Relapse Prevention Plan And Early Warning Signs

This involves you breathing deeply through your nose for four seconds, holding for four seconds, then releasing through your mouth for four seconds. You can repeat as many times as you need until you are calmer and able to think more rationally. Learn why honesty is a critical characteristic in sobriety and recovery.

There is a risk of relapsing at any stage of recovery, making relapse prevention skills highly essential to know. Though relapse prevention plans are unique to each individual, there are specific components that are helpful to include in a final plan.

  • Although you can’t eliminate everything and everyone from your life, you can avoid situations that cause you extreme stress.
  • Aim to learn how to get comfortable with uncomfortable feelings and emotions.
  • Even worse, you feel as though you have not only failed yourself but everyone that believed in you and celebrated your sobriety.
  • The more specific your action plan is, the better, as this means you will be less likely to come within close reach of a relapse.
  • Every day, 44 Americans die from overdoses involving prescription opioids.
  • You’ll wake up the next day feeling disappointed in yourself.

Hasking P, Lyvers M, Carlopio C. The relationship between coping strategies, alcohol expectancies, drinking motives and drinking behaviour. Twelve-step groups include Alcoholics Anonymous , Narcotics Anonymous , Marijuana Anonymous , Cocaine Anonymous , Gamblers Anonymous , and Adult Children of Alcoholics . Every country, every town, and almost every cruise ship has a 12-step meeting. There are other self-help groups, including Women for Sobriety, Secular Organizations for Sobriety, Smart Recovery, and Caduceus groups for health professionals. It has been shown that the way to get the most out of 12-step groups is to attend meetings regularly, have a sponsor, read 12-step materials, and have a goal of abstinence .

Seeing Or Sensing The Object Of Your Addiction

Various activities have proven successful in preventing relapse, but they must be properly implemented into the person’s life. This could be either on their own, with their sponsor’s help, or another person close to them. Here are some of the most popular and successful relapse prevention activities. Any of these can be enough to cause someone to slip in their recovery. However, having proper prevention activities in mind will help them avoid relapse and stay on track. With your therapist, sponsor, and support group, recommit to your sobriety, talk through your struggles, and if needed, seek a treatment program.

Reminding one’s self about what they can lose and how using will negatively impact their future can be helpful in curbing the impulse to use. Some individuals find it helpful to carry a card that lists both positive and negative consequences to serve as a reminder. One way to prepare for this trigger is to evaluate the stress you’re experiencing. Although you can’t eliminate everything and everyone from your life, you can avoid situations that cause you extreme stress. As a result, it may help to list all the people, places, and things that cause you excessive stress.

  • Some researchers divide physical relapse into a “lapse” and a “relapse” .
  • We then slowly withdraw from AA or other recovery support groups.
  • Finally, physical relapse is when an individual starts using again.
  • You never know when you will need that one technique to get you through a craving or through a bad day.
  • It’s possible that not developing these skills is a part of what led them to become an addict in the first place.
  • At Supreme Wellness Recovery, we realize how critical life skills are for relapse prevention and helping a person reach their full potential after rehab.

In fact, learning how to face your emotions without escaping into addiction is invaluable. Encouraging an ongoing connection with our therapeutic environment so that we can stay alert to any warning signs for relapse. Your friends from before rehab may no longer be the best people to hang out with – it is important you find a social support group that actively supports your sobriety. The specific triggers for relapse will vary from person to person, but there are certain factors that tend to be universal among recovering addicts. Relapse prevention strategies that are truly effective have been created with honesty and specific details and are carried out with dedication and a realistic approach. At Destination Hope, these strategies are created specifically for the client and their lifestyle.

Healthy Coping Skills To Prevent Relapse

A setback does not have to end in relapse to be worthy of discussion in therapy. One of the important tasks of therapy is to help individuals redefine fun. Clinical experience has shown that when clients are under stress, they tend to glamorize their past use and think about it longingly. They start to think that recovery is hard work and addiction was fun. They begin to disqualify the positives they have gained through recovery.

A warning sign is when clients ask for professional help and consistently ignore the advice. The most important rule of recovery is that a person does not achieve recovery by just not using. Recovery involves creating a new life in which it is easier to not use. When individuals do not change their lives, then all the factors that contributed to their addiction will eventually catch up with them. 1) Clients often want to put their addiction behind them and forget that they ever had an addiction. They feel they have lost part of their life to addiction and don’t want to spend the rest of their life focused on recovery.

Try not to “babysit” someone in recovery during the party, instead, try to make the situation safe from temptation. It will keep you accountable and provide you with a place to write about your struggles. In today’s day and age, your relapse prevention journal can just as easily be a private blog. Outpatient programs allow you to go about your daily life and commitments but still offer reaffirmation of all the techniques and strategies from full-time inpatient treatment. Treat your body right when you’re in recovery, from sleeping enough to exercising and eating a healthy diet promoting proper nutrition. The better your body feels the better your emotional state and the less likely you are to relapse.

Targeted Goals For Building Relapse Prevention Skills In Addiction Treatment

The use of experiential learning techniques can make learning a more active process, enhance self-awareness, decrease defensiveness, and encourage behavior change. Meditation-based interventions can be well suited for experiential learning of self-awareness and positive coping skills. Recovery is a lifelong process that often involves changes across multiple domains of a persons daily life, including physical, behavioral, inter- and intra-personal, psychological, and social spheres. All of these changes are crucial for a successful maintenance of recovery and reengaging in life without the use of substances.

Relapse Prevention Skills in Recovery

People going through their first year of treatment are more likely to turn back to substance abuse than those who are later in their recovery. No matter where someone is in their recovery process, though, relapse is still possible. Daily self-care can be seen as a healing process from the demands of the day, whatever they may be. In addition to these common signs, patients may have their own unique indicators as well that signal they are drifting away from recovery. It is important to help patients learn to identify their own warning signs of the relapse processthis will help them increase self-awareness and strengthen recovery. Within the relapse process, there are many opportunities for the individual to intervene, reengage with recovery-oriented behaviors, and get back on track with recovery.

Managing the aftermath of a relapse is difficult, but support is available to help you normalize your experience and encourage you to get and stay sober. Addiction can be an ongoing struggle for many people, even after they complete an intensive treatment program; periodic relapses are not uncommon. Relapse-prevention planning is crucial, then, for maintaining long-term sobriety.

Steps To Creating A Relapse Prevention Plan

One consequence of addiction is that you become unable to consider the results of your actions in the heat of the moment. During active addiction, you would probably start drinking without regard for the consequences.

Clinical experience has shown that everyone in early recovery is a denied user. The goal is to help individuals move from denied users to non-users. A missing piece of the puzzle for many clients is understanding the difference between selfishness and self-care. Clinical experience has shown that addicted individuals typically take less than they need, and, as a result, they become exhausted or resentful and turn to their addiction to relax or escape. Part of challenging addictive thinking is to encourage clients to see that they cannot be good to others if they are first not good to themselves.


Ultimately, even if our sobriety isn’t at risk, these tools will flesh out our recoveries and add color, meaning and emotional grounding to our daily lives. If you’d like to learn more about mindfulness-based cognitive therapy or relapse prevention techniques, you can always reach out to a recovery expert for guided instruction.

Others graduate from an outpatient program, even after relapse, and go on to enjoy lifelong sobriety. Cognitive therapy is one of the main tools for changing people’s negative thinking and developing healthy coping skills . The effectiveness of cognitive therapy in relapse prevention has been confirmed in numerous studies . There are a few different prevention models that can provide a different insight into the process.

  • Later, when using turns into a negative experience, they often continue to expect it to be positive.
  • They are sometimes reluctant to even mention thoughts of using because they are so embarrassed by them.
  • But clients and families often begin recovery by hoping that they don’t have to change.
  • It is a time to appreciate your humanity and realize that well-known celebrities have had to undergo additional treatment for relapse.
  • Preparing yourself once again to stand strong against the pressures of your peers or the world around you will better your chances of living a substance-free life.

In other words, a person may relapse to avoid the impacts of withdrawal. They may also relapse due to the positive aspects and characteristics that drugs may have in everyday situations. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, relapse rates for substance use disorders are similar to rates for other chronic illnesses like hypertension and asthma. Relapse doesn’t necessarily suggest that treatment doesn’t work. Instead, it’s a sign that the treatment plan may need to be revisited and revised. More than 60% of individuals in recovery relapse within weeks to months of beginning addiction treatment.

Coping Skills To Help You Avoid Relapse

It is also advisable to have a supportive friend or sponsor on standby to call when the urge to drink arises. Having a friend who has already been through such stressful situations Relapse Prevention Skills in Recovery has proven to be a very successful tactic. Occasionally, the triggers that cause the desire to drink are too great and it is often best to avoid those situations entirely.

This is especially important in self-help groups in which, after a while, individuals sometimes start to go through the motions of participating. In late stage recovery, individuals are subject to special risks of relapse that are not often seen in the early stages. Clinical experience has shown that the following are some of the causes of relapse in the growth stage of recovery. Deep breathing releases neurotransmitters in your brain, many of which trigger feel-good chemicals resulting in relaxation, happiness, and pain reduction. Deep breathing, and the resulting increased oxygen flow, also encourages your body to exhale toxins. Take four deep breaths in through your nose and hold, then release for four seconds. You should feel your diaphragm moving in and out while you breathe.

Emotional Relapse

But in the later phase you’re definitely thinking about using. Relapse typically happens when life presents you with a storm. For example, you’re hungry, which leaves you more susceptible to irritability. This trigger might cause you to consider using again if a drug was a crutch during an interpersonal conflict. We believe in the full-integrated recovery of each individual. We specialize in Medication-Assisted Treatment , psychological & psychiatric care, daily doctor’s visits, and ongoing support from staff.

Create A Relapse Prevention Plan

But you can get fully prepared with a relapse prevention plan of healthy coping strategies by simply calling a treatment facility. Numerous studies have shown that mind-body relaxation reduces the use of drugs and alcohol and is effective in long-term relapse prevention . Relapse-prevention therapy and mind-body relaxation are commonly combined into mindfulness-based relapse prevention . More broadly speaking, I believe that recovering individuals need to learn to feel comfortable with being uncomfortable. They often assume that non-addicts don’t have the same problems or experience the same negative emotions.

Take advantage of this time to make your post-treatment plan. Set yourself up for continued treatment options after leaving the rehab facility. Practice and tune into your coping skills for relapse prevention, and use them in your day-to-day life. Ask your treatment center if cognitive behavioral therapy is a treatment they offer. If relapse prevention is a big concern of yours, you may even be better off finding a drug and alcohol treatment center that specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy. Understanding some triggers and statistics regarding relapse may help you be prepared when faced with this aspect of being in recovery.

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