What is a Relapse Prevention Plan and Why You Need One

What is a Relapse Prevention Plan and Why You Need One

During early recovery, your relapse prevention plan is going to be your roadmap to a strong foundation in your new addiction-free life. If you are a TDH alumni, your counselor worked with you extensively to create a relapse prevention plan that was custom-tailored to your needs. Just in case you needed a refresher we put this blog together.

Why Do You Want to be Sober or Clean?

This is probably the most important element to your relapse prevention plan; why are you even doing all of this? Being conscious of your why will help you to acknowledge the importance of your recovery and seeing a clear goal will keep you on track to maintaining it. A good exercise is to make a pros and cons list. Pros being how your life will change for the better if you don’t relapse and cons are how your life will change if you do.

What is a Relapse Prevention Plan and Why You Need One

Know What Your Relapse Triggers Are

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to think you are above it all. Recovery is a constant commitment and relapse is a reality that can show up at your door at any time. Try to avoid situations in which you know you will be triggered. Steer clear of friends and places in which drugs will be present. Keep a list of people you can talk to if you are thinking about using.

What is a Relapse Prevention Plan and Why You Need One

Look Out for These Warning Signs

You might be surprised but a relapse doesn’t “just happen.” You can see a potential relapse approaching by looking out for a few key warning signs. They might include avoiding meetings, reconnecting with friends who you know still use, and believing you can still drink without any problems. Some other telling signs of a relapse are:

  • Irrational thoughts about recovery
  • Thinking patterns that bring on painful feelings
  • Behaving in self-defeating ways to avoid pain
  • Looking for people who use alcohol and drugs
  • Thinking less rationally and behaving irresponsibly
  • Being in situations where drugs or alcohol seem like an escape from pain

What is a Relapse Prevention Plan and Why You Need One

What Are Your Wellbeing Needs?

Most people who struggled with drugs or alcohol addiction used substances to cope with any difficulties in their life. Obviously, being in recovery, you know that this is no longer a viable option but what should you do instead? It could be getting up an hour early to get in a few moments alone or going for a run during your break or making it to a 12 Step meeting every day – ask yourself what you need to do in your life in order to stay healthy and drug-free.

Also, depending on the severity of your addiction and your choice substance/s, it’s likely that your body is still recovering from the damage. Make sure to see a doctor if needed and get lots of sleep, exercise, and healthy whole foods.

What is a Relapse Prevention Plan and Why You Need One

 

Put Your Relapse Prevention Plan into Action

This is probably the hardest part of the plan – making it happen. With the support of your loved ones and your new friends in recovery, you can do it.

It is important to do everything you can to steer clear of a potential relapse but try not to think of relapse as a failure. Always refer to your relapse prevention plan and call your sponsor before you use, not after. 

About the Reviewer: Chris Barnes

Chris BarnesChristopher Barnes has worked in health care for over thirty years. He is a graduate of Alabama State University where he earned a double Bachelor of Science Degree in Social Work and Psychology in 1982. Christopher Barnes is currently the Director of Clinical services at The Discovery House where he has been employed for the past five years. Because of his extensive experience in health care & substance abuse he has an excellent rapport with constituents, clients, and other professional organizations in the counseling/social service community.

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