week sober, one month off drugs, etc. For each goal you achieve, give yourself a reward as motivation to keep moving forward.

How do I prevent relapse?

  1. Stay Active in Your Recovery Network.
  2. Be Aware of Your Personal Triggers.
  3. Take Good Care of Yourself Physically.
  4. Practice the Art of Letting Go.
  5. Find a Higher Purpose to Live for.

These lessons teach people how to think better and react better to issues and instances that have typically forced them to use substances. During this stage, you start thinking or daydreaming about using substances again. Anywhere ranging from 50% to 90% of individuals struggle with addiction relapse after the completion of a recovery program.

Make a list of things you are thankful for and some of your reasons for remaining sober. Keep this as part of your relapse prevention plan to remind yourself what you are working for and to keep yourself motivated. Finding hobbies that keep you busy and occupy the mind can be a great relapse prevention tool as well. Take up a creative outlet like dance or painting, attend a yoga class, and find ways to help yourself relax. Decide how to take care of yourself physically and emotionally, and make plans to schedule this practice into your daily life.

A good friend can talk you down and remind you of all the wonderful things in your life worth protecting by staying off drugs and alcohol. Eat a well-balanced diet with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains. Following these healthy habits will help you feel better and more in control of your life. Certain people, places, and situations can drive you back into drinking or using drugs again. If you or a loved one are struggling with mental health or substance abuse, we can help. In mental relapse, there is a war going on inside people’s minds.

Rule 1: Change Your Life

Overall, creating a plan is the best method for avoiding future relapse. But even if a relapse occurs, this does not mean you have failed! When relapse does occur, reach out to a drug rehab center for inpatient or intensive outpatient rehab programs. Casco Bay Recovery is the leading addiction treatment facility in Maine and beyond by offering individualized treatment programs, evidence-based therapies, and holistic approaches to care. Once you know what triggers a relapse, you can develop coping strategies to deal with those situations.

relapse prevention plan

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