Honor the power of your voice and begin your journey with us today!
Honor the power of your voice and begin your journey with us today!

Relapse Prevention Plan

Relapse prevention is a key component to maintaining a successful recovery. Quality addiction treatment programs with educational resources and instruction included, provide guests with the skills to succeed. Often, early recovery has an abundance of triggers and cravings. However, triggers and cravings can be managed through relapse prevention plans and coping skills learned within an aftercare program.

What is a Relapse Prevention Plan?

A relapse prevention plan is a set of precautionary actions that you will take once you identify a trigger that poses a threat to your sobriety. Relapse prevention plans often involve mapping out an individual’s relapse process timeline, which are the habits, behaviors, and actions that lead up to a relapse. There are always thoughts, behaviors and actions that happen before the actual relapse, which is why it’s important to identify your relapse process so that you have every opportunity to reach out for help when you notice these parts of the process happening.

Creating a Relapse Prevention Plan in Therapy

Therapy and the coping mechanisms all give you considerable control over how successfully and rapidly you recover, it’s important to recognize and remember what you can control and what you can’t.

Relapse prevention requires insight— you need to know how you operate. To this end, it puts your actions into perspective and teaches you to ask what puts you in a good headspace versus a negative one. Additionally, you learn to identify triggers and promote healthy coping skills to combat relapse.

Techniques for a relapse prevention plan include:

  • Take your time in recovery
  • Practice patience (with yourself and others)
  • Identify your triggers and avoid them
  • Identify healthy coping skills and use them
  • Practice positive affirmations (Think positively)
  • Practice positive self-talk (Be kind to yourself)
  • Make realistic goals and have realistic expectations for yourself
  • View failures as motivation for the future
  • Celebrate your accomplishments (regardless of size)
  • Accept your past as a part of you
  • Look toward the future

Practicing the techniques within your relapse prevention plan helps you embody a sustainable recovery. In fact, once you have integrated your relapse prevention plan within your routine, it is that much easier to combat triggers and cravings if and when they arise.

Why is Relapse Prevention Important?

Relapse prevention plans help people who are determined to recover from addiction identify negative behaviors and unlearn them. During rehabilitation, you learn the underlying influences that lead to your addiction. As a result, you understand your addiction’s triggers and can prevent yourself from returning to past habits that may lead to a relapse.

Relapse-risk behaviors:

  • Denial/Dishonesty
  • Defensive/ Resentment
  • Superiority complex/Victim complex
  • Co-dependence/Passivity
  • Overly independent/Untrusting
  • Distanced/Isolation
  • Ingenuine/Hypocritical/Defensive
  • Perfectionist/Self-critical
  • Shame/Guilt
  • Catastrophizing/Avoidance
  • Unmotivated/Low Self Esteem

Primarily, relapse-risk behaviors stem from a lack of control. Commonly, people struggle with the early stages of recovery because they fight an internal battle attempting to regain control.

This issue of control is a central issue in recovery, and is perfectly summed up in the prayer with which many self-help groups end their meetings: “grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” 

Accept that your recovery is within your control. Similarly, recognize that the choice to enter rehab is your choice and your continued sobriety is your decision. After, you recognize that despite the doubt and difficulties you face in recovery, you are in control of your future.

Addiction treatment facilities recognize the necessity of relapse prevention, which is why they encourage their guests to build preventative plans during aftercare.

Relapse Prevention in Aftercare

Aftercare, in which relapse prevention is heavily introduced, occurs at the endpoint for every level of care. For instance, when visiting a rehab solely for medical detox, you receive aftercare information following your detox. Similarly, if you stay in a rehab program for detox, inpatient, and outpatient, you go over your aftercare plan at the tail end of each level of the process to ingrain the details into your future routine to maintain sobriety.

What Happens in an Aftercare Program?

Within a rehab aftercare program, you meet with a case manager. Your case manager is an addiction specialist who is knowledgeable of outside relapse prevention resources that help you maintain your recovery. Alongside a case manager, you determine the best course of action to instill sobriety-boosting habits and routines. Then, aftercare case managers will provide a network of referrals to medical professionals within your community to set you up for success once you have left the rehab facility.

An aftercare program is necessary for addiction recovery programs because they ensure each guest receives a continuum of care following their stay in rehab. Continuum of care after rehab entails a doctor to continue medication management, addiction sensitive therapists for mental health maintenance, and counselors within substance abuse support groups for sober support.

Aftercare relapse prevention plans include:

  • Identifying any prior relapse triggers and warning signs
  • Implementing coping skills to counteract relapse behaviors
  • Integrating sober support for community
  • Instilling positive habits and routines
  • Continuation of physical and mental health care

Aftercare relapse prevention teaches you to recognize addiction relapse indicators within yourself and the coping skills to prevent risky behaviors that lead to relapse. With a sober support system in the works during your medical detox, the addiction treatment program promotes your sobriety journey from beginning to end.

Addiction Recovery in Aftercare

Relapse prevention begins upon admission to detox and it never ends, even after aftercare. Moreover, aftercare is when you finally begin to achieve full recovery. As a result, you discover the gifts of recovery.

Indeed, recovering people grow stronger, become physically healthier, and mentally more competent. In fact, a recovering person loses their fear of alcohol and drug-related diseases. Additionally, you gain concentration, clarity, purpose, love, physical health, mental health, and spiritual health.

Early recovery can be difficult. However, with determination, support from family and friends, addiction treatment, and a relapse prevention plan, you will recover. If you need help entering treatment or have any questions we can answer, give us a call at 877-RECOVERY.

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